When Respite Placements Become Family
When Tommy’s parents died within a month of each other, he needed an emergency placement in the form of a temporary home. What he found instead was a loving forever home with the Kidds. Tommy has been a part of Cheryl and Ray Kidds’ home for 13 years, entering sponsored residential care in July 2004.
Cheryl and Ray Kidd are a military family who found room in their hearts to expand their family after their son moved out. “We originally looked at foster care,” Cheryl said, “but our [then] caseworker Jim Hall got to know us and thought we’d be perfect sponsored residential providers. We didn’t even know that was a possibility.”
The Kidds hosted several individuals with developmental disabilities in their home but didn’t become permanent care providers until they met Tommy and he instantly became family.
Nine years after Tommy joined the Kidds family, Diane came into their home needing an emergency placement. “Diane was supposed to stay the weekend,” laughed Cheryl, “but she wanted to stay.” Everyone was so happy with how well Diane and Tommy got along that there was never any question about whether she should stay.
Tommy and Diane help the Kidds babysit for their granddaughter Kyndall, 5, quite a lot, as both her parents work and go to school. The pair share a special bond with Kyndall and although Tommy and Diane spend their mornings at day programs, they look forward to playing with Kyndall in the afternoon. Before Halloween, Kyndall got out a card table and set it up for Tommy and Diane to make Halloween decorations.
Diane and Tommy are different. Tommy is very outgoing and never meets a stranger, while Diane is much more reserved, but because of their shared interests they get along and lean on each other like siblings.
Cheryl is proud of how much Diane opened up after moving into her new home and of how independent Tommy has become over the years. Before coming to the Kidds’ home he had never worn jeans and was only given sweatpants to wear; he couldn’t shower and shave by himself and now he handles his own grooming.
The Kidds are constantly on the go. They attend yard sales all year long, love concerts, and are involved in Special Olympics. Tommy and Diane go grocery shopping with Cheryl every week. Despite their packed schedule they always make time for family and prioritize spending time with their musically inclined relatives. Bluegrass music is the norm at family cookouts, and Tommy and Diane love the time spent catching up with friends and extended family.
“I don’t know what it would be like not to have them—Tommy’s gone through the weddings and handled losses with us,” said Cheryl. “They have taught me as much as I’ve taught them.”
“The Kidds started Sponsored Residential back when there weren’t many expectations on providers anywhere,” said the Kidds’ current DePaul caseworker, Jim Strock. “They have weathered many changes with a good attitude and have achieved really great results. They are a big happy family and a success story of how beneficial Sponsored Residential placements can be for individuals.”
Individuals like Diane and Tommy flourish when they receive the hope and belonging found in a compassionate home with a loving family. Contact DePaul today at 888-233-7285 or complete the form below to learn how to help.
Related: Sponsored Residential FAQs