How Do I Break Her Heart?

Foster Care, Heartbreak, small children, big questions

How do I break her heart? 

This is my struggle. The struggle I have thought about for the last 11 months. When we adopted our daughter 11 months ago we knew we wanted to foster again. At the time, we said to ourselves, we’ll give ourselves a few months to recuperate, go on a family vacation without getting permission from a judge, live our lives without telling the social worker every little detail of our lives. Have freedom for a few months.

So we set a date… October!

By October we would be ready. Then October came, but our house was not suitable for a foster kiddo. Our house was under construction.  We were putting in new flooring ourselves. We knew we wouldn’t be done until the end of November.  

So we set a new date… December!

December is here. But we’re still not ready. Sure, the house is done. But we realized this would be the first Christmas without required visits and without the waiting and waiting and waiting to hear from the court systems. We decided that we wanted to celebrate a Christmas without the stress of the foster care system.

Now we are setting a new date… April!

At this point, we need to be realistic with ourselves and our true desires. We want to celebrate her birthday and go on a family vacation to another state. We want to go without having to worry about finding respite care or asking for permission to take a baby to another state. By April we will surely be ready. Right! Right?

But then there is this thought…

It surrounds me every time I look at my sweet, innocent girl. She’s two (very soon to be three). She loves with her whole heart. She loves every member in the family and asks to talk to them on the phone or to visit with each one of them regularly. It’s in her nature to be sweet and caring, and love everybody.

We are faced with a challenge…

One we didn’t face the first time around when dealing with the foster care system. My husband and I signed up for the foster care life. We are ready for our hearts to be broken. We took the classes, we had the conversations with the social workers, we understand the requirements and the facts that we are a tool of the state. We are a healthy loving home while we work to reunify the child with their biological family. We understand that adoption is only an option when all of those options fail. We are the last resort. Although we were lucky with her, foster kids don’t come with a 100 percent adoption guarantee. This we understand. We have prepared our seasoned adult hearts. We’ve lived through loss and heartbreak, and we signed up for the loss and heartbreak. We have felt heartbreak, we are ready for the sacrifice and know it is all worth it.

But she didn’t sign up for this life. She doesn’t know this feeling yet.

And so now we are in new territory. And we are faced with the question… Are we ready to break her heart if the new foster kiddo doesn’t stay?

And so our new date is April. We will be ready in April. We will prep her by April, we will have the various discussions we need to have to prepare her for love and loss. And just thinking about it, has me anxious for her.

And so now I ask those seasoned foster parents…

How do you prepare your kiddos for loss?  Because just thinking about her loss breaks my heart, and it hasn’t even happened yet.  

If you want updates on this blog or are interested in the foster parent resources like the foster parent planner, the foster child binder, or the foster parent binder I have available please follow this link to register and gain access to the resource library.

More recently, I published a post on recommended foster parenting reads, and thought it’d be really cool to start up a closed Facebook group where we would read a common book and share ideas and strategies that enlightened us. Please reach out to let me know if you’d be interested by commenting on the post or shooting me an e-mail. After the holidays are over I will start organizing this group and sending out invite e-mails.


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6 comments on “How Do I Break Her Heart?
  1. Virginia says:
    Oh mama I hear you, and yet, now from the "other side" I can tell you. She will be ok! You see we started foster care this year. We brought in two kiddos in the midst of or three bios and they were supposed to be "forevers". But they weren't.... My youngest bio wasn't quite three when they came and a little over when they left. My youngest foster had just turned three when they came. Which means I had two three year old little boys. They were besties so fast, brothers. And then he was gone. My bio's best bud just disappeared. It's been 5 months and he still calls him his brother. He misses him. But he is ok. We talked a ton about "maybes", and " hopefullies", and the "what they really need right nows". Essentially we talked a ton, with each of our kids about the "current status" which meant that it was still a maybe that they would stay. But a for sure that they needed us to love them like they were staying. It's been rough, for all of us. But my bios see something other kids don't get to, outside of themselves is a world that hurts, and we can do just a smidge to help that hurt. By Gods grace. Take your time, jumping back in is very scary, but we've got another foster. And we're so glad we werent to scared to go at it again. Prayers for your journey!
    • Erin Marie Erin Marie says:
      Thank you so much! Your story definitely had me tearing up a bit. I think I really needed to hear this. I also love some of the words you use to help explain to your kiddos. I will definitely carry those with me in the months to come. Prayers for your journey as well and for your healing hearts. It's so wonderful to hear that you jumped back in it. Thank you again!
  2. Rachel says:
    We just recently said goodbye to our first foster baby. We have a 5 year old biological daughter and she loved her little sister so, so much. When we knew it was looking like baby sister would be going back to bio parents we talked a lot about it. We told her how happy we were for baby girl's mom because she had changed her life. I think she has taken it better than me. She is happy for her baby sister. She misses her a lot, but still prays every night that her baby sister will "have fun with her mommy". My advice is to talk opening the whole time about it. Your daughter is younger than ours but you will be surprised at how well she understands it all. I also made sure from the beginning that my daughter knew that our goal was to make a safe place for baby girl to be while her mom worked to make her home safe. So, when that happened it was easy to celebrate, because it was something we said we wanted... Even though we really wanted to keep her too. I'm not sure if you are religious so take this how you will... We followed the spirit a lot when talking with our daughter, a lot of the conversations we had were much better because God was guiding them.
    • Erin Marie Erin Marie says:
      Thank you so much for your advice! This was extremely helpful and will take these words with me when we do take that next step. I think sometimes I forget how much my daughter does comprehend although she can't always verbally express herself with the correct language, she does in fact understand what is happening around her.
  3. Kait says:
    You will be amazed at how well she will handle it. My daughters have said 7 goodbyes in the past 2 years. We started fostering when they were 2 and 3 and a half. It has just become a part of their lives. We love these kids while they are here and pray for their mom's to change their lives and we always tell them God will give us one we get to adopt one day. A very extra special child who really really really needs us forever.
    • Erin Marie Erin Marie says:
      Wow! That is amazing! You have a wonderful perspective and I know you are right. I think that it'll be harder on me. I just need to face that she is strong, and with the right words she will understand and be such an amazing influence and foster sister.

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