As you probably know if you've read our blog before, the refugee foster parent process has been challenging. It's been filled with uncertainty, frustration, and a whole lot of waiting. While we've been waiting these past few weeks, we've had the opportunity to offer respite care for 3 youth in the refugee foster care program. During so, I had the ecstatic feeling that I haven't had in a long time: the moment when everything feels right and you know you're in the right place with the right people. It's pure joy wrapped up into one little household.
While the three youth stayed in our home, I have never been so utterly exhausted (who planned school drop off at 7am anyways???). I was perpetually sick during those weeks, most likely from my lack of sleep, but also perpetually happy. I smiled every time we had a family dinner together and shared our day's highlights - David & I practicing in Spanish and our respite care youth practicing in English. My heart melted when I found the boys snuggling with our dogs on the couch (even if it was during a kung fu movie).
We had our fair share of cross cultural misunderstandings and also shared a ton of laughs. Some of the memorable moments from respite care were when one youth described David's slow roasted pork as tasting exactly like iguana, another youth's determination to take a close up picture of a squirrel (he used to eat them in his home country- we talked about not doing so in the US), and learning a Congolese card game that David and I lost over and over. We had an easter egg hunt (a very strange concept to explain), watched live glass blowing at a local museum, and went on family walks through a nearby university. After these three weeks of respite care, I can wholeheartedly say that our decision to become refugee foster parents, despite the uncertainty, is worth it. The feelings of contentment and joy the respite care youth have brought to our home will hold us over until our permanent youth arrives soon.