Today I have an extra child. One of the 'lil gentlman's friends walked home with him to spend the night. Having lived here less than a year, I am always happy when the children form new bonds. Additionally the child that is staying with us is good natured and I am not having any problems.
Yeah, that's all good right? Maybe not so much. His friend got a little homesick and started to cry. This is his first sleepover without his older brother. I was a little cranky at the time and decided we would all feel better if I went to Kentucky's best and rewarded us all with a bucked of lard.
While driving the boys to get the chicken, my son tells me that his friend wants to see his brother who is somewhere nearby. I then find out that his parents are out of town. WTF???? I ask the child " where are your parent's at?" His response was " the north west." Well, that covers about 5 states!
As of yet, we have had no phone call nor do we have any indication that his parent even know where he is at. After putting on the nice mom face and trying to make the child feel a little more welcome, it occurs to me what serious problems we could face if the unthinkable happened.
If this child were to get sick or hurt, we would have no authority to do anything for him. We do not know where his parent's are nor do we have their phone numbers. This child would have to be declared a ward of the state to get emergency medical treatment. My daughter knows his brother and knows who he is staying with but not necessarily how to get in touch with him either.
I do blame myself for not demanding more information. I did have a suspicion that we were being elected babysitters when the child called and asked to stay over. I wrote it off as paranoia and didn't say anything. I am now kicking myself. I really do not mind the child and want all my kid's friends to feel comfortable here, but this puts a mountain of liability onto us. Liability we did not agree to!
I am not quite so sure what to say to his parents when they come collect him today. They will come collect him as I WILL NOT allow this child to leave my care without knowing he is with who he belongs to.
Really, what would you do?