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Challenge: Perfectly Imperfect Parenting

Diary of a foster dad: Saying goodbye is never easy

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All I have ever wanted to be was a father. My life has taken me on a path that led to fostering children, and it has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

But there is also a sad and agonizing side of fostering children that not many people talk about. My life revolves around my kids, and then all of a sudden, I have to let them go once they have become a part of me. When I have to say goodbye to one of my kids, it happens so abruptly. I get a call from the court, and then BAM- a part of me is gone. Of course, I want to see my children reunited with their parents, but how am I supposed to let go once that happens? No one prepares you for that kind of loss. When you become so attached to someone having them taken away from you so quickly leaves scars behind. It is the messy part of fostering children and the double-edged sword of wanting what is best for them. Being a parent is a selfless kind of love, always doing for others and taking others' feelings into account, even when your heart might be broken in the moment.

The bittersweet side of saying goodbye to my foster kids is hard, but at the same time, it is so amazing to witness them seeing their parents again. It is a beautiful thing when the parents work hard to have their children back. But, no matter how many goodbyes I will say, for me, my foster kids will always be a part of my extended family.


One of my kids D was with me for 9 months and then was taken away from me suddenly. The pain you feel when you say goodbye is hard to put into words. On one hand, you’re extremely grateful that this child gets to go home to their parents because that must be so nice for them to reconnect. But on the other hand, this child has made a home with you, a connection, and become family. And within a blink of an eye, your day-to-day life with them turns to memories.

When the parents allow the kids to stay in touch and provide opportunities to see them again, such as D- I take any opportunity I can to reconnect with them. D’s parents allowed us to reunite all of our families and have a day filled with love, laughter, and a whole lot of fun. Seeing D back with his parents warms my heart. He is now in the 3rd grade, has many friends, and he lives near the water! I cannot believe how much he has grown. I wish we had more time together, but I am thankful that we all got to reconnect and spend time together.


When I asked my son Anthony how he felt about seeing D again, I could not help but feel very proud. All I want is to make my kids feel loved and safe, and now I see they do the same for each other, and it’s amazing to see. Anthony enjoyed talking with D and he made sure D was feeling comfortable being back at his parent's house. He also mentioned how fun it was to play with D again and see him doing well and settling into his new routine.

Overall, we had a great time hanging out with D, and I am so happy he is doing well!

I appreciate everyone that has been following my journey with fostering my children. Although it is tough to say goodbye after making a connection and becoming family, all that matters is my children's happiness and safety.


Peter Mutabazi

Writer Samantha Jordan contributed to this essay.

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