This week’s Tuesday Topic comes from Suzanne. Her question is long, but I don’t want to leave out any details so you can offer your thoughts with as much clarity as possible. Please take a moment to respond, even if you don’t feel “qualified”; your words may be exceedingly helpful to Suzanne and her husband as they face a life-changing decision.
We have two children that are ours by birth, a son who’s 9 and a daughter who’s 5. We’ve been fostering for about a year and half, and currently we have two foster children, a boy who’s 3 and a baby girl who’s almost 11 months. It looks fairly positive that we will be adopting these two within a few months. They will, barring any new complications, be eligible for adoption by the end of the year, and we can finalize soon after that.
The complication is that they have an older sister that was placed separately. We have been asked if we are willing to take this older sister, age 6. While they have assured us that our answer to her does not jeopardize our placement with the two we have, we are still feeling a lot of pressure to make the right decision for our family and this little girl. Sibling bonds aren’t really an issue at this point since the children are so young. Our foster children have no attachment to this older sibling whatsoever. While we haven’t had all that many placements, we’ve had a previous placement with a little girl who was virtually the same age as our daughter, and it did not go well. Our daughter was under significant distress during the months that little girl lived with us.
My question is, how do you make a decision about an older child entering your family? How do you gauge the effect on your current children? Are there any concrete tools that we can use to help us make this decision?
We definitely do not feel peace about saying yes to this placement right now, but we are committed to following God’s will in this situation. We don’t want to say no just because it might be hard. We don’t want to say yes without fully weighing the effects on our current family structure. Along with this, how do you possibly find the time to give each child, whether by birth or adoption, the time and attention they need when parenting traumatized children takes SO much time? The foster children we have already require so much of our time that I am having a hard time envisioning what I could do to make the time to help another hurting child heal.
There you have it. It is a long question, but not unfamiliar to many of you. Honestly, who else can speak as clearly to this as fellow adoptive/foster parents? Please take a moment to leave a comment for Suzanne and I will try to add my thoughts as well.
Encourage one another,