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Real Rap, yo…
In the last three weeks, Grace has been AWOL twice to where we had to call and file a police report in the middle of the night, skipped school three times and come home high a few other times. We have few disciplinary tools at our disposal. We don’t have a long term sway over her as she has decided not to ask to stay with us. We aren’t going to lock her in her room (immoral and illegal) and we’re not going to beat her for leaving the house. She’s already stopped doing chores or anything around the house to earn allowance, so that’s not something we can hold over her.
What’s really interesting to me from a psychological perspective is what’s encouraging her to act this way. Why does she think it’s o.k. to do these things? Because she’s been told by everyone that she’s worthless, and now this place that was supposed to be a rock for her has also slipped out from under her. I get it.
I found this on a Georgia foster agency website. Either they are particularly useless at expressing themselves, or there really aren’t any benefits besides warm fuzzies to do what we’ve been doing since April:

Why foster a Teen or Sibling group?

5 reasons to foster a teenager
  1. Teens help you stay up to date on the latest fashions, trends and technology.
  2. Teens benefit by learning from your experiences
  3. Teens are fun and interactive which keeps you young at heart!
  4. Teens benefit from living in nurturing and stable family environments where they can focus on school, building meaningful relationships and all things teen!
5.     Teens can decipher instant messaging codes and teach you even more ways
A lot of the talk in foster parenting land is to hang on and believe in these kids no matter what. When I mentioned about some of the troubles that we were having at home because of the issues the girls were having, I was told by one person that their reactions were “totally understandable” and then lectured about all the myriad factors and societal influences that are making them behave like this. More than one person has said “Well, what did you expect?”
I felt totally patronized by that reaction. That reaction, and the implied reaction behind the disappointed looks I’ve gotten from people that I’ve told about our situation, is that we need to keep hanging on as if we can save these girls.
We can’t. There are limits to tolerance and limits to what we can deal with. My job is on the line because I’ve spent too many sleepless nights worrying about them and too little time trying to keep my sanity. Our relationship is strained. Home has become a source of stress for both of us. If I lose my job, we can’t take care of our own family and will be disqualified to be foster parents anyway.
It took 15 years of bad parenting to get her to this point. We’re not going to change her life in 7 months.
We have just had to file another report on her tonight. She’s a kid who is lost and upset and totally abandoned by the world. The problem is that foster parenting, because of its inherently transient nature, isn’t the place to help someone form a healthier perspective. The stated goal of foster parenting is to reunite families, or to adopt if a family is too unstable. The problem is that with older kids it just isn’t that cut and dry. When you get a kid who has been habitually mistreated, it’s going to be nearly impossible to find a perfect fit. We were maybe about as perfect as it can get. We certainly were going to give her our everything.

It’s just that our everything wasn’t enough.