“If it doesn’t hurt when they leave, then you’re doing it wrong.”
Well, if that’s true, then I guess you could say all of us at Bithiah’s are doing it right. Each time a little one leaves, we hurt, but this time, it HURT. We tried to find positives in the move, put on a smile for her sake, and say anything to convince ourselves that it would be okay. It was obvious we weren’t even believing it ourselves.
She left and took with her pieces of us. Blubbering doesn’t even begin to explain the drop off. It’s a little hard to appear professional and explain her routine and care to the new placement when the tears won’t stop flowing.
Bithiah’s is different than a typical foster home. If a foster family loses a little one, they can take time to grieve, mourn and reflect on the little one that left. Some foster families may even take time off from fostering to heal their hearts. At Bithiah’s, typically a new little one comes shortly (sometimes the same day!) after the loss. As excited as we are to love on and spoil the new little one, it can be hard to shift gears and start all over.
This is how we are feeling. The adults. Healthy, coping adults with a support system. If we are feeling this way, what could a small child be thinking? Confusion, fear and anxiety must flood their thoughts, adding to the previous loss they’ve already experienced. The impact for them is far greater.
The grief and loss is nothing new to children in foster care. First the grief of being removed from their parents, then after getting settled at Bithiah’s, the grief of getting moved comes on again (and sometimes again). How are they able to feel safe and connected when they are just waiting for the grief to show up? Someone once described it as scotch tape. The first couple of times, tape can attach and be sticky when it’s removed and put somewhere else, but after a couple more “moves” the tapes loses all stickiness and felt safety and connection are harder and harder to obtain.
It’s hard to feel like we are making a difference, when it seems like the pain is inevitable at Bithiah’s, but we trust that their time with us will create special memories, connections and joy for them in their season of grief.
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief-
But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared
with the pain of never risking love.”
Hillary Stanton Zunin