Fade In, Fade Out – The Transition

Okay. You’ve done all the hard stuff. You’ve oodles of time with your foster child; you have driven him or her to a bazillion therapy appointments; you have been yelled at, screamed at, cussed at; and you have talked to the school counselors and teacher almost every day for two months. Finally, just when things calm down and are somewhat steady, it’s time for the child to either move to another foster home, or return to his or her biological parents.

This move is instigated by the court system, the social worker, the therapist, or all of them at once. And, of course, they usually want this to happen in a hurry. I have never been able to understand why the “moving the children around” part can happen so fast, but the placing and getting things lined up takes so long and requires so much red tape. Go figure.

The very best thing that can happen for a child who has to be moved is the following:

Throughout this process, remember that it is normal and healthy for a child to “trash” the family before they leave in order to make it easier to leave. After all, isn’t it easier to leave a household that can’t stand you rather than a household that loves you? Don’t let the trashing even begin. Tell the child right away that you understand how they feel and what they are going through and how hard this new transition is going to be for them. Don’t be surprised if you are a little angry and sad about your impending loss too. Share those feelings with your child. After all, we are all human and when we love and let go, it hurts.