Grief & Loss: Making Space for Healing


While it may take six to eight weeks for a broken bone to heal or five-10 days to be cured of the common cold, emotional healing often takes much longer. The day an adoption becomes finalized, for example, is a joyful experience, but it may have an underlying layer of sadness for the child or children involved. This grief due to loss must be acknowledged. That’s where everyday healing comes in.

Children touched by foster care and adoption often lose all that was familiar to them. This loss may include family members, their home, school, friends, or even pets. This feeling of loss can go unnoticed by others because there are no rituals, such as funerals, that show children that their loss is shared. Children may wonder if they have the “right” to grieve. This unspoken grief may lead to challenging behaviors. These behaviors are normal in this circumstance, and each child’s experience will differ as they go through the stages of development and grief.


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Author: Wisconsin Family Connections Center
Additional Author: Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
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