We called it a sleepover. I felt uncomfortable when I overheard one of my sons tell someone that we were providing respite care when Little Boy C (LBC) was within earshot. To our new little guy, it must have sounded so technical. I insisted that he was with us for a sleepover, like any other typical child would have if their parents wanted some extended quality time away together sans kids.
Indeed, it became a 3-day, 2-night-long playdate sleepover. Little Boy C immediately made himself at home and befriended my three boys. He doesn’t know the definition of “shy” nor the idea of “warming up” to new situations or new people. He was game for anything the boys wanted to do. However, he did not show any interest towards our cute Baby S.
20 minutes before our guest arrived, I sat down in prayer, committing the next few days to God, asking that He would take care of our new addition and that Jesus would be lived out in each of our family members with compassion. He arrived around 11:45 with his foster mom. She texted me that she was here so I opened the front door to see my pretty, blonde friend walking up to the house, holding the hand of a handsome, dark, curly haired boy.
After a brief 10 minutes of introductions and explaining the medications that potentially could be needed, she hugged him, told him she loved him and left. I scooped up our baby girl and asked LBC to come to the car with me so we could pick up my three boys from Chinese School. During the car ride, I learned all about his favorite foods: all carbs and three different fruits, with ramen noodles being his favorite food of all time.
Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth!
Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains!
For the Lord has comforted His people
And will have compassion on His afflicted.
We went to McDonald’s for lunch to be sure that he would enjoy his first meal with us. LBC volunteered to pray before we ate. When they were full, I let the four boys play on the playground for a little bit to bond with him while Baby S napped in my Ergo. After lunch, we visited the library, where the boys insisted that LBC sign up for the Summer Reading Program so he could receive prizes. In the car, he had told me he did not like to read, but now he was inspired to receive a prize. He had just turned six-years-old a couple of weeks ago so he couldn’t read very well. My boys happily offered to read to him at the library and at home. He repeatedly asked when we would have the S’mores.
They played at home while I made a feast for dinner, trying to make sure that LBC would eat at least one thing to fill his little tummy. I wasn’t finished cooking yet when my husband returned home, dropped two of the boys at basketball practice and took the two remaining ones to informally practice some soccer. LBC had SUCH a fun time.
Ages 6-7 are my favorite ages since most of them have a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed excitement of life about them. I brought Baby S to the basketball court, switched cars with my hubby, and headed to my Zumba class while the rest of the family went home to eat dinner, have an evening devotional, and have their bedtime. Hubby found out that LBC does NOT like veggies.
Instrument practice first thing in the morning. LBC requested pancakes for breakfast so I found some chocolate chip pancake mix in the pantry. Dropped off my three at Chinese School in the morning, then headed straight to the library to redeem the Read-to-me list of 15 completed book titles for a prize. On the way to the library, he talked on the phone with his foster mama, saying he wanted to stay with us because he was having so much fun.
At the library, LBC chose a little red Clifford dog as his reading prize, about the size of a Ty stuffed animal. Checked out some more books, allowed him to play a tiny bit on the library computer (but it got cut short because I had to change a poopy diaper on Baby S), and went home to eat an early lunch. Picked up the boys from Chinese School at noon, stopped at Target to get some birthday presents, including a belated birthday present for LBC. He picked out a glow-in-the-dark fidget spinner.
I marveled at his ability to transition so quickly with all of our outings during his visit with us. He came along for the ride, ready for each little adventure our family had. He also had impeccable table manners, asking to be excused before he got up after every meal.
Home for more lunch, devotional reading from 1 Samuel explaining how God redeems even our bad choices, then swimming. I microwaved the long-awaited S’mores for 10 seconds each after swimming, a gift from LBC’s foster mom. Leftovers for dinner, devotion with Baba, phone call with birth mom, bedtime.
Breakfast on the go, dropped off boys at Chinese School, back home for social worker visits. LBC happily and quickly ate his pancake breakfast while we started our meeting. He quietly and patiently sat on the couch reading, coloring, then walked around the house pointing out all the spiders he saw during my meeting. I was obligated to suck up all the spiders with the vacuum before picking up the boys.
Lunch at home (I made LBC eat 3 pieces of steamed broccoli with his personal pepperoni pizza), and the boys were off to make a fort in the bunk bed. The honeymoon started to wane just a little as they started blaming each other for various things, but it wasn’t too horrible. Here are two of the creations the boys made:
It was heart-wrenching hearing this precious little boy wanting to tell his birth mom about all the activities he was experiencing and all the fun he was having. He doesn’t know how long he will be away from her and he misses her so much. Thankfully, he does get to talk with her on the phone each night and keeps a picture of his mom and himself near his bed. Father, please help them reunify sooner than later.
4:00 came too soon when I brought him with me to the birth parent visit for Baby S. Before we left the house, LBC told the boys he had a surprise for them. It was a picture he drew and colored of a butterfly and a flower. Be still, my heart! He shared with me that his favorites over the past few days were S’mores, swimming, soccer, playing the piano and playing with the boys. My sweet friend met me at the mall’s parking lot to pick him up and go home. Whew! What a whirlwind 3 days. We are so happy the Lord allowed Little Boy C to feel at home with us and loved. I told LBC he could come over for a sleepover anytime.
If you are not feeling called to long-term foster care, might you consider providing respite for a couple of days? You are also needed!