I am currently experiencing my third respite foster care experience. The second set of children I respited back in August after returning home from Mexico. While I enjoyed the experience immensely, T thought otherwise. He still appears traumatized by the 7 year old female that repeatedly screamed his name incorrectly and attempted to wake him up earlier than he had hoped.
Needless to say, our current respite of a 10 year old female (D) had the cards stacked against her, in T's book. There is nothing she could say or do that would make T welcome her. Then again, T will be 15 next month and really I don't think any girl rates in his world at this moment (which, I am still perfectly fine with!). I feel bad for our foster child as she knows that T doesn't talk to her and even today she said that he doesn't even know her name, which he confirmed he did!
The current foster home requested respite initially from Sunday - Wednesday, but D came early Saturday morning. As D attends school in the nearby town, keeping her during the school week hasn't been a problem and I've only had to adjust my work schedule less than 1.5 hours a day. The current foster family had a change of plans and is having a "stay-cation" and enjoying being foster childless.
I actually like D. Respite foster care is tough though, trying to maintain another foster parent's schedule. D begins her bedtime routine at 7:00p.m. and is in bed at 8:30p.m. This schedule is maintained on the weekend. While I have done extremely well in keeping to the schedule, it isn't that conducive to T and I's normal routine. But for four days, we can manage.
D even adjusted well when her father canceled his unsupervised visit, the first one EVER he has canceled due to being "sick". I called him to inquire if he wanted to talk to his daughter on the phone. His response, "NO". He further and clearly went on to say, "It is difficult to even talk". I asked if he would want to reschedule the visit if he was feeling better and he said, "NO. Next Monday will be fine." He then said, "Tell her I said to do her homework." And we hung up. Seriously? D inquired twice about not seeing her dad. She was excited she wouldn't be seeing him tomorrow as a make up visit. She wasn't bothered. But I was.
How is it, that even given the opportunity by a foster parent to talk to your daughter, a parent would refuse? I know this answer. I have worked in child welfare and foster care for 14.5 years. I do understand. But...this is the first time, that as a foster parent being sincere and attempting to work with a birth parent (not as a caseworker) that I have been so completely disappointed.
What did D do to deserve this? How hard is it to take a moment to tell someone you care about them, miss them and/or love them? Especially a child. Is it too much to ask?
I guess I attempt to live my life in the best way that I know how. To tell those near and dear that I love them. To live with no regrets. I am not perfect by any means, but when given the opportunity, I try my best and take advantage of every opportunity.