I'm part of these two groups on Facebook for foster parent support, which I'm sure I've mentioned before. I rarely write on the pages, but I like to read about other people's experiences. I know, sounds stalker-ish ha ha, but it's purely educational, I promise!
As much as I wish I had a better answer for everyone, the honest truth is that no, the pain does not go away. It's never any less depressing to see a child leave your home. It does not become easier to say good-bye one last time, knowing that you don't have the faintest idea what will happen to the child in the future. You go from being this child's parent, sister, or brother, to a complete stranger who has no contact with them. It's one of the hardest things in the world to do, and yet being part of a foster family means that you do it over and over again.
I do have some good news though. Coping with this pain will become less excruciating over time, because you will learn better coping methods. The first time we went through the pain of saying good-bye to foster children, we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We almost stopped being a foster family right then and there. We escaped reality and took a vacation, going to the happiest place on earth. But now, nineteen children later, we didn't need to escape to another state after my last little sister left. It was still just as sad to say good-bye, and there were just as many tears shed, but the aftermath of the pain was more bearable than it used to be. We've learned that our job is to do as much for these children as we can while they are with us, and then to hope and pray that they're alright when they leave our home. And it's just as hard to watch them leave, but you know that the situation is out of your hands, and you don't fight it as much anymore. You accept your position as part of the foster family and the pain helps to make you stronger for the next child that you take in.
So no, the pain doesn't go away; it doesn't get easier to let a child go. You'll still miss the children that were in your life even when eighteen years have passed. But the pain is worth it when you know that you have helped a child in their time of need. Being part of a foster family is filled with ups and downs, but I know that the best parts of helping a foster child, and the experiences that you have with them, will always outweigh the pain and sadness that comes from saying that last good-bye.
If you're on Facebook and wouldn't mind showing some support, I would love it if you could like my Facebook author page! When I hit 150 likes, I'll share some information about my first novel, since I've been keeping everything a secret since I started it. I'm still 53 likes away from that goal, so if you're scrolling through Facebook with nothing to do, I'd appreciate you heading over to my page to like and share it!
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