As a foster parent, we have the option to use respite care basically for any reason we choose. For many it’s a way to take the annual family cruise, have a quiet weekend at home, or just sleep.
And now to open a can of worms…
But to me respite should never have been intended or allowed for these reasons and instead should be available for emergencies such as a sudden illness, death, or disaster.
Parents of natural born children don’t typically have the option of respite, unless there is a medical or mental disability involved and even then, it’s rare to see. So why then should those of us called to serve God’s forgotten children abuse such a privilege?
Our children have been through enough, have enough of a fear of being unwanted without us taking a break from them because it is convenient. So you want to go on vacation…great, there are fifty awesome states in the union that you can explore with your foster children and most of them probably have something that even you haven’t see or done before! You need to paint the house or work on the plumbing…awesome, let them see you do those things so they learn that life means doing the dirty work too and if they are old enough, teach them those skills! So your tired…congratulations you now know how your parents felt for 18 plus years!
Be Good Stewards
Now I’m not saying that there isn’t a place or reason for respite care. What I want to express is simply that with the state of the foster care system, and the needs of many of our children, we need to be Good Stewards of this privilege.
Unless there’s been a death, a major sudden illness, or a disaster, don’t even consider respite. Keep those beds open for folks who truly need it, not those of us just needing a break. Yes I know that being a foster parent is hard-work. I do it 24/7/365.25 with four-to-six preschoolers. I understand how hard it is! But I also know that if I happen to suffer a heart attack, we have a fire or flood here at the house, or we loose someone close in the family, we are going to NEED respite and it is may not be available because someone else WANTED to go on vacation and take an international cruise.
Soap Box Issue
So, just incase you didn’t get it, this is one of my push-button soap box issues. I’m sure it is the first of many I’ll air out on this blog and I’m curious to see how it’s responded to. I do ask two things on these posts. Please be respectful…no cursing and please know that while I am voicing my opinions here, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular.