Vacare is the latin root of the word vacation. It means ‘to be unoccupied.’ There are many things that occupy children: school, friends and family. Children in foster care, however, are often occupied with worry about their families. Maybe this is why they can benefit so much from a vacation and time to be unoccupied.
I’ll never forget one Sunday morning. Two teenage girls were hanging out by the coffee and donuts in our church. I introduced myself and learned they were foster sisters. I awkwardly tried to make conversation and keep things light. I started talking about our upcoming vacation to the Georgia Mountains, just a few hours away. Their eyes lit up as I talked about an old cabin. One girl spoke up. She went on to explain that they have never been on a vacation. Ever. These girls were about to graduate with no memories of long car rides with siblings, getting lost in a new place, laughing at silly mistakes or standing in awe of a new discovery.
In that instant I was tempted to try and squeeze two more people into my already full minivan. I desperately wanted to give them the quintessential family vacation, complete with all the quirks. Since that moment, I’ve always been very intentional to give the kids that come into our home a vacation.
A vacation doesn’t have to be a lavish trip to Disney. Whatever fits your family culture will do. If budget is an issue keep in mind you can have a vacation without breaking the bank. Just be creative! A “staycation” can be an exciting time as you explore new places in your hometown. So take a vacation. You deserve it. Think about taking your kids too. It might be the first vacation they experience.
What are some of your vacation memories? How have they shaped your worldview? What type of vacation might be most beneficial to the kids in your home? What time frame makes the most sense? A day or a weekend or a week?