We got our first call to do respite for a teen girl. It totally caught me off guard because I wouldn’t have expected they would ask us to do respite with a child already in our care. I trust our social worker, though, so I said yes. In the hours that followed the call, I learned a brief synopsis of the teen’s sad life and also realized that I know her foster parents from our agency’s support group. When I spoke with the teen’s foster mom, she asked how our daughter, Tinkerbelle, felt about sharing her room. I told her that we hadnt asked but that it wouldnt be an issue. We began this process together and with the full consent of all our biological kids. The respite is only for 2 nights. We can handle ANYTHING for 2 nights, right? So I picked up Tink from school and told her we were asked to do respite. She asked how old the girl was and when I told her she exclaimed “Do it! Get her!” I was not expecting quite that joyous of a response, but honestly, I’ll take it! LOL
As we have gone though this process, there have been many times I have felt segregated from the foster parenting world because we are pre-adoptive parents rather than foster parents. I have sensed that foster parents look at pre-adoptive parents as if they are in this for selfish reasons because they plan to “keep” the child rather than work towards reunification. While we did purposely seek children to adopt, we in NO WAY interfered with our children reunifying with their biological parents. In fact, their parental rights were terminated years before we came into the picture. In any case, I feel like the call today turned us into “real” foster parents. We will do our part to support this girl, albeit for 2 nights, and then return her to her foster family. It’s unlikely that we will be able to do much beyond providing a safe and fun environment for this teen and giving respite to her foster family, but it still makes our choice to become a foster family seem more concrete.