Lori and I aren’t on the respite and emergency care list. However, we have gotten three phone calls in the past six weeks because of emergency situations. A few weeks ago we received a call asking if we could take care of a 4-year-old girl for the week. Lori and I talked for a bit and asked our sweet 6-year-old. She didn’t bat an eye before saying, “yes.” We talked to her about having a roommate (or a second roommate, as she said, because the ladybug that has taken up residence in her room is her first roommate) and playing dress-up with dolls. We also talked about how it would be hard sharing toys and less attention from mommy and mama.
Scoot came to us on a Friday night. Before she arrived, our 6-year-old remembered how scary it was to go to a new house and said, “When my bed was ready for me, I felt more welcome. She can have the cow blanket.” Then I nearly started crying when she put her beloved Cinderella doll on the new girl’s pillow.
The 4-year-old was removed from a very violent home about two months ago. She lived with a foster family and the foster mom went on a vacation and couldn’t bring the foster child. The home she was in during this time was unsafe, thus having to be moved and brought to our home. I can hardly keep track so imagine how much her head was spinning.
The few adults I have talked to about the 4-year-old are curious about specifics. “Wait, why was there no notice? Couldn’t they plan ahead for their vacation?” But our 6-year-old didn’t ask too many questions. I have lived 28 more years on this planet, but she has lived in different worlds and has an understanding that I never will.
We will make our home a safe place for this 4-year-old. If you want to help and don’t feel that long-term foster care is for you, please consider providing a short-term, safe space for kids. Become a respite foster parent.