My Journey to Become a Foster Parent: Training Session Four (Loss)

Becoming a Foster Parent -Training Session 4 - Loss (

In training session four, we talked about loss. It is important to realize all of the children coming in to care are suffering losses and to figure out ways to help with with their emotions. More to that though, their families, as well as the foster, kinship or adoptive families also experiences losses. We talked about the different types of losses, how it affects behaviour and what we can do to help children in these experiences. It was a full session with lots of information, so I am only going to touch on a couple of the items we talked about.


  1. Welcome and Connecting with PRIDE
  2. Loss and Grieving
  3. Living with Loss
  4. Closing Remarks

The Pathway through the Grieving Process

We reviewed a chart which goes through the process of grieving a loss. Before we started, we were warned our own losses and emotions previously dealt with could resurface from this session. I am sure for some this is probably true. Grief is something that doesn’t always follow a path, so you will notice on the chart we have in our training binders, shown below, that the arrows go both ways.

Grief Process Chart - Foster Training Session four - Loss -

Group Exercise

For this week’s group exercise we identified the different losses of people involved with a child in care. Below shows some of the items we came up with and discussed.

1. Birth Family Losses

  • Loss of Access (to the child or children)
  • Potential loss of support from family and friends
  • Role of Parent is lost
  • Could lose their home if it was based on having dependents (low income housing)
  • Could lose a partner or spouse based on circumstances
  • Self esteem

2. Kinship Family Losses

  • Potential loss of family or friend support
  • Could be a loss of “freedom” if not a parent already
  • Could be a loss of “perks” with the child (in case of a grand parent, or other family member)
  • Loss of privacy

3. Foster Family Losses

  • Loss of routine
  • Loss of control or security
  • Future is unclear
  • Compromised privacy
  • Loss of ability to travel and go to some social activities (possibly)
  • Bio children may get less of parents’ time
  • Possible loss of self esteem (if you feel you have failed the child)

4. Adoptive Family Losses

  • Loss of freedom
  • Possibly the loss of fertility brought them to adopt
  • Loss of bloodline
  • Loss of ability to provide a child with history
  • Loss of the “expected” family experience
  • Loss of the fantasy child (if hopes of own children were there previously)
  • Potentially lost early years/experiences if adopting older child

5. Adoptee Losses

  • Loss of culture (family culture, possibly spiritual as well)
  • Loss of history/family ties
  • Loss of personal belongings (if not brought into care with them)
  • Loss of trust
  • Potentially loss of name
  • Pets
  • Loss of Foster family, if moved to a new home to be adopted
  • Loss of control

Session Four Homework

My homework this week is a chart about my own personal loss. The chart includes the following headings:

  • Age when loss occurred
  • Type of Loss
  • What Happened?
  • Effects on You as an Individual
  • Help Received

For me, I have not lost many people in my life, and am grateful for that. For my chart I am not going to talk about a loss of a person, but instead talk about my loss of my ability to have more children when I had a Hysterectomy at the age of 27. Although it was ultimately my choice, it had been brought up due to medical issues I was having. Since I had two children already and my husband at the time did not want any more bio children, I agreed to have a Hysterectomy to resolve issues I was having. Although I do not regret the decision, and have been happy to not have to attend those doctors appointments any more (since getting an all clear 6 months after my surgery) I still grieved the loss of my fertility.

Next Session: Strengthening Family Relationships



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