I was blessed to spend a week with some amazing young people at the NACAC (North American council on Adoptable Children) this week. Including two of my beautiful daughters Precious and Hallie. Now I want to explain what it is like to be away from home for a week.
But first a disclaimer. With the stories I tell I would never want to scare anyone away from fostering or adopting. But my blog is about being real. About what it is really like in our crazy wonderful lives. I want families to remember this is the life we chose. We could have said we want children that are basic behaviors but those are the kids that everyone wants to adopt and foster. We chose to be a therapeutic foster home. We chose to take the challenging children, the severely traumatized, the older hard to place, hard to deal with. The ones that the system often tags as unadoptable. These are the children we love to parent and make our own. Not everyone life is like this who foster or adopts but there are many who choose this life right along beside us.
It is rare that I or my husband gets away from home. First I have to find respite for one of my most difficult (the choice of which to send changed several times during the week) We finally settled on one of our girls that is FASD. So now he is down to 11 children. We got this all set up with a wonderful retired foster Mom that has handled many such children over the years. (I recommend her highly if you have difficult children to find respite for). We get one of our grown daughters to come a spend the week to help out. I stay up the night before making sure the laundry is all completed anticipating the pile of laundry that will await me after a week. My husband drops me off at the airport. I have a very peaceful 3 hour plane trip and then a shuttle to catch, to the hotel.
I was on the shuttle all of 5 min when I get a call from home telling me there was a fight between three of my teen girls and the police were on the way. Then my dear husband follows this news up with "but don't worry I have this. Don't come home" (IT NEVER CROSSED MY MIND) Well by the time I had gotten to the hotel and checked in things had calmed enough that the police were no longer needed and he had loaded up my second difficult child ( again having to decide which one is number two at the moment) and settles on one of our teens with RAD and takes her to respite as well.
So now he is down to 10. One of these loses her tablet and phone for being in appropriate and calls me to ask when she will be able to get them back. She was very unhappy with my answer of when you turn 47. So he deals with three more days of outraged teen aged girl. One started to football practice so he had nightly practice he had to strap little ones into car seats and hall everyone to football practice.
I get home at 1:00 AM Sunday morning to a messy but intact home. 10 children that made me feel very missed and very loved. A husband that survived without killing anyone and without making into the news papers and he even did laundry. I am blessed to a family that supports me and makes it possible for me to attend classes to do work to help other families.
While there I heard many stories from young adults that aged our of foster care never finding a home and the challenges that they faced and still face today. I met parents that work non stop to make life better for these amazing resilient young people. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people.