The Hard Bit

This is the hard bit.
This is the bit that stops most people from becoming foster carers.
Saying goodbye.

I’ve been parenting this little guy for almost three years. He has taught me a lot. Mostly about tractors, motorbikes and garbage trucks, but also a lot about me.

For the last few weeks he has been transitioning out of my care and into the care of his extended family. Transition is now officially over, but he is still coming over one night a week for the next few weeks.

So many things are the same and so many things are different. The dynamic at home is enormously different. When he is here he needs lots of physical closeness and attention. At any moment, he could veer off into emotional chaos. Angry, upset, sad, confused. It’s tough when you are only three and everything you know is changing.

At the same time we are having very special moments. Moments of love, of sharing, remembering. Sweet and precious exchanges.

He has always called me mum but a couple of weeks ago he called me by my first name – Rose. It was an early morning, still sleepy exchange. I smiled at him and asked him if that’s what he’d like to call me now. Not yet, he said.

Water Boy

Water Boy


57 thoughts on “The Hard Bit

  1. I know I’ve been MIA, but I just saw this and my heart is breaking for you, Rose. I don’t know how you do it. God bless you, though, for doing what you do.

  2. Oh my. I wasn’t prepared for this over my morning coffee. So painful, so beautifully written, so full of love. Hang in there, and know that you have made an immeasurable impact on his life. Sending you best thoughts from halfway around the globe.

    • The full range of emotions! And they can pass through in a moment. Hard to explain it to the other boys, for different reasons. Hard to explain it to him – especially because he is in the ‘why’ phase.

  3. Oh Rose, that just brought a tear to my eye. It must be so amazing to know the difference you’ve made to their lives and yet so hard to let them go off into the great unknown. Lots of love from us. xx

  4. Rose am thinking of you all through this transition. Tears are flowing reading this. What a secure foundation you have given this little boy, a solid foundation for him to grow from. Such an honest and open process. Such an insightful little boy “not now”. That part made me cry the most. Big hugs to all as you contain all the big and beautiful emotions xx

  5. Oh, the tears are flowing. It’s been over six months since I said goodbye to my baby, and I still miss her every single day. She just turned three a couple months ago. A million other precious children could never fill that one little hole in my heart that has her name on it. I’m sorry for your loss, because it is a great one, and a very real one. I am glad, though, that you were able to do a transition and still have a bit of contact. That you can hope and even believe that he will be safe and loved. Wishing you blessings and peace through this very hard time.

    • They stay with you no matter that they are no longer in your care. Always! I am grateful for the transition and the opportunity to help him through this big change in his life. Thank you – it helps having others out there who know how it feels.

  6. Thinking of you Rose, and your bunch of beautiful boys, sending love to you all, and having a little cry. xx

      • Thank you for doing what you do. I know there’s a huge need for foster parents, and I can tell by the tone of your story that you’re one of the special ones.

    • We have had a lot of fun and laughter and it has been quite delightful to see this little guy grow from a little baby to being the big, independent and articulate 3yo he is today. It’s hard to see him go, but I hope it’s for the best.

    • You’re right – it can never be the same, even when you do stay in touch. Knowing that and allowing it and supporting them in letting you go as well allowing yourself to let them go – all hard, but hopefully best for them in the end.

      • Agreed. I was thrilled to find out that this little tiny crack-addicted infant has now graduated from Harvard with a degree in Family Law! He adoptive parents really did right by her! 🙂

  7. Giving them back is the one thing that scares me about being a foster parent. I just don’t know if I could say goodbye. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  8. Thank God there are people like you. Willing to put yourself in discomfort and downright pain for other people. I cant evenget myself to foster kittens.

  9. Wow. I don’t know how you do this, but it’s lovely to read something like this that gives a great view of foster care–I feel like whenever the media or tv deals with foster, it’s a negative view. This was really poignant. Hope you both make the transition well.

    • So true! Foster carers seem to have a somewhat tarnished image, but I believe and I hope that this is changing. Changing because of the people who are now becoming carers. I feel strongly that our concept of family needs to change and expand so that we can be more caring of those around us and especially of the most vulnerable in our communities.

  10. You are such an incredible human being Rose. This post has my desk flooded with tears. I cannot imagine how difficult and beautiful it must be. I admire what you do, there are only so many earth angels that can carry out the kind work or loving a child and protecting them as your own. You are amazing. If you ever want to have a cuppa and chat about… whatever, I’d love to reconnect and catch up with you x

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