Continuing 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 – birth, foster 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.
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.
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.