How I say goodbye…Part One

Today #11 had court.  The case worker really wanted this one to stay in CPS care, but the judge decided to move to a kinship placement.  I kind of had a feeling that this would happen. Stinky thing is that I was up at school giving my daughter’s teacher a break for a couple of hours, so I got the call while I was up at school, then when teacher returned I ran home & packed up 11’s stuff. as I was finishing packing the caseworker came to take 11.  I didn’t have time to write my usual long note to whoever is getting this little one, I just scratched down a few things regarding feeding & that we will miss #11.  It just happened so fast I didn’t get to process it all or really be sad. but ya know what, actually that probably was good, sometimes when you know a child is leaving & it’s being drawn out, it makes it harder on the emotions.  So right after 11 drove away, I wanted to just sit on the couch & cry, but my body just wouldn’t let me do that.  I was SOOO teary eyed, but the tears just wouldn’t come.  So I did my house purge/cleanup/reorganize back to life without  11.  put away the pack’n play, bottles washed & put away, extra car seat bagged up to take back to our friends we borrowed it from. extra bouncy seat put away. etc.  somehow cleaning out the house cleanses out my brain & emotions.  So that’s what I physically do when I say goodbye, & how I process it. sometimes this happens over a few days, & sometimes, like today, I do it in about 2 hours. that’ll partially depend on how much notice you have that your placement is moving on. we’ve had a few where it’s been 5 days, then today was about an hour and a half.

so here’s a more step by step of what I do when a child leaves:

  • cry & stomp a little
  • then start packing their things up .  When they first come I make an inventory list, so when they leave I check things off that list, & send the things I’ve bought for them…diapers, diaper bag (I like to make them one), clothes, bicycles, toys, formula, bottles, medicines…etc.
  • write a long letter to whoever is getting them about what they do: their schedule, what they eat, when they sleep, how they sleep, what they like/don’t like, medical history while with us, a personal note on how I will miss them & will be praying for them
  • make a photo CD. we keep a file in Iphoto for each child & pictures of them.  as we put them on the computer we label them with date, & what they were doing.
  • CPS supposedly will give you a lifebook (which is like a scrapbook of sorts for them to take with them). I have yet to see one of these. 😉  If you’re a scrapbooker, it’d be great to keep some small scrapbooks at your house (watch sales/clearance racks) & start filling it in when you get a child, so it’s always ready to go.
  • The case worker will come pick them up. they’ll have you sign some papers, then will pack up their stuff & head out rather quickly.
  • If you’re sad…TAKE TIME TO CRY! it is ok! this is one of the best/most comforting piece of advice I got from a past foster parent. Just hole yourself up in your house, & let yourself cry & be sad for a couple of days.  Then, pick yourself up & move on.
  • If you’re not sad, or even relieved….IT”S OK! there are some children that I connect with really well, & others that I love & care for, but just don’t have have that emotional connection.  & even though I”m a little teary eyed today, I am so looking forward to sleeping all night! even if we get a placement Monday, at least I will have gotten a few days of good sleep.  amazing what a little sleep does for the body & emotions!
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