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Empty Nester? You're the Perfect Match for Respite Foster Care

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Becoming an "empty nester" brings a wide range of emotions. In what feels like the blink of an eye, your home is now quiet. Your schedule lightened. Your grocery bill looks like a breath of fresh air. On the flip side, you may be struggling with how to find meaning and purpose in this new, unknown season.

Think about this...

You've got life and parenting experience.

You've probably got a bedroom, or two, or three, that aren't being used anymore.

You may have a little more time to spare.

You just might be the perfect candidate to provide respite foster care.

Respite foster parents are licensed to provide a safe, loving home environment for children in foster care. They keep children in foster care for a specific, defined period of time - typically a weekend, and lasting up to 1-2 weeks at the most. These children are already placed in a more long-term foster home, and sometimes their foster parents need an "extended babysitter" for lack of a better term.

Respite foster families give long-term foster families a break to attend to a variety of matters - weddings, funerals, reconnecting with their biological children, going on vacation, and more (see my blog post on this for a full list).

Providing respite foster care as an empty nester allows you to share your prior parenting experience, your empty home, and your time with children and families who need support. If you have less energy than you used to, you could space out the placements you say "yes" to so that you have plenty of time to rest and recharge in between.

Still want to travel? No problem. Your respite care dates will be scheduled ahead of time, and if you're out of town or unavailable, that's okay.

empty nesters

Ask yourself: Is there any reason that I cannot provide temporary safety for a child or sibling group in need and support their long-term foster family in the process?

Write down your answers. Think about whether your answers are based out of fact or fear. There are many legitimate reasons why being a foster parent may NOT be a good idea for you. You have to be honest about those things. However, there are a lot of reasons why being a foster parent may be a really good idea for you, too.

If you're interested in learning more, contact one of your local foster care agencies. They probably hold interest meetings periodically or would be willing to answer your specific questions about what it looks like to help the vulnerable in your community.

This is your sign to take a step. I guarantee you won't regret it!

Emily | Respite Foster Mom


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