Wednesday, June 5, 2013

revisiting

if i were to ask you, "what is respite?"  what would your answer be?
 
here's what merriam-webster says it is,
 
re·spite noun \ˈres-pət also ri-ˈspīt, British usually ˈres-ˌpīt\
Definition of RESPITE
1: a period of temporary delay
2: an interval of rest or relief
 
why am i bringing up respite, again
 
well, because there's been a rumbling in the adoption/foster care world over the past few weeks whether on my facebook news feed, blogs, or stories i hear from fellow adoptive parents.  and the rumbling is...there is a HUGE need for respite providers.
 
now i realize some of you may be thinking, "well, i need a break, too, from my own (biological) child/ren.  so what's the diff?"
 
good question.  let me fill you in, if i may. 
 
as a momma of two biological children, i understand the need to take a break, some time for you to breathe.  and when you get your break (i.e. movie, dinner, shopping, salon, etc.) you're ready to dive back in and, usually, you're kiddos are glad to see you and harmony is restored.
 
on the other hand, as a momma of four adopted kiddos, two of whom have some emotional/raging/defiant/trust/control issues, taking a break means almost squat to me and to them.  they, usually, could care less when i return home from a movie, shopping, or whatever.  and the behaviors tend to pick up right where they left off. 
 
BUT what does seem to be effective is respite.  and here's why...i, as their momma, get RELIEF for 24 hours or longer.  and they are continually reminded at respite of how much i (and the rest of our family) love them while they help with chores and do service work for the neighborhood where our respite provider is located. 
they are safe. 
they are fed (not their favorite foods.  no ice cream, popsicles, popcorn.  mostly whole foods and lots and lots of fruits and veggies). 
they are given matching shirts and shorts/pants to wear so no one will argue about clothing. 
they have their own bed, toothbrush, towel. 
they are given books to read and journals to write in. 
they are cared for and loved but not loved in a way where the provider wants to connect with my kiddos.  the provider wants to help them understand the importance of wanting to connect with me, their momma, and the rest of their family. 
and more times than not, when it's time to bring one or both of them home, they are happy to see me and i them.  and the behaviors are held at bay for a little while until something triggers one of them and off we go. 
but because of my REST and RELIEF, i can parent them in a loving way instead of flying off the handle.
 
so bottom line answer to "what's the diff?" is this...connecting.  while at respite my kiddos are learning about the importance of connecting with us, their family.  and i, with Jesus' help, am getting my heart back in a place where i want to connect with them. 
 
i've said it before and i will say it again, there is an automatic connection/bond between a momma and her biological baby/child.  it's innate.  there's a foundation from which you are parenting from. 
 
that's not so between a momma and her adopted/foster child.  that bond is not innate.  it has to begin to form the moment that child comes into your home.  and often times that child does not want to work on bonding because they're too busy figuring out how they can be in control because they don't trust you. 
 
this is one of the things i've learned over the past six and a half years of being a foster/adoptive momma...parenting an adopted child is two-fold...not only do i have to set boundaries, morals, values, but i also have to teach my adoptive child/ren how to bond with me and trust me.  the difficulty comes when my child/ren shows behaviors that make me want to run away from them instead of toward them.
 
that's why i'm so thankful we have a respite "card" to play when my kiddos behaviors have gotten WAY out of control and my momma's heart has become hard and disconnected from them.
 
can i ask you to do me a favor?  please?  if you're reading this and feel a nudge to learn more about respite care, will you leave a reply?  or if you're reading this and someone comes to mind that would be great at respite and teaching kiddos how to connect, will you leave a reply?
 
i know it's a huge step of faith to take but if Jesus is calling you, he will equip you.
 
respite is just another way of helping to care for the orphan...and in turn helping the families who are caring for the orphan.
 
"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." james 1:27 (nlt)

in His grace.

p.s.  next post...grief.  look for it, if ya want to.