David pulled the same disappearing act again this weekend. I’m really not fighting it anymore. He seemed to sense the difference when I picked him up at youth group. He asked me a lot of questions about independent living services from the permanency program. David is definitely leaning towards moving out this summer. Jose told me that he spent the weekend looking at apartments with Robert and another young man.
David is really trying to make the situation one of the agency making unreasonable demands and so thereby forcing him to leave. No one is playing though. The requirements for staying are to do well in school (passing classes would be accepted), get a job and save money, and respect the family.
In any case, I am actually much more about all this. He will stay or he will go. I am just trying to keep my relationship with him positive in either case. I maximize his chances of staying if I am not pressuring him. I have been thinking a lot recently about the differences between raising the birth kids and raising the foster kids. When I ask myself if I am treating them equally I start to feel guilty. When I think just about what Carl or David needs, I don't.
For a while I was trying so hard to keep David another year. I wanted the social workers to try as hard for that goal. Now I am seeing things differently. David took care of himself and his brothers through most of his childhood. He has been looking forward to emancipation for quite a while and it was always unlikely that he would stay past his first year. I now wonder how much of the apparent conflict between David and the program (and me) is David's doing. If David can get everyone to be angry and demanding he can walk away guilt free. He did not make a bad decision; we were being unreasonable. I am very comfortable now with my more relaxed approach and I am pleased that now that I am no longer bothered about how much time David spends in The City the social workers do not think it is worth fighting about either (I suspect they only ever cared about David having a job and our family feeling respected and not taken advantage of).
Anyway, I have not stopped hoping that David will stay, but I am definitely not expecting it.
David's birthday was the weekend following this. Jose told me that David was looking at apartments. What he did not tell me was that Robert and the other young man were actually moving into one that David in particular wanted. Right before we had our good and friendly conversation he had been telling everyone at the youth group that he was going to be moving the next weekend. He was about to be kicked out.
David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 44: The Money