I am anxiously waiting by my phone right now for a call from a Resource Family worker. I may be having a mother and her toddler staying at my place tonight!!
I had just gotten home a little after 10pm and plugged my cell phone in to charge. (It dies on a regular basis, so I am regularly without a way to be contacted. ARGH!) It had just turned on when I saw a text pop up. Mass texting is just one of the ways that this agency uses to find a Resource Family in urgent cases. Usually they try calling specific families first - but if it is taking too much time or if the need is especially emergent, they will use the mass text format. Here's what it said:
30 yo mom at police station
seeks temporary place for
her & her 2 yr old chld. All
Domestic Abuse shltrs are
full 2nite. Call Tim 555.1234
I admit that I hesitated at first. I know that I had been contemplating doing the "teen mom" thing - but how would I feel opening my home to another adult? And domestic violence is nothing to take lightly - I briefly considered the danger I may be putting myself in if this woman's husband found out where she was staying. I also thought about how tired I was, how late it was, and how my house isn't really unpacked yet. I almost didn't answer because I figured I couldn't find the spare bedroom sheets.
Then I mentally slapped myself across the face.
Yes, my house is messy and not particularly ready for a toddler.
Yes, it is very late and I have a day full of meetings tomorrow.
Yes, there is some risk for getting involved in these situations.
But isn't that exactly why I wanted to do it in the first place? Because I was frustrated and becoming jaded by all the people who looked the other way when families needed help? Because I was angry that children end up coming into foster care because their parents couldn't get support? Because I believe that it is better for children to stay with their families?
And here is a mother who is trying to do the right thing. She is trying to get herself and her child out of a terrible and dangerous situation. She has reached out for help.
And all the "services" that are supposed to help her? They have no room.
So, I picked up the phone and told them my home was open.
And now I wait. I wait for a call confirming that everything is set. I wait to see if this mother will make the next courageous step and sleep in a stranger's house to protect her child.