I Am Thinking of Becoming A Foster Parent...What Would You Do?
I am a pediatric nurse at the hospital. Our children's ward has a playroom with toys and movies and such. About a year ago, I noticed an 11 year old girl that was coming in a lot to hang out, watch movies, and nap on the couch. I talked to her and found out that her mother had cancer and she was dying. She road the bus to the hospital every day after school and spent all day with her mother. She often ate dinner there too. She started walking around the hospital and found the children's ward and hung out there when her mother was sleeping or having tests run. When they gave her mother only a few more months to live, her father let her go. He quit coming up to the hospital because it was too hard for him to see her like that. He did well to come once a week for a quick visit. So the LITTLE GIRL was taking care of her mother in the hospital. I started spending time with her, counseling her, helping her with homework, and listening to her. After her mother died, she still visited me. I have even seen her out side of the hospital. I took her out for her 12th birthday, went to her school play and her band concert, and I have spent a lot of time with her. She has told me that her father has been drinking heavily and he won't talk to her. He pretends like she isn't in the house. I tried talking to him and he flat out told me that he can't stand to look at his daughter because she looks like his wife. Now the little girl has started showing up with bruises and I think he is taking out his anger at his wife's death on the child. I'm trying to get her to talk to me before I report him but, despite the fact that she was always so forth coming before, she has started clamming up every time I mention her father. Yes, I am a mandated reporter but these are just bruises that could be from anything. It is only my gut instinct that tells me that something else is going on. I have nothing more than that to go on and I can't call CPS because a 12 year old that plays softball and climbs trees as a few bruises.
I am really worried about her. I love this little girl like she is my own and, even if he isn't hitting her, she deserves better. He is obviously not going to put away the booze and do what he needs to do for his daughter. I know he is grieving but she is grieving too and she is only 12 and she needs her father. I know I am going to report him if I find out that her father is hitting her but I think I am going to offer her a place to stay for a while. I am already certified as a foster parent (long story) so, if I have to go the CPS route, I think I can get her placed with me. If I don't go through CPS, I am hoping that he will acknowledge his short comings as a parent and let his daughter stay with someone else until he can get his shit together. Either way, I know that staying with him is not what is best for her right now. She was crying the other day because she feels like she has lost BOTH of her parents. I don't know what kind of father he was before, but she says he was a good daddy.
BTW, I'm not married but I have a 2 year old.