Can You Stay Home with Your Foster Children?

Because of his explosive behavior, our son had gotten kicked out of his second daycare before Christmas 2010. He was only 3 years old!

I had ignored my rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and not taken time off work when he was first placed with our family in March 2008 or for his adoption the next year; but I wouldn’t again! So last spring, I took family leave to spend more time with my 4-year-old. My little boy needed his mommy!

I enrolled him in a couple of Mother’s Day Out programs, working part-time, giving me the ability to extend my 12-week leave throughout the spring until school was out when he could stay home with FosterDad (a teacher). I continued working to ensure our medical insurance would be paid.

Our son improved tremendously! No melt-downs or tantrums at MDO the entire spring or summer!!! (I wish I could say the same for at home)

Last fall, thinking a year at home had helped him, we were excited to enroll our son into highly-regarded daycare/preschool in our area. He had been on the wait list for two years!

At 4-years-old, he seemed ready. And he was — for only about 8 weeks; the stress of all-day care finally caught up with him. His explosions were worse! More out-of-control than ever!

We had to do something! We made the difficult decision to try psychotropic medications. His explosions continued.

We knew by experience that his time at this preschool was limited. FosterDad quickly found a place in the Pre-K class at the public school where he taught. My stomach was in knots. We were not solving the problem, just transferring the problem somewhere else. I knew in my heart it wasn’t the right thing to do. I needed to leave my job to stay home with my son.

Then, while at work on the morning of November 10, 2011, I was silently crying and praying when I received an email from one of God’s messengers.

A person from Human Resources had written to ask me if the time I had taken off the week before was FMLA. What?!

My fingers raced to place a call.

Didn’t I use up all my FMLA hours?

No?” I was still eligible for over 100 hours of FMLA that didn’t expire until the end of January!

I was overwhelmed by God’s hand on me that morning.

My Facebook post that day read: “When feeling down and confused, blessings from above can make you soar above the clouds! Thank you, Lord, for your unexpected blessings!

I never shared that with you since we were busy with Adoption Day preparations and trying to decide whether to add Lil Bit’s newborn sibling to our family.

I enrolled him in the half-day Pre-K at the local elementary school, and began picking him up for lunch every day.

JD was excited about going to “big school” where the neighborhood kids attend.

FosterDad began full-time family leave in February, and goes back to school today – for one month until school is out – then he retires June 1st!

Not that our son hasn’t had a couple meltdowns at the new school. (Fortunately, public schools can’t kick kids out for bad behavior) But he has adjusted and is doing much better.

Our son even won an award at school! Okay, full disclosure, it was a perfect attendance award, but we are proud of him, nonetheless.

I’ve reapplied for FMLA for the month of May – So today, I’m excited to begin my time off with my little boy! There’s nothing like Mommy and Me time!!!