February 24, 2018

Respite Care for Adopted Children

Respite Care for Adopted ChildrenContinuing on the Adoption: Let’s Be Honest series, I wanted to talk about respite care for adopted children. This is a hard subject for some mostly because it feels like defeat when we need to ask for a break. But we do sometimes need a break if we have children that are struggling with attachment disorder issues.

Sadly, we are on 24-7 with these kiddos and our effectiveness loses its steam after a while. It is vital to not let our parenting deteriorate to the point of no return. Knowing when to ask for help, whether in our house or theirs, actually can improve our ability to help these lovely ones heal.

There are 2 kinds of respite care – short term and long term. Here is a great article describing just what respite care means.

Respite care is the short-term care of a very dependent or difficult child which enables the parents – birthfoster or adoptive – to take a break. Some children’s needs require round-the-clock intensive care and parents can soon become burned out. Respite fostering is often very rewarding, and a close relationship can grow up between families over the years.

It has been known for respite carers to eventually be asked by afamily to adopt their child. Some respite carers will have had special training to care for the needs of very handicapped or challenging children. This kind of foster care can be very suitable for people who need to know that aplacement will be very short (but repeated at more or less regular intervals), because respite care will almost never be longer than a couple of weeks, and is very often measured in hours or days. Respite care is often a critical component of family preservation efforts. Read the rest of the story – click here.
That is no exaggeration about family preservation, especially if there are other kids in the house. We found that so much time was spent focusing on the child with Reactive Attachment disorder that none of the other kids were getting any attention. And not only that, some bad situations got worse because they were being overlooked by us that escalated into major problems.
The North American Council was recently asked about respite care and where to find it. Here is there precise response:

Sharon McCartney, in “Outside the Box: Where to Look for Respite Resources” writes, “The issues of grief, control, loss, and attachment that can lead to the behavioral and developmental problems particular to adopted children are well-known. Caring for a child with these problems can be both emotionally and physically taxing. Add to this the fact that many adopted children are also identified as children with special needs, and the demands of their care become even greater. Respite resources can ease the stresses of caring for an adopted and/or special needs child and many programs are available outside those developed by state child welfare systems.”

Some of the best sources to find respite care are your local parent support groups, your local foster are or adotion agencies, or the state or community foster adoptive parent association. You can also contact theARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center at 800-473-1727.

For information about financial support for respite care for children adopted from foster care, visit the NACAC state subsidy profiles. You can find answers to more questions on adoption here.

I will have another article discussing long term respite, which comes in many different sizes and shapes. But for now, here is a video that is  chilling. Listen to the child who is asked calmly to sit in her room to calm herself. (Substitute the word foster parent for adopted parent).

For some of us, this describes a whole day in our lives. Let me tell you, finding trained respite care is next to impossible. We have tried to set up a network, but mostly with other parents with RAD kids who DO NOT want to take on one more! Asking someone to go to training to take care of your child who is out of control and you need a break, well, sends most people running for the hills!

Finally, this is more than just a defiant child. It is a child who has been wounded and a parent that needs all their faculties to assist them on the hilly, winding road (to quote One Thankful Mom) to healing. Maybe now you can understand the need for respite care for adopted children.


About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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  1. exhausted mum says:

    Hi my 16 year old teen was adopted at the age of 6 from a orphanage where he had been since birth. He has been very hard to attach with since adopting. In the xmas holidays he stole $5000 from me and his brother by accessing my pin in phone banking. He had also been spending as much time away from the family as he could in the previous year. Following the stealing this year (he has stolen before) he spoke 5? words a day to me for over a month so I asked the church for respite care. He is having a great time, chatting and fitting in with their family and now does not know when or if he ever wants to come home. My son has not contacted me except once to ask for money for a month. The respite carer has made contacting my son difficult . I suggested the respite carer read about adoption issues so he could see where I was coming from and I also asked to take my son to be assessed for rad. He responded so rudely that I had to hang up. The counselor my son was seeing (as part of his police contract) worked only with my son and when I contacted her to talk she said that my son had maybe needed better role models, he needed to feel wanted and I was wrong to be upset about paying for him to live away from home when I never saw him. I was insulted by her comments.
    I could handle this better if I hadn’t had a very stressful few years, my husband has died, my family lives elsewhere, I am unemployed (teachers can’t get jobs because of our city’s earthquakes) , have had challenges with my other children and I’ve had health issues. I’ve always bent over backwards and done a great job easing the way for all my children thru the tough times and my adopted son’s had lots of support, friends and fun.
    I am thinking of undoing the adoption as I con’t sleep and I don’t know if I am able to cope with him playing games with me for the rest of my life.

    • Oh Exhausted Mom – My heart breaks for you. You have worked so hard for the last 10 years. Let me ask you this, if you didn’t unadopt him, would you have to pay for him to stay in respite? Because it sounds like a good place for both him and you. As for the counselor, if she hasn’t even met you, her advice isn’t worth spit! Triangulation is a something RADs do so well and if a counselor isn’t educated in RAD, they would be easily duped.
      Letting go, whether through him staying in respite or unadopting him, is something only you can decide. As best as you can, take out the guilt, also others opinions (unless they know the WHOLE story), and look at what is best for your family and you, finally! You are an awesome mom! Julie
      Julie recently posted..You Are So Smart – What Not to Say to Your Kids!My Profile

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