In the last blog post, we dove into the process of getting licensed as a resource parent. It’s a long process! There’s a lot of paperwork, meetings, and self-reflection involved. My instructors shared with me a thought that has stuck. If my child was going to be staying with another family, what would I want them to know? The answer: as much as possible. So I completely respect the amount of work that goes into being a resource parent. For me, each class, training, homework assignment, home visit, etc. brought me closer to the goal of being a resource parent. Then, all of a sudden, everything was done and I found myself doing one thing: waiting!
I can only speak for my experience, but that time period between ending TIPS-MAPP classes and getting the first call was challenging and tested my patience. I had the knowledge and the supplies and my home was ready. I felt myself checking my phone constantly, just waiting for “the call.” It was such a mixed feeling – I would never wish for a child to be in a situation in which they needed to be removed from their home, but I also found myself ready to help.
So how did I handle this feeling? Good talks with great people. Checking in with my support worker. Reminding myself of my mantra through this whole process – “What’s meant to be will be.” Then the moment I found peace in that, the call came.
With this blog, I want to find a balance of sharing my experiences in an honest way while also honoring confidentiality for the kiddos that come into my care and their birth families. I will keep all identifying information out of the blog and will change their names if I mention a specific child.
What was my first call? Respite! If you are unfamiliar with respite, it’s a fantastic option offered to resource families. When a child is in foster care placement, they have a certain number of respite days available in which another foster family takes the kiddos in for a short period of time. This can be utilized if a foster family has a vacation, appointments, or simply could benefit from a short break. This seemed like a fantastic opportunity for me to get a feel for being a resource parent without the long-term commitment (just yet). The best part was that the two boys who came into my home were fantastic. They’ve been back again for another weekend of respite since our first visit, and will forever hold a special place in my heart for being “first” to be welcomed into my home. I learned so much from that first experience, and have since done four different respite placements throughout July. Then, on Aug. 6, came the call for two children who needed a safe place to land after their removal that very day. Without a doubt, I said yes, and that’s where the next chapter begins.
By Anne Peters, LMFT