I regretted that I didn't think about this before my girls left. But, I do think God was thinking about it. My friends helped me pack clothes and bedding and such. Then the week after, I packed and delivered all of their remaining toys/clothes. I happened upon on two separate instances their blankees.
See, when they came, I got them both toddler sized soft blankees for daycare. #1 had outgrown hers over the winter and I got her a larger one. She still did carry the first one in conjunction with the second one. #2 "lost" her first blankee at daycare, so I had gotten a replacement. The daycare later found the first one. I mysteriously found her blankee under my pillows after they left.
#1 did not ask for her blankee when I took the toys over. I chose to keep it. It isn't like I can actually smell them on it, although, I think that there is some part that my brain does process. But, having their blankees tucked under my pillows brings me comfort. And they brought me great comfort the first few weeks when I had them cuddled up in my arms at night. Tears are streaming down my face now as I type this.
Of course, I have found the missed clothing item, or socks. Yesterday, I was straightening the side of the fridge, and realized that I had papers that they had colored still there. And of course I have pictures here and at work.
The one that hit me hard was finding a left behind stuffy.
I did not consciously decide to keep something of theirs, but now, I feel that I will double blankee the next kids so that I might keep a blankee of theirs too. I cant bring myself to even wash the blankees.
So, I wonder, do you purposely keep a memento, outside of the standard photos and such, to remember your foster child?
We bought a clay handprint kit and have done those with the girls we currently have (1st placement) and have them on the fireplace. I like the idea of the blankie. After time, you can take a piece from all of them and make a quilt.
Our first placements are going to leave soon and I was looking for ideas of transition and found this thread. I love these ideas and am so glad I found it before they leave.
And to further Maizenliz' idea of the quilt. A favorite shirt from each foster placement turned in to a quilt would be beautiful.
I got a garden stone to do and recently found this do it yourself project fingerprint charm for a necklace I might do with the girls for my as well. [url=http://freelightphotographyblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/diy-fingerprint-necklace.html]Freelight Photography Blog: DIY fingerprint necklace[/url]
This wasn't intentional, but worked out well......Before our first placement left, one of the girls was playing with my phone. She had found the voice recording app and was playing with it, she recorded on there, "I love you mama" and giggled. I have treasured that recording more than anything. I could still hear her voice and see her beautiful smile every time I listened to it. It made me cry almost every time I listened to it after she left. I have treasured that almost more than all of the pictures I have of them.....almost.
I just wanted to say you all have such strong hearts to foster children that went home. I wish I could, but I know I couldn't and that is why I'm searching for siblings that already have TPR.
I kept the little undershirt our first foster son was wearing when he came - it was pretty much indistinguishable from many other undershirts I sent him home with, but it meant a lot to me, so I kept it. Still like knowing it is there - I miss him.
Clothes that I bought for a certain child, but which they outgrew while in my care, I keep. I find myself dressing BB Kiddo in 6m clothes I've just unpacked from storage and having smiley reminders of "This was The CooCoo Pigeon's monkey shirt!" or "The Supermodel Diva Baby had her portraits taken in this dress." It's funny, but I do associate certain clothes with a specific baby even though several babies have worn them.
I did not keep anything of Little Miss This's, except for photos. I found a couple of pacifiers in the following months, but the worst grief-bomb I found was when I put on my winter coat for the first time this fall (she left in July), and found her mittens in my pocket. In the end, I made one into an ornament for our Xmess tree by embroidering her name on it and adding a pretty bow. I purposely didn't keep anything of hers that could become talismanic; I could drive myself crazy with that.
I have a Pandora-type bead/charm bracelet with beads representing all my kiddos (Biological and foster); after I add the bead for The Mini Melonball I will have to start a second bracelet!
My FS went home last month for the second time. He was with us for 7 months, went home for 3 months, was removed again, with us another 4 months, then went home to parents again because of a CPS procedural mistake -- even though everyone was recommending TPR. My heart breaks about the whole situation and pray for him every day. I thought I sent almost everything with him, but when I found his beanie in the laundry two days after he left, I had a breakdown. It's just a beanie but it was one of the beanies that he wore to bed because he had PTSD/trichotillomania and was pulling out his hair while he slept. Anyway...it's something insignificant, but so significant to me.
In addition to the favorite photos of each of my kids and the pictures they have colored that I keep, we started a train with our first placement. I have copies of a train that you color in. I colored the engine and then I have each of our foster children color a car. I write their names on there in big letters, and at the bottom I record the the first and last day of placement. I have hung them just below the ceiling in one of our foster rooms. I am going to go around the entire room, and then I will start in our other room.
I take a bazillion photos and make scrapbook pages so I don't really keep THINGS though there has been the occasional favorite outfit I can't part with or find later and weep. I did keep my ffd's hospital bracelet because I didn't trust her parents with it after RU. SO glad I did because she came back into our care for a few months and is now being adopted by relatives. I gave the bracelet to them. :)
Elk, I have a video of the little guy, 5.5, here for a year and a half. He already knows he has to leave, I took him to a counselor on my own, so he could find out in a way that supported him. A few days later, we were at the kitchen table, and I started to video him. He said, "I love you, Mom! I love you Ma-MA! I love you Mom-MIE!! I looooooove youuuuuu, Mommmmmm-IE!"
I have his little face full of angelic love saying that to me. Made myself watch it until I didn't cry every time, though I'm ready to just thinking of it. It was the most precious thing, more precious than the pictures. As are the other videos I have of him towards the last. So precious.
He wanted to get presents for me at the end, so I took him out and he got me some presents. I'd recommend that to other FPs, because it helps the child with closure.
Temporary(no longer) Mom, of course I kept the things like necklaces that he made for me. And most of his clothing, because it was clear the next family was going to throw everything out he came with. Whoa were they petty people.
I have two former FC, separate long term placements that I love. :love: I have many pictures, and outgrown clothes. I have a few pieces of artwork (scribbles mostly) and occasionally I come across something I didn't know I had & it makes me weepy. I am extremely lucky because I have an ongoing close relationship with my FFD and I have occasional contact with my FFS. :love:
I think of them as my "heart children" they are people I love as my own, but they were not meant to be mine. I am happy for them. They are both loved, one with her family, and one with his adoptive family.
I can't imagine what it's like going through having one of your FC go home... I am doing kinship care so even if they do go back I hope, 'hope' being the keyword, I will get to go back to being Auntie again...although the thought of not having them in my home and waking up to them everyday breaks my heart. I think if I was in your position I would absolutely keep something, along with the many wonderful photos and memories we have had and captured. I do know that for me I would need to send everything with them or pack up any extra belongings for awhile while I healed because the thought of looking into their empty rooms or finding their drawings, toys or stuffies would hurt. My heart goes out to you at this time and I hope you find comfort in something. You did a great thing for them! Take care!
We picked our first LO up from the NICU and I kept her "coming home" outfit. After she left I would find pacifiers in random places that would always incite tears.
Our next placement was a short term emergency placement but I treasure the picture that she drew for us on the way to her new placement and later delivered by her CW. As a pp poster said I was sure she couldn't wait to leave yet her picture showed otherwise and it is something I will keep always.
I guess I will wait and see for our current LO but I kind of like the idea of a pp about making a quilt out of pieces of clothing.
We made stamped handprints that I'm going to have matted with a picture of them and their dates here. We also made stepping stone handprints. I kept a blanket from each of them. I also kept the second drawing each of them ever made, sent the first to dad. As you can see I was a little obsessive there near the end :-).
I want to make a photo book soon with pictures of us and them. I made two really nice scrapbooks to send with them and it was hard to let those go, haha. But I'm so glad they have them.
Today is three weeks since they left. I got out some of their left over toys for our new little guy to play with this morning. Surprised how hard it is to see those things again. Must get off this computer and take this sweet little boy to the park before he sees crazy teary lady!