Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tough Love

I know I am going to take a lot of criticism for this post because of the nature of it. But I have never shied away from being honest about the happenings in my life, and I am not about to start now.

Last week was another difficult week in my life. We had to make the very hard decision to place my 15 yr old nephew in foster care. It was becoming more and more obvious that he no longer wanted to reside with us. His refusal to abide by our rules, threatening behavior towards our younger children in the house, using kitchen knives to destroy property in our house all were warning signs. The most troublesome was the threatening statements made to the youngest members of my household. Now call me crazy, but my number one priority is to protect my young children that can't protect themselves.

So, when his mother petitioned the court for termination of our guardianship, we welcomed it with open arms. We were more than willing to hand him over to his mother. But, unfortunately things did not go as planned. The weekend before the hearing, his mother was arrested for DUI. And when the time came for the hearing, she was still in jail. So, at the court when asked by the judge where the petitioner was, we told the truth. Then we stated that we were still wishing to terminate our guardianship. Then the judge asked for a reason why we wanted to end the guardianship, we told him the truth. And he was somewhat understanding. He then asked my nephew if he wanted to end the guardianship his reply was "Yes". The judge then made the ruling that he was to be turned over to the foster care system. And so it was done. The same day as the hearing, he left our care.

The next day when his mother was released from jail. She called my husband and asked about how the hearing went. When he told her, she was upset. She was under the impression that he would ask for another date for the hearing. I guess she was thinking that she would still be awarded custody of her son. But, she forgot that the two children that were living with her, were now in foster care also. And that she is facing child abandonment charges on top of the DUI.

And I have to mention the incredible peace and quiet that has taken over my house. Gone are the bickering, yelling, screaming and threats of violence. And it has been replaced by the laughter of the children. And we were able to turn the extra space into a play area for our kids. The house still feels cramped, but, now it has a feel like a home. The house is not as messy and requires less cleaning. And that I must admit is nice.

Now the question is, where do we go from here. Well the answer is simple....life will still continue to be hectic. For life with 6 kids is just as crazy as having 7 kids. There are still school functions, and doctor appointments, and reminders that the rules have to be followed. Some things never change.

Do we miss our nephew.....the answer is yes. I can only hope that where ever he is at....that he is finding some joy in his life. And perhaps working to make his life a better one.


Karen Zemek, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

That is sad your nephew did not appreciate your taking him in. You did the right thing--you have to look out for your own children first. Hopefully he will get some help he needs that will turn things around for him.

Lyla said...

Please don't beat yourself up over your decision. It sounds like you tried your hardest. Hopefully he will get the help he needs in the foster care system.

Chatty Chica
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
Mom to Tweens

Gina said...

So sad, but I would have done the same thing. It's a tough age and maybe one day he will realize the sacrifice you made to take him.

MsRay said...

Children coming from dysfunctional families carry a lot of emotional baggage because they lack love, understanding and attention. May be you can show him that he is loved by paying him a visit. I used to work in a family court and have been exposed to juvenile offenders. Majority of these children lack proper parental guidance and love.

ettarose said...

You did what you felt was right. I read this a couple of days ago and could not get him out of my mind. Was there any counseling involved? This young man has had a tough time if what you say about his mom is any indication. Sometimes we push away the ones who love us just to prove we really are not worthy of love. The foster system is so messed up, I just wish there had been another alternative. If you as a family member could not keep him, why would a non family member?