Reunification: The Foster Parents’ Delight and Dilemma

Fostering children requires a special kind of commitment. It is a selfless love that requires you let go of the child you have taken into your home, cared for and helped overcome any number of obstacles. Add in that the state’s first goal is to reunification, it’s important to learn how to love and let go when it’s time.

Whether the child you have cared for is moving into an adoptive home or back to their family of origin can make a difference emotionally. It’s sometimes difficult to accept that the child will be safe returning to parents that had messed up so badly to require their child to be taken into care in the first place.

boy running for reunification with birth mother
Happy boy having fun while running into mother’s embrace.

The Relationships Will Differ

The relationship between the foster parents and the birth parents can vary greatly depending on the case, of course. In an ideal world, the foster parents are working with the department and the family of origin to make a smooth transition. This is the easiest of all cases, but what happens when the foster parents have little or no trust in the birth parent’s abilities?

Receive Help With Placements

If you are ever in doubt about your foster child’s final placement, request that there is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) assigned to your child. This independent advocate has received special training that helps determine the best possible placement for the child. In cases where there is disagreement about final placement, a CASA will investigate all the options available for placement and make their suggestions to the court. They have no inherent biases toward the birth parents or the department and work as volunteers for the sake of the child.

Be Emotional Support

When it’s time to move from foster care into a permanent home everyone wants to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible. If the child has been with you in foster for any length of time, it might be advantageous to offer yourself as extra support that the child knows. In some cases, foster parents continue to be part of the children’s lives for years after leaving fosterage.

Learn More About Reunification for Foster Children

Whatever the case might be for you as a foster parent know it is completely normal to need emotional support for yourself when a child moves on from your care. You’ve had them in your arms and loved them, giving them up isn’t always easy.

Contact us for more information on fostering.