On The Road Again

Well. It’s about that time again. The school year has wound itself down. The residents are all making plans to go home. By the end of this evening, I will have one boy in my home that is not mine biologically. We do this every spring. We have now for the past eight years. This is the last time.
No more intake interviews. No more day of placements. No more residential care.

When I woke up this morning, I logged into Facebook to check my notifications. According to Facebook Memories, eight years ago today, we were loading boxes up into the U-Haul in Ashmore Illinois. Our adventure in house parenting was about to begin. We would make the trip from Ashmore to Carmi in a couple of hours. A group of staff and residents would be waiting for us at Baptist Children’s Home & Family Services when we arrived to help us settle into our new home.

A similar experience (only with a longer drive) would take place two years ago on April 16, when we made our trip to Brookneal, Virginia.

Moving days can be exciting and exhausting at the same time. In 30 more days, I’ll be picking up a U-Haul one more time. We will be making that 14 hour drive back across the eastern side of the country to Illinois. The difference in this trip… it’s our last one.

There will be no residential care staff to greet us at our new home. There will be no new residents to introduce ourselves to. There will be no more families to interact with as their children live in our home.

There will be only my children and my wife and these two dogs that live with us. Elisa says no more moving. My children need a home of their own to grow up in. Heck, Sydney is already halfway to being out of my home. She deserves the stability of a house that is only hers.

Our end-of-the-year awards ceremony is just a few hours away. We will celebrate with these boys and their parents. We will recognize their accomplishments for the year. And then, for the most part, we will say goodbye.

One of the sad parts of house parenting is the reality that most of these residents will not keep in touch with us. Most of them can’t wait to leave and go back home to be with their families. I don’t really blame them, I would not want to be here either. It’s not home. It’s not their family. However, they need this place for this time in their lives.

So, here’s the next month of my life. We will remain on campus for two weeks as an open cottage in the event that one of our kids has to come back from their home visit. That’s always a possibility if they have trouble behaviorally at home.

Then, I’m going to spend a couple of weeks volunteering at Hat Creek Camp while we continue to live on campus here.

On May 31, I will pick up our U-Haul, for the last time. We will spend a couple of days loading the U-Haul and cleaning the house. On July 2, we will be on the road.

We only intended to house parent for a couple of years. Now, nearly a decade later, we will move on to whatever is next in our lives.

Life is strange. Live it well.

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