DEAR ABBY: Thank you for instructing "Pulled in Two in California" (Nov. 1) to stick by her decision to keep a troubled child out of the system. As a newly licensed educator, I find the attitude of the granddaughter to be indicative of our times. It appears the girl's mother has completely dropped the ball.
Today, sadly, mediocrity is the norm. How can we expect better from our children if those who are supposed to teach them, both at home and at school, settle for so little? Grandma should stand firm. By doing so, she'll teach her granddaughter a long overdue lesson. -- TEACHER IN ALABAMA
DEAR TEACHER: I agree with you about the importance of adults teaching by example. In this case, it could be the defining moment in her foster child's life. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I was 18 when my husband's 11-year-old sister moved in with us. Their parents are convicted drug addicts who never had time for their children. I shudder to think about where "Kim" might be if we hadn't taken her.
Her parents didn't make her go to school because they didn't feel like getting up to take her. She had no rules and got her own way so she would leave them alone. We had a hard time with her at first because she didn't want to follow rules.
Kim is now 17, a junior in high school and has made the honor roll for the first time since she was in grammar school. She is learning that her life is not defined by her parents' actions. She's happy, healthy and well-mannered, and I'm proud of her.
"Pulled in Two" is doing the right thing. Kids can't control what they're born into, but we can help them control what they become by not giving up on them. -- KIM'S 23-YEAR-OLD "MOM" IN ARKANSAS
DEAR ABBY: That grandmother needs to get herself to a foster/adoption parent support group or a therapist who specializes in adoption. Her local foster/adoption agency can provide a contact. I also suggest Adoptive Families magazine, which is online. -- DIANE IN CASTLETON, N.Y.
DEAR ABBY: Your reply to "Pulled in Two" was excellent. It underscored that foster youth and former foster youth need stable influences in their lives. The last thing that young girl needs is for someone else to abandon her, as her mother and former best friend have.
I want to make you and your readers aware of a full five-year scholarship program for former foster youth and emancipated minors. It's called Guardian Scholars, and it's at Cal State-Fullerton. The program provides housing, tuition and books to youth who would likely not otherwise have the chance to further their education.
This model is being implemented on campuses throughout California and in other states as well. The success rate is excellent, and because my wife works in the program, we have had the privilege of meeting dozens of truly amazing young people. -- ROGER K., BREA, CALIF.