Monday, May 5, 2008

Support Group

Yesterday afternoon I went to our monthly foster/Adoptive Parent Support Group and it was a good experience. It is wonderful to spend an hour and half with a group of folks who get it! There was no concerns about how the folks in the room were going to react, everyone got the sad humor that gets us through and keeps us going. It was nice not to have to preface everything with long explanations and the whole dysfunction of the system was not something that we had to dwell on. Instead we could share some constructive ways to handle pressing behaviors and had a good talk about boundaries within the home.

A number of families have recently experienced the sorrow of having a long term placement move on and it was a safe place to express that grief. Losing a child is a very isolating experience, but losing a foster child is doubly isolating. Very few people can relate to the heartrending that goes on as a child is transitioned into their new placement, whether it is reunification or adoption. How to explain to your foster child, how to explain to your own children, how to explain to yourself that for whatever reasons the child can no longer stay with you despite the love you have shared.

We also talked about the inevitable pulling away or shielding of our hearts that occurs as the transition takes place. And how that impacts our parenting in the last few weeks of placement. We decided we need a group session on grief and loss for just those FPs who are involved in reunification.

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