Okay, so I have absolutely no idea whether or not they actually do call me that, but over the past few weeks, it has become rather apparent that I am, indeed, the one and only "currently without placement" foster parent at my agency who is willing to do weekend respite. Hardly a day goes by without someone calling me asking if I can do respite for... In fact, so many of them overlap that I pretty much have my pick!
Respite Three" the weekend of the 29th. I had to say "no" though because I'm going to have Booger Bear all weekend while Heaven and Kelly get moved into their new apartment.
The next day, I got a call asking if I could do respite the next Saturday for a 3-year-old and 5-year-old while their foster parents were in a training class. (My agency is literally 5 minutes from my house, so it's really convenient!) I said "Yes."
Two days later I got a panicked call begging me to do respite from Wednesday through Monday for a 1-year-old little boy while his foster mom went on a birthday cruise. Her regular respite person backed out last minute, and I was their only hope. Fortunately, his daycare was nearby, so I wouldn't have to miss work. The only problem was that I was also going to have the girls that Saturday. They ended up not needing me for the girls though, so I said "yes" to the boy.
The Monday before the 1-year-old was supposed to come, I still hadn't heard from his foster mom. She ended up calling the agency in a panic because she went to pick him up from daycare to find out that the provider was going to be closed for the next two weeks (home daycare). The agency called me to tell me that they just had another foster family whose placement went home so they would keep him because she knew I couldn't take off work.
In that same conversation she added, "but while I have you on the phone..." The 3 and 5-year-olds do need respite for the whole weekend after all. And I also have an 8-month-old boy and 12-month-old girl from the same foster home who need respite during the training class only on Saturday. "If you're willing, take your pick!"
So, last Saturday I got love on a couple of seriously lovable babies! "Smiles" (the 8-month-old boy) smiled at me the second he came through the door and didn't stop. "Lovey" (the 12-month-old girl) was all about blowing kisses. It took her 30 minutes to finally fall asleep for her nap because she was too busy blowing kisses at herself in the mirrored closet doors in her bedroom. They were so good! And it wasn't nearly as crazy as I thought it would be taking care of two that close in age, but at different developmental levels. (Although I'm sure I would be rethinking that statement if I'd had them longer than 6 hours. ;-)
The day before the babies were set to come, I got another call from the agency asking me if I could do respite for a 6-month-old baby girl the weekend that I have Booger. She thought I might say yes because I've been dying to get my hands on a baby girl, but I have big plans for Booger's birthday weekend, so I had to say "no."
I have to admit, I love that the kids had so much fun over here and that they're so excited to come back. They were really good kids, and I had a blast with them. It's kind of fun being "Respite Lady." I get to spoil the kids rotten, do lots of fun activities, and not have to deal with all of the foster care craziness that comes with having a permanent placement. I might just keep doing this for a while. (Oh, who am I kidding? We all know I'd take a placement in a heartbeat IF THEY'D EVER CALL ME FOR ONE!!!)