Thursday, March 7, 2013

Respite

I know I've spoken of disruption and rehoming in the past.  I have not much talked about respite but feel it needs to be discussed.  It's been coming up more and more with people I speak with.  Respite for those that don't know is a break of sorts for families.  Respite is different for each situation.  Some do respite for a reprieve from children w/ behavioral issues.  Some do respite to see if their family may function better in a rehoming situation.   There are many reasons to do respite.  Many do it to simply regroup within their family unit to see how to proceed from there.  So, a variety of reasons.

Respite is not an off the cuff decision.  Most of the time, the family thinks at the very least for months about this.  It's a very difficult thing to even consider...separating the family.  Whether for a short amount of time or for possibly a permanent situation.

And when it comes to rehoming, everyone's a critic.  Some say it should never be done.  Some say the family should have tried harder.  Some say I can do it better.  Some say more therapy instead.  Whatever the reason, frankly, it's no one else's business but the families involved in the rehoming situation.  It is a very delicate matter and should be handled as such.  No one ever comes home w/ a child and says "oh yes, I want to rehome them."  They fought in many cases months if not years to bring that child home, love them and care for them.  Sadly, sometimes love is just not enough for certain children.  No matter how much love you give them.  It is crushing for the family that must rehome their child.  The last thing they need to hear is criticism from others.  Unless you walk in their shoes, with their child, you can not judge them.  You can not voice what would have worked better b/c honestly, you just don't know  what the family went through.  What battles they had day in and day out w/ their child.  What techniques they used.  How they coped.  How they cried.  How they grieved.  So many things.  It will break your heart.

Once respite takes place, the families many times have to decide if a break was enough or if a permanent rehoming placement is needed.  This is where families providing respite have to be aware.  Aware that things can change in an instant and the child could go back with the family.   The respite family has to walk a fine line treating the child like their own and trying to help while also knowing the other family has to make a big decision and may have requirements for them to do as well.  Both families have to be willing to do respite.  Both families have to discuss the situation openly, honestly and without hesitation if something were to go wrong.  Let's face it, most of the placements for respite are due to behavioral/ emotional issues.  That is a lot for any family to take on no matter what their experience.  That's why it is vital both families in a respite situation cooperate and not be afraid to say what they think.  It helps.  

There are some groups out there for respite/rehoming.  There is a yahoo group if some want to look it up.  Again, respite will look different for everyone.  Respite, if done properly, can be beneficial to both families involved.  I think the key is honesty & really taking to heart the true needs of the other family.  Listen to them of what the child is doing and why they think that is the case.  Respite is not for everyone.  If you are going to be providing respite, you need to make sure your whole family is on board.  Some children may have a very hard time transitioning into a new routine, new family, etc.   Some may not.  But, either way, your children must be prepared for what is possible.  Hope all that made sense.  I just thought it was high time to mention respite since I know quite a few families consider it and some that are going through it. 

Oh, one other thing.  If it is via an international adoption, do check w/ your agencies and make sure all rules are being followed.  I do know in some countries you need to notify them if you are doing respite.  Just remember families are formed in different ways.   And do remember, MANY of these PI kids come w/ very deep emotional issues.  I still feel the harder issues are the ones you can not see.  Those seem to be the hardest to heal.  I am only speaking from my own experience here w/ my own children.  When we first adopted years ago, no one even knew what RAD was.  Some knew FAS but not many.  Now, you hear a lot but you still don't see that many talking openly about the struggles that come with it.  Please, if you know if a family struggling or hurting, reach out to them.  It does help.  And that is all I have to say about all that. 


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