Tuesday, February 07, 2017


A foster parent called Jojo posted a comment on Come On Phone, Ring!

I'm guessing Jojo is a foster mum not a foster dad, forgive me if I'm wrong. I'm also guessing that 'Jojo' is a pseudonym so we are ok to talk.

Jojo touches on the pleasant anxiety of waiting for a call about your next placement.

But mostly Jojo is having a difficult time dealing with the departure of her last placement.

Her family looked after a 6 month-old boy for two years. They'd all developed mutual attachments to each other, Jojo mentions how close he'd become to their own child.

Then a few weeks ago the child was removed and placed with his extended family. Jojo has concerns about the child's new carers and is trying to get to see the boy, partly to help him along, partly to be sure things are going fine. The authorities are in her way.

I've talked before on the blog about my sense that sometimes when a placement ends and the child goes it's something of a bereavement. In Jojo's case it seems to me to be only just short of a full bereavement.

She knew him almost from birth. Two years is a long time.

I'm going to cut to the chase and suggest Jojo considers getting bereavement counselling.

The loss through death of a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent, I think the whole of society recognises that. My mum and dad lost a two-year-old (I was seven at the time), and I watched what the loss did to them. This was back in the days when I don't think there were counsellors.

We are very close to a lovely couple who lost a child to death last summer and they are still reeling, probably will never recover much.

People who are not foster carers will struggle to know what it is like for us when a child we have grown attached to is removed. The longer they are with us the harder it is.

It's never as hard as losing your own child, we know that.

But it's a small-scale version of that, and in our case it's made worse by fearing that the child may not be as happy where they are going than they were when they were with you.

I expect and hope that Jojo's SWs are working with her to get over the departure of the child.

I hope they aren't overstating the suggestion that she'll have a new placement arriving soon which will help her get over her loss.

My dad told me many years after his daughter died that the only help he got was from the family doctor, who collared my dad after visiting my mum. Dad was underneath his old Morris distracting himself from his grief by tinkering with the car. The doctor told him "Best thing you can do is have another one, and quick".

It didn't help, my dad said.

What he needed, and never got, was a good ear.

Good luck Jojo. Thank you on behalf of the child for the great start you've given him in life, thank you for everything you've done and are going to do in fostering.

Thinking of you.



  1. I feel so sorry for Jojo, it must be heart-breaking for her whole family. Unlike with grief where there is the hope the loved one has gone on somewhere better, is free from both physical & emotion pain, with fostering there is so much extra worry – primarily what if they aren’t somewhere better. We've discussed it before of course.

    And we "know" fostering is usually temporary, and we shouldn't get too attached - but how do you not? These young people worm their way into your hearts, infact I'd be worried about foster parents who don't feel that care and attachment for the children they are looking after. I have heard people say (never to my face) that “you can’t really love” children who aren’t your own or “you love your own more” Rubbish! Afterall do you “really love” your parents, your siblings? How about your spouse/partner? You didn’t give birth to any of them either!

    It doesn't compare to Jojo's loss, but I can image the depth of the pain as I'm still missing young Mr Skywalker, who we all fell in love with him over the long weekend he spent with us. A long weekend, months ago and I still worry and miss him now. We haven't heard a peep about him since and probably never will. I hope he's happy, I hope he was told we wanted him too, I hope he’s in a good place. I worry he isn’t. When its been years, like with Jojo the pain and worry must be overwhelmingly huge.

    For Jojo I hope she finds peace, I hope her lost little one is happy, cared for and healthy. I hope she eventually feels ready to take in more children - she sound like a real asset to the fostering community - there are so many children who need foster parents who care that much!

  2. Great comments Mooglet, thank you very much for your kindness.