Basically respite in foster care and adoption is time spent away from your child to relax and recharge. Respite can be anything from a few hours to a few days. To say that parenting a child with a trauma background is distressing or trying may seem harsh, but it is accurate.
The concept of respite came as a surprise to me, but we have embraced it whole heartedly. When you first are presented with the concept of taking a break from your child it takes a while to warm up to the concept. "What kind of parent would I be if I need to take break from my child to survive? " The answer is perfectly normal.
The first time we met junior was for a respite visit. In theory he didn't know that we were thinking about adopting him, it was just another respite visit for him. He was used to it. After he moved in I did wonder if he thought when we sent him to respite if we were trying to find other parents for him. For the first few respite visits we chose to use his previous foster mom which provided some continuity and he knew she only fostered kids.
Finding respite providers for an overnight visit is challenging as prior to the adoption they need to be certified foster care providers. During the 10 months that we fostered junior we had four overnight respites. Since the adoption we haven't had one. We have had a number of date nights which are great, but a full 24 hours would be heavenly.