Monday, January 23, 2012

Respite Care

As I look ahead to our spring break plans I've had to start considering respite care for Primo. 

Every molecule of my being is rebelling against leaving Primo in respite care.

Mike and I started out doing respite care, the good experiences we had with respite led us to doing foster care full time.  Respite care is so valuable to foster parents and their children.  I have always sung the praises of those who do respite care.

The problem I have with Primo going to respite care is that he feels like part of our family (we were instructed in training to treat foster children like one of the family), I would never have sent one of my daughters to a baby-sitter while the rest of the family went on vacation.

I know Primo's situation is different from my daughter's, he has parents and siblings who don't want to miss their weekly visits with him.  And to be honest I don't relish the thought of flying with an infant.

Another part of the equation is that the two foster families I know who do respite and I feel comfortable leaving him with are unavailable for the dates we need.

Even if one of these families were available, from Primo's perspective it would still amount to spending a week with strangers.

This may be one of those foster care things I'm going to have to get used to.

For the record I just don't like the idea!


  1. We have to have permission from a judge in order to bring kids anywhere that conflicts with a court ordered family visit.

    And yes, it's hard to leave them behind. We begged and pleaded with caseworkers and lawyers this summer when we wanted to bring Dude & Dolly with us on vacation. Despite the fact that they ended up having NO contact with family the entire time we were gone, they would NOT give us permission to bring them.

    It broke my heart to have to leave them in respite care. But, I also have to take care of my core family. And vacations are important for us too!

    Wish I lived closer to you. (Not that I know where you live LOL. I just assume you're not as far South as I am.) I'd love to watch Primo for awhile. :)

  2. I tend to agree with you though I did have one trip that I needed respite for because it was an emergency out of state and I didn't have time to get approval.

    One thing to consider though, I could imagine taking a vacation with older kids and not the youngers, or vice versa given certain situations, even if they were mine biologically. As an example, I had my sister watch all of my kids one night while I took her older kids out late to do lazer tag. By having her watch them it gave me a chance to do older activities with the older kids - usually they sacrifice their "cool time" hanging out with the little kids doing little kid activities. I could imagine doing something like that with them for a few nights even - taking them camping without the babies or on some other cool trip. If I had an infant and I were taking the preschoolers to Disney World, I'd consider leaving the infant with someone while we went on vacation so we didn't have to worry about the baby's schedule making the trip really difficult.

    The key to mie is who the children would be staying with and what they would be doing. I'm not one to use stranger respite unless I need to (I haven't yet) and that would change my outlook completely. Generally though I'm with you and want to take a family trip with ALL of our family.

  3. I left one with respite, once. I felt so bad, I will never do it again. Poor guy screamed for 2.5 days. He was 20 months old when he came in to care, and it was very traumatic for him - I believe that it has affected his personality. This was not a good candidate for stranger respite. The only good thing to come of it was that it was easy to convince his bio parents to let us take him with us the next time we left the state.

    On the other hand, kids who are more easy going and trust adults may not have a bad time of it.

    I think that they should have a babysitter pool (background checked, knows foster care rules) instead of respite.