A.F. asks from Wylie, TX on September 03, 2007
Advice on Fostering My Cousins Child
I'll start by saying this is confusing but I need some advice and I'll try to explain it the best I can.
My Aunt was left to raise her grandchild seven year ago (I'll call her Steph). Steph's parents died when she was 13. Her father and mother had both been in and out of her life for many different reasons and so she was shuffled from here and there. Steph had never finished high school and ended up getting pregnant when she was 17. She had all great intentions of being a better parent then her mom.
About a year ago I had recieved a call that Steph had her daughter removed from the house and wondering if we were able to take care of her. At that time we were not able to because we have lived in a two bedroom apartment and my husband and I had just moved to Texas and were just trying to get settled.
So now two months ago I got a call that Steph still didn't have her daughter back and that she was not making any process of getting her back and asked if we would contact the state and see if we could foster her. My husband and I prayed about this and wanted to make sure that this would be a good thing for the family. So on my last trip home to PA I met with Steph and she agreed about all this vary easily and the baby's daddy said no problem. They didn't really seem to care. It was almost like out of site out of mind. They had her young and now there 21 and they want to play.
So now we are in the process of gaining custody of this child. We were told that it is a very long process due to the fact that we live out of state. The social worker on the case has already made it clear that the family that the child lives with is wanting to adopt her. I know they have a lot of cases but she really was caught off gaurd and she is seeiming to favor the family that the child is living with now. The case worker seemed to have no hope that the child is going back with Steph.
So I guess my question is do I persue this. I cant imagine being Steph and when they take her rights away she will never see her again. I feel like I'm being a little selfish about wanting to keep her in the family and take her away from the family that she's been with but at the same point she's our family and we are willing to take her.
Any advice or questions that I should ask myself would be great. Or someone who has gone through something simular I would love to here anything.
Thanks and I'm sorry for the long and confusing situation.
P.P. answers from Dallas on September 04, 2007
I know this is breaking your heart but I have to agree with Glenda, bringing her into your household will expose her to her biological parents to try to "be there for her" whenever is convenient for them causing her heartbreaks and dissapointment.
I know you want her to have a loving family but the fact is she already living with loving parents to the point they want to adopt her. Please think carefully if you're willing to remove her from the only stable loving home she has met?
L.D. answers from Dallas on September 05, 2007
I would let the child be addopted. There is a christian adoption agency, not sure of the name and the child goes to a christian family, that would be my only concern. I heard the phrase a mother used and she said she hand picked her daughter, wow that hit me hard, because its so true when you addopt a child and its really cool. I had a friend that was 17 and had a baby, she did the right thing in my eyes and put the baby up for adoption, had an open adoption and made a scrapbook for the baby. Of all the familys history and about the mother. I thought that was really neat. Hope this helps :)
A.K. answers from Dallas on September 04, 2007
If there is a family who has already embraced and loveed this little angel the I would leave well enough alone. Perhaps you can establish a relationship with the adoptive parents. It sounds like this child has already been through a lot, why add insult to injury. It also sounds like the best thing for her if her parents don't even care about giving up their rights. Anyone can be a birthparent, it takes special people to ne Mommy and Daddy.
G.W. answers from Auburn on September 04, 2007
This really is a very sad story for your whole family. I've seen an experience like this in my own family when I was younger with my uncle's two older children and my grandparents having to step in and provide for them temporarily. Unfortunately, when a child finds herself in a desperate situation, those who feel called can't really say "Not now, it's not a good time for me to help you" and then come back later when things are better but the child has moved on and spent a great deal of time with someone else that has shown love and care. Please know that I'm not blaming or finding fault with you and your husband for not taking her in the first time around, you had your reasons. But I tend to agree with the social worker. This child has spent (I'm assuming) the last few years with parents that have loved her enough that they want to spend at least the next 14 or 15 years providing for her every need. They've given her consistency and stability that no one else has been able to provide. To take her away from her "family" because now it's a better time for you doesn't seem really fair. And honestly, it seems that this little girl really does need to move on from her obviously unfit parents, you taking her on would always leave the door open for her parents to come in and out of her life, constantly disappointing her and making her feel insecure. If this other family adopts her, when your little cousin is old enough, she can contact her parents and let them explain why they couldn't be there for her. In the meantime, she'll grow up knowing she was wanted and cared for and that God provided for her exactly what she needed. Best wishes to you and your family. I know this is a tough decision and I wish you well. Especially, your innocent little cousin.
M.S. answers from Dallas on September 04, 2007
I know you said you can't imagine being Steph & having parental rights taken away, but obviously Steph is a very different person than you are, and the person you need to image foremost is the little girl. Steph has made decisions that led to consequences & she's an adult & needs to deal with those consequences. Please think about the child's best interests. She probably already thinks of her foster family as "mom" and "dad," and it would take some very weighty considerations to rip her away from those "parents" she loves. God has given this little girl the gift of foster parents who love her and want to adopt her. She may be your family biologically, but in the sense that would have any meaning to her, her current foster parents are her family. I think it's great that you are willing to foster her, but it sounds like she's already in a very good situation, and I'm sure the change would be traumatic to her, no matter how much you would love her. If she didn't already have a loving family, it would be different.
L.M. answers from Dallas on September 03, 2007
I've experienced these difficulties and questions within my own family....the best advice that I can give you is to pray about it and ask for God to give you a sign. If you feel strongly about pursuing the fostercare/adoption, you'll know if it's the right thing--God will make it clear to you. Bless you for caring for this forgotten child.
K.K. answers from Dallas on September 04, 2007
I'm with Alli on this one. I, too, am an adoptive mother and as far as I can see, the foster parents who have this child are already adoptive parents in their mind. I can not imagine losing my son to his birthparents now after 5 years or any time frame, or even to a biological family member. If this child is being cared for and loved then that is where she needs to be. You could always request to be able and stay in touch with the foster to adopt parents but I believe the best interest of the child is she stay where she has been and no more confusion be added to that childs life. You'll be in my prayers and I pray that you already know in your heart God has placed this little girl in the right hands.
A.K. answers from Dallas on September 04, 2007
I'm an adoptive mom and I truly believe that family means "the people who love you" and if this foster family loves her and she loves them and they want to adopt her, then they are her family. Blood doesn't mean family- I have a biological father who has never been a dad to me and a Dad who was a great Daddy until he died when I was 11. I agree that it's selfish for you to keep her "in the family"- she's not an heirloom piece of furniture. You already said that Steph "didn't really seem to care. It was almost like out of site out of mind. They had her young and now there 21 and they want to play". So, why take her away from the only family she knows? I don't see the point. Sorry if I sounded blunt. I do agree that you should seek God's will here, of course.