A few months ago, I filled out some paperwork and nonchalantly asked Kent to sign it. It’s not like he didn’t know we were signing up to be support care foster parents, but I didn’t technically ask his permission either…
This past Thursday, I got a text from a random person asking it we could watch a 2 year old foster girl for the weekend. My first inclination was to respond with, “Yes!” but I do normally (sometimes) consult my husband before making big decisions. I texted him about it and asked his feelings on it. He was like, “Seriously?” I guess he figured that with him going to ride his mountain bike all day Saturday, with my parents and sister coming to stay at our house Saturday night, and with me giving a big presentation for several hours on Sunday, we couldn’t handle one little- extra- child. I told him it would all be fine and, once I assured him that he could still ditch us to go ride his bike for 9 hours, he was totally cool with it. He even offered to get up early on Saturday morning with the kids so I could sleep in.
When I told my kids after school that we were watching a baby this weekend, they were super excited and asked why she couldn’t just go ahead and come over right then to play. Of course, with a to-do list a mile long that I needed to complete before she got here, that made my head spin to even consider the possibility of her showing up one second before 5pm on Friday. But I was glad my kids were looking forward to her visit.
Friday evening around 7, little R showed up with her foster family. She was skeptical of us for about 3 seconds until my oldest took her hand and led her to the play room. From that point on, she was just as at home in our house as anywhere.
When it was bedtime, I took her into E’s room and tried to lay her down in the pack ‘n play- but R wasn’t having that at all. Like a champ, E (my clingy, youngest baby, only girl, momma’s girl) watched me bounce R in my arms as I walked in circles around the room and softly sang songs to her. When I sat down in E’s rocking chair with the baby, E didn’t fuss or whine like I expected- she just watched her momma be a momma to someone else. An added bonus to E’s outstanding behavior was that I got to rock a baby to sleep. Always a favorite of mine.
The next day, my kids led R around the backyard and played with her just like she belonged to us. By midday, she was calling me mom and, when my parents arrived later, she immediately started calling my dad, “Daddy.” She even insisted on giving him an extra kiss goodnight because she was so fond of him.
I have to confess that, with my big presentation, I didn’t get to have much interaction with her on Sunday. I’m so glad my parents were there to help my husband with all 4 kids. I did get to the be the one to pick R up from the church nursery that afternoon and she was happy to see me. She fell asleep as soon as we took off down the road and slept until her foster dad came to get her.
I realize that this has been a bland, but slightly sweet, story. I didn’t want to sugar- or sour- coat it. I just wanted you to know that we had a normal, busy weekend with one extra child. It didn’t interrupt our lives so horribly that we couldn’t cope with our regular activities. It didn’t tear our hearts out when she went home. But it was a blessing to us- I saw my children’s hearts grow as they sacrificed their parent’s time and attention to let us love on a child who has been neglected and abandoned by her own parents. And, I hope we get to do it again.
You can do it, too. It’s not a lifetime commitment. In Arkansas, a licensed support care family can care for a child for up to 72 hours. That’s only 3 days or less. It’s not a huge time commitment from you- and, trust me, full-time foster parents NEED a 72 hours or less break every now and then. It’s a huge blessing to them, and, as I already said, a huge blessing to the support care family.
Plus, you might get to rock a sweet baby to sleep, and who doesn’t love that.