I must confess, I was quite nervous about providing respite care this weekend. There is just no way to know what to expect out of foster children being placed in a temporary, new environment.
Big Brother and Little Sister hopped right out of the truck and uncertainly stood at my front door. Big Brother has autism; once the door was open, he let himself in and began to explore his new world for the next 24 hours. Little Sister wasn’t quite as brave, but she and Owen really hit it off and before too long, they were running around the house squealing with joy.
I was relieved.
I was told neither of them could swim without life jackets, so I decided to take them to the Y after lunch since they have several kiddie pool options. Little Sister and I went to Target in search of a little bathing suit on clearance; we found the perfect suit. Pink and red and white with little sparkley polka dots; she loved it.
The pool was a success but we had to leave after just over an hour because a storm was rolling in and it began to thunder. Dinner was corn dogs, tater tots, and applesauce; everyone ate well. My in-laws picked Owen up around 7:45pm and headed over to the church to get Joshua and Jesse before going home. Once Owen was gone, the kids sat beside me on the couch and we read four books. When we finished our stories, they brushed their teeth and got into their beds. As I tucked little sister into her bed, she looked up at me with a big smile on her face and said, “I’m not scared. This isn’t a scary room, it’s pretty.” My heart ached and my mind wandered as I remembered what their foster father told me of why they were removed from their biological mother’s care.
They were found living in squalor, left alone in a nasty rent-by-the week motel in the worst part of town. I can only imagine what they’ve seen, heard, smelled, and experienced.
By the grace of God, they are delightful, happy children.
By the end of the night, I was already Mommy.