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Children Missing Foster mom

I have recently had a 3 yr old boy and 4 year old girl placed in my home for adoption. They were with their previous foster mom for 2 and a half years. We are on our 6th day they are really starting to miss their foster family. Do any of have any tips or helpful suggestions on helping through this time. The foster mom is going to cal tomorrow ( we agreed on once a week for starters) and I do not know if that will make it better or worse. It just breaks my heart to see them hurting so bad right now. I try to help them but I think their could be more I could do.


Photos can really help, call and visits to. Books. Sometimes play therapy is needed for a short time. It will get easier in time, but it will take time. I am glad you are so concerned about their transition to your home. Some new parents want to forget their child had a past at all. Keep up the good parenting.

Posted by Private And Foster Mom on Jan 04, 2012 at 11:13am

The previous responder is right….some new parents do want to forget that their child had a past.  That is so very unhealthy for the children.

I would allow the kiddos to talk as much as they want about their former foster Mom and to draw her pictures to their hearts content. Try to find out what are some of the special foods she used to make them and make those so that they feel something familiar. 

Above all else, honor their feelings, their hearts and their losses with respect and dignity!!

Posted by preparedforrain on Jan 04, 2012 at 11:22am

Hello Xaccmom,

We have gone through the same situation as well….we are in the process of adopting our 4 year old son and he has been with us for 9 months now.  He was with his foster family for 1.5 years and he obviously missed them when the new exciting feeling wore off here smile  We had 2 times in the early days that he was crying uncontrollably because he wanted to see his ‘foster mom’ and family and during those times I did ask him if he wanted to call her and we did…together.  He would be crying and I would be talking to her and she did her best to console him on the phone.  It didn’t really take much, and he didn’t really speak, it was more of hearing her voice and telling him everything was fine and trying to talk about what he is doing here with us.  Other things that we have done to help with the grieving process is start a garden in which he takes care of his plant and waters it.  Also, we have him draw pictures when ever he is feeling down/ or letters in which we help write down what he is feeling.  Lots and lots of conversation and lots of understanding!  As time has gone by for us, he doesn’t call her by mom anymore but we speak of her by her name.  We try to explain to him why she couldn’t take care of him forever but it still hurts him a lot that ‘they couldn’t take care of him as his birth mother couldn’t”.  I tell him that they actually did take care of him and it sounds like they did a very good job and I’m happy he was happy there….I tell him they are our friends and we will see them soon.  I read an article recently from adult foster children saying that one thing that they didn’t understand was why they had to loose their ‘foster family’ to get their ‘forever family’ makes lots of sence and I think that we are getting ready to start visits with the foster family.  I hope this helps you.  Just make sure that you and the foster family are in agreement about everything and things will work out.  Good luck!

Posted by Mollybear on Jan 04, 2012 at 11:24am

I’d frame the foster mom’s photo and put it by their bedsides. Also, help your children write letters saying what they would like to her.  It’s got to be like losing their birth mom all over again.  A lot of grief for small children.  So I’d do what ever I could to keep her in their lives like a close aunt of sorts. I’d also tell the children that they can call her any time they want, and like you have, do it with them.  It might seem like too much to you, but I would think it would help them to have a bit of control in the midst of uncontrollable losses. 

Your instincts are good, trust that over time as they get closer to you they will feel even more love for you if you nuture that love for their foster mom who was such a big part of their still small lives.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 04, 2012 at 12:52pm

With children that young it sometimes helps if the foster parents can come to your house for lunch or whatever. It makes the children understand the foster parents know where they are and it is OK. The foster parents can make positive remarks about the home, room, pets etc.
You could buy one of those story books that has a person’s voice and ask the foster mom to read a story they can listen to.
Later they can go to her house to visit. It sometimes helps to see she has moved on (new foster children). Make sure they understand the foster mom’s job was to keep them for a little bit, it is your job to keep them until they are all grown up.
It is hard.

Posted by Regina on Jan 04, 2012 at 8:59pm

Thank you al for your suggestions. We did give each of the children a picture of them and their foster mom. I also have them closing their eyes and sending her hugs when they miss her. I tell them that they are very loved by both families. I was thinking about the book that Foster mom could record but wasn’t sure if we should. I will send her one now. We do plan to have her visit and in the future she will do respite care. We have to wait a while on that though. We do not want to confuse them any more then necessary. I really do appreciate the suggestions.

Posted by on Jan 04, 2012 at 10:44pm

I was a foster parent my son prior to adopting him.  I know that foster care tends to get a bad rap, but there are foster families who ARE doing the right thing.  They are taking care off their ‘children’, educationg them, loving them, providing them with stability that some may not ever have had.

I agree with the previous posters with the pictures and writing the letters to the foster mom.  This might be a grieving process for them and it might be one for the foster mom as well.

Posted by Onesimus' Mom on Jan 07, 2012 at 8:14am

I completely agree that foster homes can be a very loving and positive experience for children. In fact I know that is why they are having such a hard time. I also know they are grieving as if they have lost htier family and we are all trying to help them understand and work through it. I appreciate all the input on how to help them.

Posted by on Jan 19, 2012 at 11:39am

Why are you waiting for a visit? It won’t seem real to them (you will allow visits) until one happens. I know they will be sad but that is OK they already are. Is it a policy? Or do you feel it is better this way? I guess I don’t see why it would confuse them more.

You can’t wait until they attach that could take years. Just wondering, they are your kids so you know them

Posted by Regina on Jan 19, 2012 at 9:14pm

Both social workers and the foster mom feel that it would be better to wait for the visits. Foster mom still calls every week. The calls are good but also really hard on them. i honestly see both sides and do not know which is best…

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 at 12:15pm

Since I don’t know anyone I am not sure what is best either, I was just asking. What do you think would be best?

Why do the workers and foster mom want to wait and what are they waiting for? What has to happen before a visit happens? Maybe they are waiting for the children to settle in?

Posted by Regina on Jan 23, 2012 at 7:57pm

Hello xaccmom.  I agree with Regina that it is wise to ask yourself why waiting for visits to begin is a good idea, when the children’s need for that is NOW.  Not all foster care workers truly understand what is best for children.  They do not necessarily have a great deal of training, knowledge, or experience.  Foster parents do not always have any more understanding of what children’s needs are than what a particular agency worker has said to them.  Unless there is a specific reason for why, in this case, they have decided that it would be best to wait, they may be working with outdated and wrongful assumptions about what is best for the children,who do not have a very grasp of Time.  The wait for a someday-visit may feel endless, or that you are not telling them the truth (that you really intend to keep their foster mother away), which would interfere rather than build trust and attachment.  I’m not at all sure that you are receiving good advice in this.

    I would also encourage you to encourage phone calls, as often as the children wish TO call their foster mother.  Just hearing her voice, and knowing that she still cares about them, that she misses them too, may ease some of their grief and homesickness.

    One of the best things that we can do, is to try to imagine ourselves as young children who have not had permanence, and see the situation from their point of view.  If YOU were very young, had been abruptly transferred to the care of new adults who are strangers, and you were homesick for mom (for that is who she has been to them), what would YOU need and want?  Wouldn’t phonecalls at least feel reassuring, so that you could get past the grief a little—enough to focus on the Here and Now, and not dwell on what you have lost and the “mom” you are missing?  It just doesn’t make sense to the CHILDREN that cutting off or severely restricting contact will help them feel better.  The more you show them that you are in THEIR corner, and will advocate for THEIR needs and not merely comply with what other adults (who may not truly have enough expertise to know what IS in their best interests), the more readily they will come to trust and love you.  Children end up getting into emotional trouble, when we, the adults, do not listen to THEM.

Jane A. Brown, MSW

Posted by Jane Brown on Jan 26, 2012 at 12:49am

I just wanted to chime in and say that I am going through this exact thing right now and it is heart breaking. My son is 4.5 and was with his foster mother/family for 4 years prior to us, he moved in with us 10 days ago after a month long transition of visits and overnights.

The first week was a total honeymoon. Now we are entering severe sadness (as to be expected). He has talked to his foster mom a few days ago and again last night and it went well. We are encoraging calls as she was a very good foster mother and we want to help him maintain a relationship and help him as much as possible in the crazy time in his life.

That being said, he says how much he misses her and his old house all day the past two days and even several times how much he wants to go back there - it is Gut Wrenching. The smallest bump sends him into a crying jag and cries for his old mommy and his old house - my heart breaks for him.

In addition, he started peeing his pants throughout the day when we are hanging out playing at the house. We are just going with the flow and not making a big deal of it - but I worry this could get worse…

I am feeling your pain and thanksful for everyone’s advice!


Posted by bethr305 on Jan 29, 2012 at 9:17am

You need to join in the sadness. I know this is so sad for you. Hold in your lap and comfort. Don’t try to make it better by saying but now you have us. You wouldn’t go to calling hours and say to a widow quit being sad you can get married again. Let him grieve.Grieve with him

Make sure he knows why they did not keep him(by the way why didn’t they?)
That it wasn’t his fault, that if you didn’t adopt him he still wouldn’t be with his foster parents because he would have moved to another family.

Read Toddler Adoption by Hopkins-Best

Grief is hard and it isn’t over quickly.

He is trying to win back control through wetting, or trying to make you think he is too difficult to keep, or regressing in development which children sometimes do when they are stressed. It is good not to fuss. You can’t control it anyway.

I am glad he is grieving with you and not stuffing it. Poor little guy.

As to living back there you need to say someday we can visit but you can’t live in that family again because they can’t keep you until you are all grown up because…..

Posted by Regina on Jan 29, 2012 at 12:59pm

Just thought I would do an update..We did a 2 hour visit at our house about 2 weeks ago. It went really well. The adoption worker wasn’t really for it but we did it anyway smile Since then there has been more of the I want to go live with Momma Val and such. I am not sure if that is directly related to the visit or the time frame they have been in our house.
Thank you all for the great suggestions smile

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 at 11:16am

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