Wow! What a difference a week makes!!! It looks like I'm gaining a 16-year-old foster daughter as soon as tonight!
The Booger Bear had a visit with his mommy yesterday, and I went along to meet with her and all of the caseworkers. We ended up talking for almost two hours. Baby J's mom really needs a stable place she can call "home," and has made the decision to go into foster care herself. Because of her age, they wanted the decision to be hers. She's really scared, but she seems like a great kid who's just had a rough go of it growing up.
I don't think she realized that I was seriously considering having her come live with me. Ultimately, she wanted to be with Baby J, but I think she was under the impression that she'd be living somewhere else for a while. She seemed happy when she realized that I was planning on having her live with us (well, as happy as a trying to be brave 16-year-old will openly let on anyway... :-)
It will definitely be an adjustment for both of us. She's been pretty much on her own most of her teen years, and I've been a single woman living on my own for quite some time now (I won't be pointing out that it's been almost as long as she's been alive). She's used to answering only to herself, and I'm definitely not used to being the mom (or is it grandma?) of an 8-month-old and the mom of a 16-year-old. And certainly not all in one month's time!
I'm sure we'll have some battles because it seems we're equally strong-willed, but we seem to have a lot of common interests and we both love Baby J and want what's best for him. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders and is definitely making long-term plans and is thinking ahead as far as what is going to be best for the two of them. The first thing she asked me when she realized that she could live with me was, "Would you mind if I apply for a job at the such-and-such down the street? School just got out today, and I'd really like to start saving money." Would I mind if you get a job?!? Heck no! Go for it! Save away!!! She had already said that she wanted to get a job ASAP, and that was before she knew she could live with me, so the fact that she asked me if I was okay with it was a good start.
I really hope she is willing to accept the help and stability that I'm offering. She's so independent, and openly admitted that she has trouble accepting help from people. But she also realizes that she needs to try to accept what's offered, if not for her sake, then for J's. I've just had a soft spot in my heart for this girl since the very beginning, and I've felt the "mother hen" coming out in me when it comes to her (possibly more-so with her than with Baby J.) She's going into it knowing what I expect from her so there are no surprises there, and also knowing that I have a lot to offer her and J as far as stability and an actual extended family that she can depend on.
Just keep us all in your prayers for a while. It's definitely going to be a bumpy road until we can find what works best for our little family. But I'm hopeful that everything will work out in the end.