I'm in an interesting situation and just wanted to talk some about it to a neutral party (in this case, several hundred neutral parties
As many may know here, I work with troubled teens in a group home setting in central PA. My wife and I are talking about potentially adopting one of the guys -- a 15 year old who's biological family disappeared on him almost a decade ago. He has no real connections out of the placement system and we know we could provide a family for him that would be very good overall. He's a very active kid, loves fishing and sports and will really fit into the lifestyle here (lots of outdoors activities, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, etc.) overall. While it may seem peachy on the top, I do have some reservations...
First, he does have some firesetting issues in his past. Now, these are from years ago when he was really struggling with abandonment issues from his bio family. While there is no indication that it will ever occur again, I still get a little nervous wondering about the "what-ifs". He also had some spells of physical aggression towards people. Again, these came when he was really confused/disturbed about some of the crappy cards he's been dealt. I won't go into specifics here to preserve confidentiality, but the basics are here. It would be silly to never expect him to get upset or grumpy while living with us, and we may have to deal with some variation of the issues listed above.
Now, the real catalyst for my concerns is that we have a now nine-and-one-half year old daughter. She is our first and our pride and joy. While I never would expect problems (the kid in question here was over for a weekend visit and seemed to interact well with her). However, what if he was with her for a few minutes and she started screaming her head off and he didn't know what to do. What if he gets upset over something else and it ultimately affects her?
The protective father side has me questioning this somewhat. There are a ton of "what-ifs" on both sides of the equation. With his age, I don't realistically expect him to be adopted by anyone else. He'll wind up in foster care, which will provide some support to age 18, but not much after. An adopted family, like ours would be, would give him something to rely on for life.
I know I'll forever be questioning myself if we say no to this opportunity -- wondering "what-if", especially if we learn later that he has relapsed and something bad has happened (like could we have helped him avoid this?). However, if we do jump on this opportunity, I know I'll always be a little anxious and could never forgive myself if something bad happens.
Overall, I'd love some general feedback on this. I don't plan on making any rash decisions based on anyone's feedback here, but would love to hear from people who aren't as close to this situation.
Overall, I think we'll go for it, but I still wonder....