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Episode 70: Journeying Through the Hard Goodbyes in Foster Care

By April 22, 2019January 3rd, 2023The Forgotten Podcast

“Your heart is going to be broken [when you say goodbye], but doesn’t God call us to a place of attachment?”

Foster care is a journey of love and loss, not only for the kids in care but for foster families too. In today’s episode, Kim Young of The Bair Foundation, helps us prepare for and process the hard goodbyes.


1. Prepare early on for the goodbyes.

While you are learning about foster care and even before getting certified, start thinking through what it might be like to say goodbye. It might seem odd to think about the goodbye before we say hello, but it’s important to see the full scope of our role as foster families before we begin. Ask your agency, “What kind of support will you offer us?” or “What kind of resources can you share to help us best prepare?” Talk to others who have walked the journey before to get their wisdom and counsel.

Also, understand your “Why?” Why are you starting this journey of foster parenting? What are your expectations? How you frame your thinking around your mission will make a big difference when things get hard for you and your forever kids.

Remind your kids (and yourself often) of this opportunity you have to love and care for a child or children temporarily and be a part of reuniting a family who was once broken and is now, prayerfully, safe and healthy. Pray for redemption! That is the gospel message, beauty from ashes. As foster families, we get to be a part of this!

2. Celebrate the children who come through your home.

Find tangible ways to honor and remember the children in your life. Some examples are:

  • Create a Lifebook – scrapbook style resource to highlight the important moments and memories along the way.
  • (Special Note: TFI is releasing a companion to our Who Loves Children’s Book Series: The Who Loves Lifebook on May 1st!) Learn more at!
  • Build a Rock Garden: Find some small rocks and paint them and write the names of everyone in the home on them. Then find a special place in your home or yard to honor all who lived there.
  • Fill two Coffee Bean Jars. Add a bean to each jar every day that you are together. When it’s time to say goodbye, send one with your little one who is leaving and keep one for your family.
  • Make a Beaded Necklace. As children enter your own, add a bead to a necklace to honor each child.

3. Walk alongside the birth family.

It is tempting to want to isolate your family and not reach out to the child’s birth family, but we are called by God to love. Remember, we have the opportunity to be a part of a redemption story!

When you grow in a relationship with your child’s family, your goodbye could become more of a see you later.

For example:

  • Ask your agency if it is okay to call or text them. Share your heart for them. Let them know you are in this with them and you are rooting for them. (There are apps where you can call or text without sharing your cell phone.)
  • Ask the parents about the child. What does your child like to eat? What is their bedtime routine? What toys do they enjoy?
  • Pray for the family. Pray for redemption. Pray for restoration!


Bair Foundation
Kim Young Instagram
Kim Young Facebook
Fostering Lifebook
CAFO2018_PresenterSlide.pptx 2018 What Matters Most
Parent Partnering


The TFI Story
Who Loves Series
Find a TFI Advocate Near You
Become a TFI Advocate


Hopefully, this episode has helped you right where you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal. If you enjoyed it, will you tell others?

The best way to do that is to rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts and leave us a brief review! Your ratings and reviews help us get this podcast in front of new listeners. Your feedback also lets us know how we can better serve you. Thank you so much!

Meet Our Guest

Kim Young has served at-risk children since 1997 and is currently the Vice President for The Bair Foundation, a Christ-centered social services ministry dedicated to the treatment, restoration and empowerment of children, youth and families. She desires to help every child find a loving home that will introduce them to their forever Father in Christ, eternally adopted.

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