The Pain of "Losing" a Child
Let's set the stage. You've had your son or daughter for over a year and a bio family member gets their act together and is granted custody of the child you have been fostering for over a year. You have dedicated your life to raise this child to the best of your abilities. Everything in you wants to fight to keep the child, but regardless of the situation (whether good or bad), the ruling has been made final and you "lose" your child.
No matter who you talk to - no one can sympathize with how you feel. As a matter of fact, you may not be able to sympathize with how you feel. You knew going into it that the idea was reunification, but now you were in the trenches and that idea left your mind.
Brother, it's a hard road we've chosen, but this I know...it's worth it.
What do you do?
It's simple to say, hard to do. You grieve. Yes, grieve. What does that look like? It looks different for everyone. If you need to cry, cry. It's not un-manly to cry. It's a legitimate response to loss. If it's going for a drive - go for a drive. If you need some space, take some time off. But grieve. Grieving is a part of the process. It's a way to deal with your emotions prior to taking another placement. It needs to be done.
If you are married, talk it out with your wife. Have a vent session. Have a cry session. Be there for each other when you are ready. It's part of life and it's part of marriage to be on the same page even if you don't see eye to eye on the situation right away.
If you need to see a counselor, therapist, or talk to your case worker - do it. There is nothing wrong with that. You need support. We can help you to a certain extent. We can grieve with you. But sometimes you need a trusted professional to help you and that's OK.
So, brother, when and if this happens to you - grieve. Do what you need to do, in a healthy way of course, to work through the emotions that you are feeling and talk it out with your wife or other people who may understand or be able to help.
Press on, brothers!