Five foster homes inhabited by strangers.
Four languages shouting unintelligible words.
Three siblings separated and estranged.
Two parents ensnared in addiction and abuse.
One baby brother requiring protection.

His shadowed eyes stared warily into mine. Their depths held such sorrow… At 3 1/2 years old, this little man needed more than just a safe home. He needed a safe space to grieve and rage and cry and be loved through each big emotion.

Welcoming children from hard places into our homes and churches means inviting in their sorrow and grief as well. We are choosing to actively enter their pain and loss and anger. Families and churches will experience grief and a deep sense of loss as we walk with children in foster care. True stories of abuse, neglect, cycles of addiction, and broken families will break our hearts. Saying good-bye to children we love will overwhelm us with grief. We will struggle to comfort the children that remain in our homes after hard good-byes. In addition to helping our kids from hard places access professional therapy and counseling services, let’s be ready to comfort them as they grieve. Let’s take time to acknowledge their sadness and anger. Let’s sit with them in their sorrow. Let’s comfort their hurting hearts. Here are some activities to do together with children we love as they process grief. Instead of trying to “fix” things or “make things better,” let’s focus on comforting them and connecting with their hearts.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

Grieving Together
  • Actively Listen
  • Take a walk
  • Quietly sit side-by-side
  • Cry together
  • Share a hug
Mourning Alone
  • Write letters to birth family
  • Process through journaling
  • Compose a Lament Psalm
  • Walk a labyrinth
  • Listen to music
Creating Memorials
  • Decorate a jar for “collecting” tears
  • Create a Lifebook or photo album
  • Frame a picture of birth family
  • Paint comfort rock or picture
  • Construct memory box
Providing Comfort
  • Say a prayer
  • Nourish with food
  • Savor a warm beverage
  • Wrap in a blanket
  • Read a story aloud