Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dealing with loss

If you read any of the foster care or foster-to-adopt blogs you probably have already been sent to give Dream Mommy your condolences. Her foster baby died.

I don't think that anyone who has had a child has not dealt with the fear of their child dying. They are such small, fragile creatures. When Andrew was a baby I would wake in the night and go to check to see if he was still breathing.

People who adopt babies, know that the birth mother may change her mind. That is her right and even if we completely accept it, we know it will hurt.

Those of us who do foster care know that children may be reunited with their birth family, or may be placed somewhere else.

When I talk to adults who were fostering children, grief and loss seems to be the worst part for them. If you ask them what was the most difficult they will tell you something like, "when the kids mistreated my parents." However when you talk to them eventually they tell you about the child they became close to and whom they lost, and that is when they will struggle not to cry.

Many of us agree that that is the worst part: loving a child and then completely losing them. It is painful not knowing where they are, if they are okay.

Of course we rarely consider the possibility that they may die in our care.

For the most part, our training tells us how to deal with the children while they are with us. There is little to prepare us for the ways the placements may end.

And it is difficult. It is painful, no matter how it happens.

Dream Mommy is now dealing with that other part of the reality of being the foster mother. We are asked to take children into our homes and our hearts, and we do. But we are not legal parents. We have little to no rights. When children leave our homes, however they leave, our involvement and our ability to stay in contact is decided by the system. We have little recourse.

Though they are not making it easy for her, Dream Mommy is going to be allowed to be involved in the funeral arrangements for the baby girl she loved.

I wish there was something that I could say that would make it easier.

But there is nothing that can make the death of a child easy.


  1. I first heard about her over on "baggage" and left a note.

    We're not supposed to outlive our kids and it doesn't matter if they're ours by birth, adoption, or fostering.

  2. How terrible for her.

  3. Her situation really shook me up. I must have checked Snowbaby 50 times last night to make sure she was breathing. I know my goal is to get these kids ready to go home, and even as I know that, my heart already aches. I can't imagine her pain.


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