The choice to foster a child is certainly not one every couple can or even should make. It can be challenging, and you're opening yourself up to possible heartbreak, not to mention the numerous challenges that arise when caring for a kid who has been removed from their family of origin. But once you have taken a vulnerable kid into your home, you should want to do everything in your power to guarantee them a stable and loving home.
Unfortunately, a foster parent who posted to reddit's "Am I the A-hole" community is considering abandoning efforts to adopt her foster son of two years because she has unexpectedly found herself pregnant. They explained their situation in a post entitled "AITA for choosing my biological child over my foster son?" that invited an emotional and spirited debate.
The user and her husband were unsuccessful in getting pregnant for many years, so they decided to foster a child with intent to adopt. While they have had a couple children placed with them temporarily, their current charge, a 9-year-old boy, has been with them for two years and adoption proceedings have begun. This is basically the ideal outcome for a foster child whose family of origin have had their parental rights terminated.
But then OP found out she was pregnant.
"Unfortunately, after thinking we could do both, we did the hard math, and with our work and our finances, the only way we could raise our foster son is if we terminate this pregnancy," she writes. "We can't financially have both children."
So despite being this boy's family for two years, she says her only option is to refuse the adoption because, "I can't emotionally bring myself to terminate what is realistically our only chance at a biological child, who I am already bonding with."
Let's just say the AITA community had a lot to say to this parent, and much of it was very critical. "I cannot comprehend the damage you will be doing if you essentially tell this child now that you no longer want him," said a user with the name "overpregnant." They also pointed out that if these parents found out they were having twins, they'd figure out a way to make it work, so why aren't they willing to put as much effort into making it work with their foster son?
"Unexpected family additions happen all the time. ours is just one of the more unusual ones and will just require a bit more maneuvering and sacrifice on your part. Welcome to parenthood."
Others pointed out that if they could callously discard this child who has been with them for two years for "the 'better child," AKA their biological one, that maybe this poor kid is better off in the long run.
But it's definitely a complicated situation, to say the least. The big obstacle to keeping their foster son, OP shares, is that social services requires the foster son have his own room. This is a common requirement, but she says they can't afford a three-bedroom home in the county where they must continue to reside while their foster son is engaged with the system.
Bearing this in mind, a lot of posters came out on the side of these parents, saying social services is essentially forcing them to make this decision by requiring them to move to a bigger home than they can afford.
In response to that argument, many rebutted, if OP and her husband truly loved this boy enough, they would explore alternative solutions. Many suggested they put a crib for the new baby in their bedroom for the first year or two. Then they could look into relocating outside the county to a cheaper area once the adoption was final and social services is no longer given a say on their housing. After all, while they might have jurisdiction over the foster son now, they wouldn't over the biological child they're expecting, nor would they have any say on whether their foster son shares a room with his younger sibling once he's legally theirs.
Clearly this family is in a tough spot, but ultimately what many readers pointed to was an apparent unwillingness on the parents' fault to look for an alternative solution. The poster also seemed to have a rather cool regard for this 9-year-old boy who has lived with her for two years.
"He's a spirited boy but not a bad kid, just takes a lot of time, money, and mental energy," she writes. I mean, that doesn't exactly ooze with the love and warmth one should feel for a child who has spent 20 percent of his life under one's roof.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care on any given day. While many of those children eventually reunite with their family of origin, a substantial number of those families eventually have their parental rights terminated. For those unfortunate foster kids, it can be difficult to find permanent, loving homes, and this difficulty only increases the older the child gets.
And that's why anyone considering a foster-to-adopt arrangement should always go into it ready to give that child the same love and commitment they would to a child they gave birth to. Here's hoping this poor boy ultimately ends up with a forever family who will love him as much as they love their blood relatives.