Respite Care, Back to Reality

Kids are good for the soul. They truly are. Damaged, broken kids are even better. I 100% believe this. No matter how bad I’m feeling. How rough it’s going. They give me purpose, drive, motivation.

They fill these awful holes in my heart. They soothe the constant anxiety I feel lately. They occupy my mind so my mind has to think of something, someone else than the same repeat of the same nightmare. I can’t save my adult child today but I can love someone else’s child and pour my energy into someone who wants to be saved. Who craves loves and to be wanted. It’s not much. It’s short lived. But it’s something.

Thursday night I got another call from CPS asking if I was serious I’d do “emergency respite” for more than just my babies. So, it’s coded this way because my husband won’t do finger prints and agree to be licensed for full foster care. But if I do emergency situations and respite where kids can then be coded into a licensed home and short term it works out perfectly. (No worries – We’d qualify and pass checks with flying colors. He’s just gunshy. He can’t say good bye or get attached.)

Anyways – I only take babies. I love babies. Most recently I’ve had Baby W and Baby D a lot. I have had enough of older kids in life I thought, tho I love teenagers too. Just my preference. Especially if it’s short term. Babies are easy and I am pretty good with withdrawal and drug babies. So, she asked if I was open to an absolute emergency. Ummm, rewind. What exactly do you have for me?

Three girls – 7, 11 & 13. Ummmm. Seriously? You know my specialty is not this. Well, there’s an emergency. The current placement has a breakdown family emergency and nobody licensed will step in. Three older girls? You know you’ve only given me boy babies? Yeah, I know. But they’d be perfect for you. Hmmm. Promise? How long? When? Where? You known nothing? Okay, yep, sounds like my kind of yes situation. Run into the chaos with no information.

I was given 3 amazing girls. A whole new outlook on older kids. They have personalities. Feelings. Wants. Needs. More than just holding and bottle and forced snuggling. Can I say I fell in love? Quickly. Too quickly. It was fabulous. Every. Single. Second. Of course it wasn’t sunshine and rainbows. These kids have experienced neglect, trauma, abandonment. Yet, they were perfect. As perfect as a damaged soul can be. Resilient. Scared. Fun. I enjoyed every single second and would take them back in a heartbeat. Distraction is necessary. Needed in my life.

My husband announced he was not participating. Yet he couldn’t not participate. Then 7 year old decided he was her person. She needed him.  By her. With her. Near her. Amazing when I was told after she doesn’t bond with men. He told me the middle one was his least favorite. She was my absolute favorite. The spunk, the sass, the attitude. I pray nobody ever blows that fire out. That she keeps it forever. For 11 she was a ball of fire yet in the same breath so young. So needy. So craving love. The oldest was anxious, shy, uncomfortable but came to life as time went on. I asked if she wanted to see horses. Her eyes lit up. Real horses? Yeah. Real ones. So the husband took her to his parents. Where she hung out with horses. She came back to tell me the horses liked her they said. They wanted to be close to her. Of course they did. Horses are amazing therapy. Horses sense emotion. They know that anxiety. Her goal – after 6 years in the system – to play college basketball and become an animal vet. So we went to an amazing college game where we saw our college make history winning 68-67 to move on to the nationals for the first time in program history. They were perfect. Again, I pray nobody ever crushes her dreams. These kids deserve the world.

Overall, it was a busy, hard, fulfilling couple days. I have a new outlook. I love babies but older kids are amazing too. Really I just love kids. I never thought he’d agree but now I do believe when Alex graduates I could push this further. Someday I’d love to at least be licensed for longer emergencies. I’m good not being a permanent placement but a transitional placement while family passes checks would be perfect.

And it kept me busy. Busy means less anxiety. Less misery. Less sadness. But then they leave and of course the sadness and worry about my own adult kids returns. I woke up to more texts from Zak. He thought he should go to the ER. He thought he may be dying. I quizzed him on alcohol, drugs, otc meds. He finally said he was going to work. He refused to actually go to the er with me. Though I’m not sure they could fix him. It sounded more like a panic attack to me. Today he says he feels 100% fine. So again, I spent Sunday morning crying. Wishing it was different. Better. Something. I still wonder if he took something to cause it or if it’s simply mental illness. I just wish he’d get help. So badly. Maybe that’s why I want to help and save other kids so deeply and badly. I can’t save or help my own right now. Though I wish I could.

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May 3, 2021

Thank you for caring for these kids! Your own and others. You’re amazing.

It sounds like you were exactly what those kids need.  and given they were older and came into your care knowing that it was temporary, its’ a memory that they will treasure, knowing that there are people out there who care and are going to do exactly what they promised – in your case, take super good care of them for 2-3 days.