Relief Houseparents Support Children, Other Caregivers at Palmer Home
When the need arises for Palmer Home for Children to recruit new houseparents, existing houseparents are often the best recruitment resource. Houseparents feel passionate about their important roles in the lives of the children in their care and it is evident to those around them. Take Josh and Brittany House for example. The Houses served on staff at a local church in Desoto County when they met houseparents Mike and Terri Igleheart. Josh and Brittany visited the Iglehearts in their home on Palmer Home’s campus and loved everything about it.
Initially, when Josh and Brittany were approached about becoming houseparents they declined because the timing wasn’t right for their family. The Houses will testify that the Lord works in His perfect way and in His perfect timing. During the fall of 2017, they began to see Him open doors for them to answer the call to become houseparents, albeit a different kind of houseparents. Also during this time, Palmer Home for Children saw a need for relief houseparents – couples gifted with the ability to step into the role of temporary houseparents thus allowing full-time houseparents a week of rest and rejuvenation. The Houses fit the role beautifully and eagerly stepped into the special role of relief houseparents in November of 2017.
“We want to be here for the houseparents and help however we can,” says Brittany.
Josh and Brittany flourish in their role as relief houseparents by maintaining strong relationships with each of the houseparents in order to create a seamless transition into each relief week. They strive to uphold the rules and schedules set in place by the full-time houseparents. Josh and Brittany anticipated that the children might act distant or removed during their time together, but they were happily surprised to find that open conversation came about quickly and with ease. They credit some of the ease in their new role to their past experiences as student pastors.
“We have the same conversations we had as student pastors,” says Josh. “They genuinely know we care. Kids know if you’re just there for the job or to really take care of them.”
It is very evident that Josh and Brittany are there to take care of these special children as well as their houseparents. “You get to be with every child at Palmer Home,” says Brittany. She feels that the opportunity to care for each child and to offer support to the full-time houseparents are some of the greatest rewards to their unique role.
A few weeks ago the couple was asked to press pause on their relief caregiving work in order to care full-time for a new two-year-old at Palmer Home. Since all of the children currently on Palmer Home’s Hernando campus are school aged, adding a toddler to the mix is challenging. Josh and Brittany accepted the opportunity to care for the toddler alongside of their biological daughter. They moved into a cottage on campus and are embracing their new temporary role with grace and hope.
For other couples considering becoming houseparents, Josh gives solid advice: pray about it. “But eventually when God says yes, just jump in! Be involved in kids’ lives. True change happens in relationships.”