When Ariel left our home for her potential forever home, we needed time to process the change in our family, and reflect on our journey. When a child leaves your home, even in the best of circumstances, it is a painful experience. However, as we slowly processed the change in our home and came to terms with our new “normal”, we quickly remembered the State of the System in Oregon, and the crisis that we are in. Some people process loss and grief by carrying on with life, by returning to work, maintaining routines, and pushing forward. In the few short weeks after Ariel moved from our home, it became apparent that this is how our family processes change, copes, and continues on in this crazy system.
After much thought, reflection, and conversation, coupled with the knowledge that in Oregon, children in the foster care system spend nights, weeks, or even months in hotels due to a lack of available foster care providers and beds, we decided to open our home to emergency placements. We agreed that with only one child, albeit a very challenging kiddo in the home, we did not want to sit by with a perfectly good empty room in our home, while children, through no fault of their own, spent nights with strangers (DHS employees) in hotel rooms.
This was not a decision we made on our own though, we knew that just like the decision to become foster parents, the decision to take new placements needed to be a decision that the entire family agreed was the right decision. When we broached the conversation with Trevor, about opening our home to “emergency” placements, to our surprise, he was fully on board. It was amazing to see his understanding of the struggle of other kids in foster care, and his desire to share his home and his family with them. We let him know that for every child DHS called us about, we would check with him first to make sure he was alright with them living with us.
And so, we began opening our home to “emergency” placements. We became emergency foster parents much the same way that we became foster parents. We had the resources, and there was a need.