DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister and I have always been close. I'm extremely loyal to her, and that's probably a gift and a curse. My sister hasn't made the best decisions in life, and last week that caused her to lose her kids.
Child Services asked me if I would be able to take them in since I'm her only sibling. I want to take them in because I've heard about the system and how harsh it can be. However, I have to be honest with myself. How am I going to take care of these kids? I'm still learning about life myself. I'm only 22; I don't know the first thing about being somebody's mom.
Everyone around me is saying to "do what's right." But what is right? On one hand, I know it would be wrong to leave these kids in the system and let them be removed from everything they know. On the other hand, it would be wrong to take them in, knowing that I know very little about being a mother. My heart is telling me to take them in and let God handle it from there. My mind is telling me to really weigh all of my options and be honest about the life I could give them.
Do I take them in? Or do I work with Child Services to find them a suitable family? How do I explain either choice to my sister? -- Confused, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR CONFUSED: Talk to your spiritual adviser and to the Department of Child Services. Learn as much as you can about your options -- including what support could be available for you to take care of the children as well as how you might participate in child placement. Meditate on your decision.
Your sister is the one who has been negligent. If you do not believe you can properly care for them, trust your instincts. This is a heart-wrenching situation. If you can't take care of them, do your best to find a legal way to stay in touch with them.