We did respite care for 4 kids for the week and it was a blast! We played, inside and out, swam in the pool, watched movies - with popcorn, and just had a blast. 2 of the kids I would adopt in a heartbeat, the other 2, probably not :o) It's amazing how you can tell so much about a kids past home life by spending time with them. And it's also amazing how different they all can be.
Hubby and I love big families and would love to adopt again some day. Having a houseful of kids only makes us love it more. We're homebodies and enjoy just being with our kids and having fun. More kids just means more fun :o) Our kids also love having visitors. They were sad to see the kids leave today and asked their foster parents when they could come back, lol. They're a little too young to understand the whole foster care process. Our foster care experience is just with our boys and they came and stayed, so our kids think all foster kids will stay with their foster parents and can just come and visit anytime they want to. I really think these 4 probably will end up with their foster families, but that's not up to me.
Tomorrow we will be having our annual foster care license renewal visit. We had to get a new fire extinguisher(refill/retag or replace each year), replace our hard wired smoke detectors(every 10 years), have our well water tested(each year), get background checks for us and my parents since they live on the property(each year), provide proof of current pet vaccinations(each year) fill out a bunch more paperwork, and complete lots of continuing ed. It's amazing how much education we have to get to do foster care. We're thinking about doing theraputic foster care (kids that have more needs), so then we'll have even more continuing education to take each year. It's ok though because we are the kind of people who love to learn. I think there are lots of birth parents that could use some of this education :O) I'm always amazed at how many parents don't know the first thing about healthy pregnancies and raising heathy kids. The stories that some of these foster kids have are so unreal that it's amazing they are still alive.
Someday soon when we get on our feet better, we'll have to look into getting another 12 or 15 passenger van. We really learned this week that with the new booster seat law, it's hard to get them all in our vehicles. Normally our own kids all have 5 point harness seats that go up to 65 lbs. But when we have foster kids we'll put P, J, and any other younger kids into the car seats and then have our older 2, and the older foster kids just use the seat belts. Now we have to have any of the kids from 4-8, or under 4' 9", into booster seats. Even with our Suburban, it's a tight fit with 6 kids. I actually don't know that a 12 passenger would even work. They have 4 belts across in the back and that makes it impossible to put any 2 seats next to each other, so only 6 kids would fit on the 3 seats. With a 15 we could fit another 2 kids. Maybe we'll find a good deal on one when/if we need it. We are licensed for up to 4 foster kids but so far we haven't had a placement yet, just done respite for other foster parents. Generally they try to keep foster kids in the same county that their parents live in so that they can stay in their same schools and be close enough for visits. Our county isn't that busy of a county so we, and other foster homes, sit empty. That's fine though if it means there are fewer kids out there being placed in foster care, because that means there are fewer kids being abused.