Monday, May 21, 2012

Decision on "The Call"

We have thought about "the call" all weekend long.  While it was not the type of placement that we were expecting, it was still a situation that we considered, discussed, pondered and struggled to find the solution that would be right for us.

Before hearing the specifics of the situation of this mother and child, we probably would have never considered a teenager.  But their situation (which I can't discuss) was positive to say the least, which made it tempting to open our arms to help and support this new family find their way in this crazy world.  Also with our strong commitment to shared parenting*, we were enticed with being able to live this daily with this unique placement.

At the end of the day, we do not feel comfortable parenting a 17 year-old at this time.  I could definitely see us taking a teenage mother/child placement in the future once we have a bit more experience in this parenting gig.  But we just didn't feel like we were the right fit for this particular placement right now.  While I think we could take on this young mother and her baby, that doesn't mean that we should.  Also, it was a little weird to think that I would be taking on the role of mother and grandmother all before I'm 30!

Even though I hate to turn away children in need, we are at peace with this decision.

*Shared Parenting-  a concept that is central to foster parenting where the foster parents continually work with the birth family to make parenting decisions (haircuts, piercing ears, activities, etc.) and communicate successes and struggles their child(ren) experience.  This ensures that everyone is on the same page, models positive parenting approaches, and provides consistency for the kids. 

**A few readers expressed their concerns about having a 17 year-old alone in our home before/after school while we are at work.  While I completely understand this concern, it would not be applicable (at least for a while) to this situation.  We are not allowed to leave any foster child alone.  They may only be left with an approved babysitter or at an approved supervised activity (sports, clubs at school, part-time job, etc.).  It is only after both the foster parents and the child's social worker are comfortable with the child being left alone that this would be allowed to occur.

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