Are you experiencing anticipatory grief as a foster parent?

In this clip of the Family Care Learning Podcast from episode #5, we hear from Haley who is one of our child and family therapists at Arizona Family Counseling who talks about anticipatory grief in foster care.

A lot of times foster care can be very up and down emotionally. When it comes time for the child to move on from your home it can bring on “anticipatory grief” for both foster parents. Haley talks about her experience with anticipatory grief after a judge ruled for her foster children to move on. “For me, I was like, coming into work, being like, okay, we’re saying bye to them and then it’d be like, nope, they’re still here for a lengthy amount of time,” she said. “For me, it was really easy to get stuck in that bargaining stage for that too, because it’s like, well, now we have this window open of, they’re not going yet so what can I do to ensure safety or ensure that the judge really knows what they’re signing on for, what they’re saying yes or no to,” she said. Haley said that can be very challenging to go through as foster parents. “Because again, there’s that show up of needing some control,” she said.

Often times husbands and wives do not grieve in the same ways which might create distance between spouses. Haley shares some insight on what she has learned with her spouse, Garrett to help continue the unity between them through their time of grieving.

“I think going to therapy, the two of us is the best thing,” she said. “Honestly, something I would even recommend doing, even if you are in a good spot, just that preventative, because again, you know, life is just throwing us curve balls,” she said. Haley shared that for her and her husband therapy has been a huge blessing. She also talked about being intentional about checking in with one another. “Just letting each other know that we love them, we’re thinking about them, what do you need in this moment?” she explained. She said it’s important to be willing to meet your spouse in their grief and not have expectations that you need your needs met first. Perhaps ask, “Do you want to stay home today, just relax this weekend or go for a walk?” “Just having those conversations I think are helpful,” Haley said. “Just checking in with each other,” she added.

To watch the full podcast click here: Grieving In Foster Care With Your Spouse – Family Care Learning Podcast #5