What do you hold on to after foster child leaves?
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?
Forever Mom to Chubbs

Former Foster Mom to:

Blue Eyes
My first long term placement is leaving soon (2 years old, with me for a year). I hadn't thought about keeping something physical of hers, but now that you mention it, a blankee might be really nice.... something to hold on those lonely days of missing her...

Her older sister (also with me for a year) gave me a plaque when she left that is OH so sweet, that I will treasure forever. It says, "Thank you Alisa, for leading me to Christ and for always being by my side this past year. You're the best "Mamma" anyone could have."

I believe that our little ones would say this and much, much more to us if they could. You have changed the course of their lives... hold on to that. Hugs!

[url=http://attemptingagape.blogspot.com]Attempting Agape[/url]
I think with our FS I'm going to do a garden stone with his hand prints. We're always joking about how we find his hand prints all over the house. I'm a neatnik so I wipe them instantly. I will miss them when they're gone though.
We actually have a box that has an article or two of clothing from each child we have fostered. Some are things they came with that they outgrew (we send most of that stuff anyway even if it doesn't fit- especially if it is in pics in their life book) and sometimes it is something we bought for them that they were still wearing when they left. We take out the clothes that fit our current kids and return them to the box when they no longer do. We have a particular pair of jeans that more than half of our kids have worn and for some reason I LOVE that!

We do artwork with each of our kids that stil hangs somewhere in the house. Our little guy that we always felt was supposed to stay and were devestated when he left has the cutest one. I bought a regular matting for a large picture frame, put several colors of paint on the floor and held him up (he was only 4 months at the time) put his piggies in the paint and let him put his feet all over the paper. I am so picky and chose colors that would go with our decor so "Dances on Paper" still hangs prominently in our dining room. People always think the pic is my STBAD because so many people "forget" about our little guy but we of course never will.
One of our FFD drew me a surprise picture saying "I love it here" in the hour before she went home. This is a kiddo I thought couldn't WAIT to get out of our home back to her parent. :-( I framed it and it's now in a place of honor. Happy

Another of our FFD's gave me two pairs of earrings at different times that I cherish. I wear them when I'm missing her. You can imagine how devastated I was when one fell out. :-(

And the child I was most happy to see gone made me a beautiful flower out of wood for mother's day. Even though I'm happy he's gone, I still miss the good days with him. His baggage was just... wow...
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.
Elk: that made me get teary eyed.
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. Smile
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