A Play-by-Play of our Respite Turned Emergency Placement
3:30- listened to voicemail from licensing worker asking for weekend respite care. We call her back, ask lots of questions, and tell her we'll call back in a minute. Amos and I discuss briefly and call back. We tell our worker that we need to be sure our road is passable after the snow/rain and that we'll call her in 10 minutes. On the way home, we talk to the kids about the new weekend plans, ask for feedback and give them time for questions.
4:00- We get home safely and call to say we're on our way. I leave instructions for J to pick up/baby proof while we are gone. Amos and I (along with Noah) pick up a few things from the van and head to Children's Division.
4:30- We arrive at Children's Division and meet the boys and their family members. Noah stays with our worker while we visit with the adults about the situation that led to the need for respite. We agree to keep the boys until after a Monday team meeting. Workers tell us that, depending on the outcome of the meeting, the boys may need long term care.
4:45- We leave CD, run by Wal-Mart to get snacks and a crib mattress and bedding. We grab chicken and head home.
The rest of the evening is consumed with getting the boys settled, dinner, assembling crib, and bedtime routines. The boys' family calls to say goodnight.
SATURDAY is spent at home. The kids entertain each other for most of the day. I spend my day monitoring, cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. The family calls to check in. After the younger kids are asleep, we have a long chat with Juliet about the possibility of long term care. Big Brother wakes up missing family. We call to let him chat and arrange a park meeting for the next day.
SUNDAY morning we go to church, get donuts, and spend an hour at the park with the family. We learn a lot about the boys, their parents, the case, and the family. We head home to make dinner. Then it is time for school prep and bedtime. The family calls to say goodnight. I wash the boys' clothing, pack their things, and organize the house for the morning.
MONDAY I wake up at 5:15 and get ready for the day. The kids get ready, and I take them to their schools. Little brother and I hang out at home for most of the day waiting to hear when the team meeting will be. Our worker leaves a message indicating that she's like to switch us from respite to emergency care status. I spend a lot of time coming to terms with the idea of long term care. Around 1:00 we get word that the meeting will be at 3. I call to see if my mom will get my kids from school, finish gathering the boys' belongings and head toward CD. The meeting is inconclusive, and the team asks us to keep the boys for another night. We agree to be the boys' long term care providers should the need arise and are told we will know something tomorrow. After the meeting, we gather all five kids and head home for dinner, playtime, and bedtime. Big Brother talks to family to say goodnight. I wash the boys' clothes and organize their belongings for the next morning.
TUESDAY morning we repeat Monday's school preparations. Little brother and I get groceries. I take him with me to volunteer in Miriam's classroom and then to a play date/lunch date. We go home for nap time, still waiting to hear what is decided about their care. I pick up our bio kids from school and head home. At 4:00, we get a call explaining that there was some miscommunication and asking if we are willing to keep the boys for one more night. Amos goes to pick up Big Brother. We let him choose dinner and play video games until it is time to get ready for bed. The family calls to say goodnight. After the kids are in bed, I do laundry and organize the kids' belongings.
WEDNESDAY morning we repeat our morning school routine. I do my best to get the house ready for our quarterly licensing inspection while entertaining Little Brother. At 11:15 our licensing worker arrives, checks our home and discusses the case, prepares us for long term care and answers a slew of questions. We share what we've seen and learned about the boys and their family members. Little Bother and I run J to an appointment, then back to school. Then he and I visit my parents' house and gather some larger toddler toys from storage to take home. At 4:00, as I am getting kids and toys loaded into the van, the kids' worker calls to say the kids are ready to come back to the family. I leave Noah and Miriam at Mom's and pick up Amos and J. I feed Little Brother in the van on the way, and we are at Children's Division by 4:45. The worker and the family meet us in the parking lot. We switch carseats, say a quick goodbye and are on our way home by 4:55.