Saying No

Today we got a call about a 12 year old boy.  I could hear the caseworkers emotion through the phone.

“Can you take him?”

I started to get anxious at the thought of taking in another child when I feel like I’m still getting used to mothering one.  But I listened.

She told me how this is his second adoption disruption but that he is just a young man that needs direction.  His current home was just so strict with handling him.  They were so focused on education that the only reward he got was alone time to read a book. He needed someone to be active with him, play basketball or video games.  This home was supposed be perfect because they had a 13-year-old son too, but it was their other child who had special needs that they were concerned about.  He was hoarding food, you know, just normal teenage stuff.  He was interested in sports but they had traveled twice to track meets without him.  They isolated him.   The last straw was that he opened a window and they felt they put their child in danger.    They had given their 30 day notice.

I listened to the story but what I heard was not the caseworker’s words but everything she didn’t say.  Like what type of behavior led to two families disrupting, did he have any history of sexual abuse, what was his story?  Why would an adoptive placement not take him on vacation?  What therapies was he in?  So many unanswered questions.

I asked her why she was considering us.  She said he needs someone like your husband in his life.  And honestly, she was reaching out wherever she could.  She didn’t want him to go to a shelter.  And my resolve started to dissipate, because I didn’t want him to go to a shelter either.  At least two families that had disrupted on him…how defeating for a child to feel like no one wants him.

But still – I reminded her that we were new parents of a two-year-old and this would be challenging for us.  She said, “yes, I know you have your prized possession already.”

Now you know I felt some kind of way about that.

I talked to Wood about it because I felt bad for this child.  A child whose behavior was most likely and outward expression of fear and loneliness.   Wood was more practical, citing real concerns about logistics, my workload, lack of support systems and a whole host of other concerns.

Who was I kidding?

Therapeutic fostering is hard.  And I just don’t feel equipped to give him what he needs without stronger support in place.  The best I can do is send a prayer for him, that he finds a family that has what he needs and can really incorporate him into their forever family.



5 thoughts on “Saying No

  1. Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is say no. I don’t have any foster care experience, but maybe if one of the other families had been honest about their capabilities and what they could actually handle maybe he wouldn’t have had disrupted adoptions. Of course I can’t say that with 100% certainty but its a thought. I think this ‘No’ concept applies in all aspects of life…if more people actually took the time to think through what is being asked (beyond the initial request) and figure out what adjustments they would have to make to fulfill that request, many situations would end better/with fewer resentments.

  2. You know what you can handle in terms of your family life and it was unfair and frankly rather shitty of the social worker to attempt you into taking this child when you knew you could not accommodate him. I hope he does find a forever family though.

  3. It’s so hard to say no. I would say yes all the time, fortunately I have MM to remind me that we can’t take them all (despite my dream about us buying a 4 storey home and FILLING it full of children).
    You have to do what you believe is best for you and for him.

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