You won’t believe this though…I hardly believed it either. In fact I made multiple phone calls just to verify. Once the adoption took affect our 21 days of respite started all over for this year, which means that technically we have 21 DAYS to use up between now and December 31st?!?!?
It has been one of the BEST years of our life. It has also been one of the most stressful, tiring, emotionally exhausting years of our life too. Since we were considered foster parents prior to our adoption finalization we could take advantage of some respite days built into the calendar year. That meant that we had up to 21 days that we could have another licensed worker help watch our kids (we left our kids with the most qualified people to watch them!) and it enabled us to have a little R&R time. We took full advantage of this opportunity which gave us the ability to go on some mini trips.
Back in April, we were able to travel to Phoenix, AZ together for a conference for Sam’s work. It was my first time seeing the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River…it was beautiful!
This past summer we also got to spend some time in Mexico. Since my airline miles allowed me a free ticket to anywhere in the U.S. or Mexico it was a no brainer to plan a weekend anniversary trip to Mexico. We were able to spend a few days together in the warm sunshine, sipping Piña Coladas (my favorite!) then Sam stayed on the following week to speak at a conference and I returned to be with our wonderful children!
And then finally, this past Fall a family member blessed us with a free overnight hotel stay at the Marquette hotel in downtown Minneapolis (fancy!). We enjoyed sleeping in, a day outing to the Arboretum and watching a movie in an actual movie theater (Gasp, getting to do that once you have kids is definitely a rare treat!) Needless to say we have had some much needed quality time together as we dove into this year and all of its excitement.
Fast forward to now when we just finalized our adoption on Nov. 17th, 2012. As an adoptive parent, through the state of Minnesota, we continue to get 21 days of respite per year until our kids are 18. (Amazing! Much Needed! I heart Minnesota!) This time however, the care givers don’t have to be licensed for foster care so it gives us a little more freedom to have individuals come into our home (friends, family etc. that aren’t licensed for foster care) to watch the kids.
Now I would never even think of leaving my kids for 21 days. Ok, maybe I thought about it for 10 seconds, 15 seconds, ok 20 tops! But then reality set in, no way could I leave them longer than a few days, ok five days tops! But with the ability to leave them with high quality care givers who love them almost as much as we do then let’s just say my mind was spinning on how to best use this extra help. Because most of our traveling this past year was work related Sam still had a chunk of vacation time that he wasn’t anticipating he would be using. Those wheels are a turnin’!
We re-evaluated our calendar for the month of December and this planner, planned away. We now have some overnights away on the calendar as well as some times with people coming over to help out with the kids!
Rest, in the midst of our past year, is what has given me a better focus and much needed calm in the midst of some of the challenges we have faced (I might write more about those challenges some other time). Having mornings where we can sleep in (or at least attempt to), enjoy a “quiet” meal together, sit in a theatre like when we were in college, talk about all of the things that get missed in our normal life, re-evaluate our parenting and specific situations that are happening with each child, being able to take time to narrow down the things that I am passionate about and in turn create a blog, enjoy a “quiet” meal together, yep, I’m sayin’ that one twice!
Above all of those reasons, you want to know the thing that I appreciate the most? Every. single. time. coming home and walking in our front door with the man that I love, hand in hand, both of us never being more excited to see the five amazing kids that God has blessed us with and sleeping in our own warm bed all under one roof. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness every. single. time.
I have never had to be reminded, more this year than ever before, how important rest is. And I have never appreciated the value of it more than now!
What kinds of things do you do to rest? Do you have rhythms and routines that allow for rest & recreation?