The American foster care system remains shamefully problematic.
In spite of the fact that thousands of children are in need of temporary or permanent homes, children continue to find themselves placed in environments that were even more problematic than the homes they were taken from.
Or, while some parents are able to provide the care and attention they need, the children are so traumatized from past experiences, they simply cannot adjust to their new surroundings in spite of the best efforts of the foster parents.
And when foster parents seek help from the foster care system, they are often provided with little to nothing.
Redditor RogueStarfighter and his wife recently took on a foster child whom they knew was in need of a home.
While the adjustment wasn’t easy, they managed to work through their problems.
Until their charge simply went too far, leading the original poster (OP), and his wife to think there was truly only one thing to do.
Concerned they may have made a serious mistake, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for getting rid of our foster kid after she stole medicine from our sick daughter?”
The OP explained why he and his wife felt they were left with no other choice following a serious incident with their foster child.
“We were informed of a foster child in need of a home.”
“She’s 14, has some behavioral issues, and had mild drug use.”
“We decided to take her in since my wife knew her a bit and thought she was a decent kid who just needed a chance.”
“The placement had its issues.”
“She smoked weed in the house.”
“We told her not to, she did it again.”
“She had friends over, we said no weed, they smoked anyway.”
“Over five months, we had good and bad times, but overall it was working.”
“We also have a 5 year old daughter who got Covid at the end of last year and has had a chronic cough ever since.”
“She is on a medication for the cough so she can sleep at night and for when her coughing fits get bad.”
“Sometimes it sounds like she is gasping for air.”
“It’s hard to watch her suffer through this.”
“Last night the foster had friends over and they smoked again.”
“We had planned on talking to her about it after school today.”
“We woke up this morning and the 5-yo starts coughing.”
“We look for her medicine and we can’t find it.”
“My wife finally gives up and goes to the store to buy more.”
“I drive the foster to school and when I return, we find the bottle in her room.”
“It’s not empty so we don’t freak out.”
“I go to work.”
“Later, my wife goes to give the 5yo more medicine and she realizes that the cough medicine that she found in the fosters room is actually sprite.”
“The foster dumped it all into a sprite bottle and drank it with her friends for a cheap buzz.”
“Don’t know why she filled the medicine bottle back up with sprite, but whatever.”
“I freaked and had her removed immediately.”
“You can disobey me, you can lie to me, you can steal from me.”
“Once you take from my kid, there is no coming back from that.”
“The fact that she lived across the hall from my daughter and listened to her coughing all day and night and still had the lack of humanity that she felt ok taking her medicine is sickening and represents a depravity I was not prepared for.”
“Behavior issues is one thing, it’s almost universal that you don’t mess with sick kids.”
“Did I overreact?’
“We locked up all medicine and alcohol.”
“We were careless and left it out this time.”
“We weren’t diligent this time since we honestly didn’t think it was a target; she had only ever smoked weed before.”
“I wish the state had better informed us.”
“We were told she had one marijuana incident before, and I thought we could handle that.”
“I smoked weed when I was 14 too.”
“I never knew she did other drugs.”
“I didn’t really consider children’s cough medicine to be a target.”
“It was a mistake.”
“Lastly, we are not foster parents.”
“We did this for a child my wife knew.”
“We were not looking to foster any other kids. We were just trying to help one.”
“We were not prepared for this and are going to focus on our own daughter now.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for having their foster child removed from their home.
While nearly everyone did sympathize with the child’s situation and experience, they nonetheless agreed that the OP did the right thing in making their difficult decision, as her actions were serious and harmful to his daughter’s health.
“I feel sad for your family and this poor girl.”
“Life is tough, and she’s clearly been dealt a bad hand.”
‘But you’re not the a**hole for protecting your child while trying to help another.”- freudian_baby
‘I was a foster parent of teens for years, only after my kids moved out for that very reason.”
“You have to protect your kids.’
“If your youngest was a foster child too, you’d still have to do the same thing.”
‘The medicine should have been locked up, sure.’
“Parents of all varieties make mistakes, doesn’t make them all a**holes.”
‘But let’s say you did lock it up?”
‘Barring a safe, a determined teen can still get to it.”
“I’ve had foster children pick locks and break doors to get where they wanted.”- nope-111
“NTA because your sick child should come first.”
“But I think the foster really needs to enter some kind of substance abuse program.”
“Not saying she’s a full-blown addict, but she’s not stopping her habitual use, she’s stealing, and her substance use has already screwed up what could have been a healthy home for her.”
“I hope this need was communicated to her social worker.”- justwondering_999
“Former foster kid and substance user during my time in the system, where I was removed from multiple homes for using around young children.”
“The world is a really hard place when you have to learn from your mistakes in real-time, without unconditional love and parental support.”
“F*ck man, it’s hard, and most of us don’t come out very well.”
“But protecting your child is, first and foremost, your job.”
‘It sucks because your former foster child deserves that same protection.”
“Not from you, per se, but it’s heartbreaking how many kids will grow up without that and will become adults who struggle daily to find it in different ways.”
“Substances, abusive relationships, having lots of children themselves, etc.”
“You are in a tough spot, and my heart goes out to you, truly, for trying to help a young person carry a little less weight on their shoulders.”
“I hope this girl is able to get both substance help and an excellent therapist.”
‘It’s the only reason I made it out alive.”- ReindeerCareless4046
“This one is tough.”
“And I don’t have an answer.”
“Teens already have issues with fully understanding consequences because the parts of our brain that regulate risk/reward and impulsivity/restraint aren’t fully developed until we’re 25 or 26.”
“Add on to the fact that this is a child who was in the system because she obviously must not have been in the healthiest of environments.”
“So her perception of boundaries and right vs. wrong are likely stunted.”
“You refer to her actions as a ‘level of depravity,’ but I doubt that’s the case.”
“She was just being a dumb kid without understanding consequences.”
“Not excusing it in any way.”
“But her background indicates that she’s going to need a lot of work to get rehabilitated into better socializing as a member of a household.”
“She was always going to need more intense parenting than any average kid who isn’t in the system.”
“I would have explained to her the severity of the situation and told her she’s being given one last chance, and then she’d be out.”
“With all that said, I can’t fault you for reacting the way you did.”
“Your child’s safety is important.”
“I’m glad you were able to get medicine, and your daughter is okay now.”
“Long COVID sucks.”
“I have some friends with varying degrees of symptoms that are affecting them 2 years after they caught it.”
“I wish her a speedy recovery.”- VigilanteJusticia
No doubt about it, that poor girl has gone through more than any 14-year-old should in her short time on this earth.
But after putting the life of the OP’s daughter in danger, it’s hard not to agree that he made the only possible decision he could.
One only hopes she’ll find a home that can give her the help and support she needs, which can get her back on the right track.