help please - child (long)

Nurses General Nursing


I need some advise. I am in a dilima (?)

We have one of our daughters friends living with us. This kid was in a state run childrens home for a few years. She had to leave when she turned 18. She was going into the military just to have somewhere to go, to belong.

She is very polite, shy, quiet, and fun to be with. The problem is she asks permission to do anything, has very few clothes, and almost no self esteem.

I would like to provide her with a wardrobe, self confidence, and a place to always belong - where some one gives a damn about her. Not for what she can do or give them.

She is very sensitive about not having much of anything. My problem is how to provide it for her without stepping on what little self esteem she has. This kid has been hurt so much in her young life and I will not let it happen again if it is in my power to prevent. I want her to feel that she can always come home ( my house) weither she goes to college, the army, or gets married. She has so much potential at this point, I just don't think anyone has ever told her so.

This is not about making my family look or feel good. We discussed it in depth and prayed about it. This child, young woman needs us as much as we need her. What can I do? How can I do it? To me, I have another kid who lived somewhere else for the first 18 years of her life. To her, I think we are just temporary lodgings. How do I let her know that she is always welcome? I have told her, as my husband has, that while she may sometimes do things that we do not like, we will never throw her out of the house and that when she does leave, it will always be open to her just like Kala. That she will always have a refugee from the world.

My heart is heavy in trying to find a way to provide for her without making her feel that she is charity. Any help that you can give will be appriciated.

She is going to get the chance to fininsh high school and maybe college now. She was planning on quitting school for the military just to have a home. :o

Has anyone else run into this? My daughters friends talk to me when I am home about things that they would never talk to their mothers about. I feel honored and blessed by this and just want to do what is right by this young one. My husband is scared to death that somebody will take advantage. He is just as protective of her as he is with our daughter. Just an example of what I mean, When she moved in with us, she made an appointment to put her puppy to sleep because someone told her that she could not have it at the house. We have 2 cats and 1 dog. when she asked us to take them to the vet, my husband said OK. Then he ask what for. When she told him, he was ready to take on the world for her. This puppy has been the one thing that she really cares about. She was going to do it not to make problems for us.

I am sorry if I am rambling but I don't know where to turn. My mother is calling me insane to do this. I don't know what I am doing that is so wrong. Maybe yall can see something that I can't. And yes what little family she has knows where she is at. That was the only thing I ask that she do. She has never really celebrated Christmas with a family either. She is trying to bow out of traditions so she won't be in the way. My daughter tells me and her father that she is jelous that Kala has this. We want her to be part of it also. Help.


65 Posts


I have a friend who took in a 13 year old boy a few years ago....a good kid with a bad home and bad habits. He is now 17 and doing very well! But it took time and patience and discipline and love. They never treated him like they felt sorry for him, they expected him to live by the house rules, etc. Basically, they treated him like one of their own. It took him awhile to feel like he was really part of the least a year or more.

You are doing a wonderful thing and it will be difficult at times. Take it a day at a time, follow your heart, and it will work out!

Good Luck!


408 Posts

I got pregnant and maried at 18, and left the sob at 19 with a 6mo. old baby, no $$, no education, nothing.

A guy i had dated off and on in highschools mom took me under her wing and into her fam. (my own mom had tried to get me out once and i being young and dumb went back and she said i got you out once and this time your on your own, which is the best thing she could have done, kinda like "fly birdie, fly")

This woman helped me get clothes, a job, a apt., encouraged me to take GED and apply to LPN school, ect.

I love her very much and she will always will hold a place in my heart. I dont see/talk to her much anymore as I am now remarried and the issues with her son are a little awkward.

I think what you are doing for this young woman is wonderful.

And with xmas coming up you have the perfect chance to provide her with lots of stuff she needs.

God bless you


Sarah Kat

229 Posts

My advice? Tell her everything you wrote in your post. If you have trouble saying it, then read your post aloud to her or have her read it. Be open and honest and tell her your hopes and fears regarding the situation. Your honesty will show her that you really care. Be patient, and know that it may take some time for her to adjust because she probably has little experience with a loving stable environment.

Don't fuss over her, either. Maybe offer to get her the new clothes as a "loan" (rather than some form of charity). You can tell her when she is making the big bucks after she gets out of college (which also shows you have faith she can make it in higher education and the real world) then she can pay you back. Good luck. It's wonderful what you are doing. I hate that our system is designed so that kids get dumped off when they turn 18. Have a very happy holiday. :D


6,011 Posts


Bless you for your generous spirit.

One of my greatest regrets happened when my DH's sister died leaving 2 little girls. Their father remarried within weeks to (literally) a wicked stepmother. Then the father died. At that time the step bought an old trailer and put the girls -8 &14- there only allowing them to go to the house for meals. They slept alone.

At the time I was having major depression problems, and I didn't see what was happening. My regret is that we did not take these girls to live with us.....the step didn't want them. Now they are 35 and 41........I wish they were my daughters.

Even if your young friend sees you only as a "resource" treat her as if she were your own. I'd not "shower her with gifts" but neither would I allow her to go without. You have one great gift for her and that is LOVE. Tell her what you told us.

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

4,388 Posts

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.
Originally posted by P_RN

Bless you for your generous spirit.

Even if your young friend sees you only as a "resource" treat her as if she were your own. I'd not "shower her with gifts" but neither would I allow her to go without. You have one great gift for her and that is LOVE. Tell her what you told us.


You might just let her know in a nonchalant way that "clothes" and other essentials are a necessity to make it in the world out there... that you are not showering her with gifts... merely providing her with some essentials to help give her a jumpstart.

That you have faith that she can do the rest.. she has shown that she has what it takes.

That you do not expect anything in return other than that she continue to be the wonderful person she is. That perhaps someday she might be presented with an opportunity to pay it forward...

What a beautiful thing to read........ thank you for sharing.


652 Posts

I agree with Sarah Kat...tell her everything you have shared with us..she really NEEDS to hear's open and honest and conveys how much you love wishes for you all (((hugzzzzz)))


259 Posts

My brother and his wife are part of a foster parenting organization and have taken in numerous children, often from very bad home situations. They've had a couple of older teens. The best thing seems to be to give her time and space to adjust and grow as she becomes part of your family. Treat as you would any other family member, include her in the chores and things that make up everyday family life, and she should eventually come around.

I agree that you need to share with her just what you've told us in your post.

Hellllllo Nurse, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 3,563 Posts


My sister took in a 15 yr old boy several months ago.

He had been severely neglected by his mother, who has no interest in him. He does not know his father.

My sis tells me she has been treating this boy as one of her own. He has chores to do, and is expected to follow her rules, just like her other boys.

She hugs him goodnight, and takes him on family outings with the rest of her boys. Basically, she treats him just like the others.

Dh and I are giving our nephews $$ for Christmas. His share will come with a note saying "To our new nephew. Love, XXXX".

I truly admire you for what you are doing. This girl needs you.

The fact that she assumed she'd have to put her puppy to sleep is just heart-breaking.

I agree with the other poster who suggested letting her know your feelings in writing.

Perhaps you could give her a heart-felt card with an enclosed letter letting her know how you feel and that there's always a place for her in your home and heart.

I would include her in on family activities, ask her opinion on things. Maybe have a picture of her and put it up with the family photos of your other kids.

Sounds like this girl is afraid to even take up space.

One thing that occured to me is that she may be at risk for getting pregnant, just to have somthing of her own to love. She may be vulnerable to sexual overtures from men, as having a man persue her may make her feel wanted.

This girl has found a wonderful ally in you. Sounds like she has a fighting chance.


78 Posts

If she feels like a part of your family, make her part....legally.. if after talking with her, that is something she would like as well. I have a friend who adopted a girl who was 18, she fits in just like the rest of the girls in that family and now that she is married and has a child, my friend is very proud of her new grandchildren.

Mimi2RN, ASN, RN

1,142 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

I agree with longtermcarern. She is still a kid, who has had a horrible start. If you could see your way to adopting her (a very big step) you may see her blossom. No-one has ever cared about her enough to want her around. Sometimes people come into your lives in the strangest ways, but things are meant to be, and I don't think you or your husband would regret it.


Erin RN

396 Posts

Traviling lady

What a awesome post!! IMO, share with the child what you shared here then follow it up by showing her every day that you truly do love her and care about her. Most likely throughout her life she has heard words that were not followed by actions and she has a hard time with trusting what she hears...the only way to help her get over that is is to be consistent and loving. Sounds like all she needs and wants is a place to call home and a family so treat her as if she were part of yours. shower her with love but also give her responsibility and hold her accountable. Once she feels accepted she will most likely blossom..Be supportive of her interests and dreams..within reason of course. She may try to test you by doing things she knows are not right..if you downplay it then she may think aha I knew they didn't really care about me, no parent would allow that.

This is your chance to really make a difference in one persons life and along the way, it sounds like she will teach and your husband something about yourselves.. what a gift!!

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