Neighbor Girl Update

A blog reader mentioned that I hadn’t said much about Neighbor Girl lately.  She is right.  I haven’t.  Mainly because there is very little to say.

I don’t really see her much anymore.  Oh, I guess that’s wrong.  I do see her.  She just doesn’t come over for the day like she used to.  I see her walking down the street and wave.

I had told you earlier that there was a chance that three cousins, who were taken away from their mom, wound up in foster care and that Neighbor Girl’s older sister was trying to get custody of them..well it happened.  A seven, twelve and fourteen year old are now living there with Neighbor Girl’s family.

During that process the oldest sister asked if I would care for the youngest cousin and I said no.  I am already full with childcare kids.  She wanted strange hours and at times wouldn’t pick up until 11:30pm.  She doesn’t have a permanent schedule.  Nope.  I wasn’t up for that and honestly, I didn’t feel that her having the kids was really in anyone’s best interest.  They all had been over here and the kids didn’t listen to her at all.  I was already worried about Neighbor Girl.

Two weeks ago Kalissa and I took Carver and the dogs on a walk.  Neighbor Girl and her 14 year old cousin were floating in the town river on an inner tube.  The cousin was smoking….I’ve also seen the 12 year old cousin smoking.  This is who Neighbor Girl spends all her time with now…they aren’t supervised or checked on.

A month or so ago I got a chance to talk to Neighbor Girl’s older brother.  He’s in high school and was working to figure out how he could move out of the house.  He didn’t think there was enough room for him at the house anymore.  That about broke my heart.  How hard to be 17 and feel like there isn’t room for you in your own home.

Neighbor Girl stopped by not too long ago.  It was 10 in the morning on a Thursday.  She was with her cousin.  No one was awake at their house.  She had a pair of shorts and a tank top with her.  Both had a hole and she wanted me to patch them.


I, of course, did.

I think that my house isn’t fun for her anymore.  Who would pick here where you have to follow rules and be accountable when you could run the town and do what you want?  If a kid had a chance to hang with big kids who were “risky” enough to smoke, why would a person choose to be at my house that’s filled with childcare kids?

Kalissa was really worried that I would be upset with the turn of events…Hubby was really worried about me too…I think some of you blog readers were worried I was getting too attached too.  I am okay.  My house and heart are still very open and here for her when and if she comes around.  In a heartbeat she could live with us on a permanent basis if needed as long as she’s willing to follow some rules.  I made boundaries for myself from the beginning.  I was doing things for her.  I wasn’t doing any of this because I had an empty spot in me that I was trying to fill.  My life is complete as is.  I was trying to help fill needs she had not needs I had.  That made this break much easier to take.

I miss her and want only the best for her.  I’m scared for her.  I’m scared for her family.  I feel like more problems will be coming their way…but I don’t have the power to stop or change that.  Sadly some things have to be learned the hard way…and eventually choices come back and bite us in the butt.

I’ll admit, I had so hoped she’d come over this summer and we could master flash cards and get ahead with her reading.  It was summer where we could have made a difference but it didn’t happen and I frankly don’t think it will.  I’m really sad that it is a lost summer….sad that she’s around people who don’t make smart choices and their choices will likely impact Neighbor Girl.

I have a hope that school will start again and somehow she’ll find her way back…who knows….and that’s the Neighbor Girl update.

15 thoughts on “Neighbor Girl Update”

  1. Thank you for sharing this update. I trust that you know what you’re doing, Jo. I’ve been in similar situations and know how important the pushback against a boundary is. It’s how kids discover who loves them, in the end.

  2. I am sure your county has Social Services and Child Protective Services. I hope you can make a report on this situation ASAP. This is clearly child neglect. This little girl should not be in this home.

  3. I was wondering how she was doing but did not want to pry. I’m glad that you have seen her and that she still came to you for some help with her clothes, she is making contact. It is sad to hear about the chaos in her home right now and I hope it doesn’t harm her in the long run. How sad that her brother is feeling less welcomed in his own home. I shall keep them in my prayers for a good outcome, life can be hard.

  4. So sad that all of these children are living in this situation. You have done what you were able to do. She knows that you care about her. You are so wise to know where your boundaries need to be. Bless you, Jo.

  5. Thanks for the update Jo. I feel for this girl and her 17-year-old brother. I was in the same situation when I was a child and left home at 17. Blood is not always thicker than water and my sister and I should have been removed from our parent’s home. We both decided we didn’t want to be like them and pulled ourselves out of that ditch. I can say that at 59 and 61 my sister and I have happy successful lives and the respect of our children – something our parents never had.

  6. so sorry this is happening. we did foster care at one time. I always like to think the time the kids spent with us, however short the time, may have made a difference in later years. that may have been the high light of their lives.

  7. Sorry to hear about Neighbor Girl and the path her life is taking. It’s hard to watch, but she will always remember you fondly and the times she had with you. Hugs to you

  8. Your positive influence on neighbor girl will remain . One day she may rely on it more than you will ever know.God bless you and her.

  9. Thank you for the update. The situation is so sad but she is so very lucky to have kind and loving neighbors. But sometimes there comes a time when you have to step back and review the situation.

  10. Whatever kindness you show to this girl may be a monumental moment for her. Keep the door open. Sometimes the small things we do make a tremendous difference in other people’s lives.

  11. Like you I believe boundary setting is important. Without boundaries she would have learned that there were in fact not any which would not serve her well in the future. You have done so very much for this girl and all you have done should give her a better chance for a better life than she would have had without you.

  12. You are such a wonderful person. Hopefully what you did in the past for neighbor girl will help her to realize that what is going on in her life right now is not really in her best interest. Then she will be back on your doorstep for more of you kindness and good example!

  13. Oh Jo , I have wondered about your neighbor girl as well as your followers. Such a hard situation to see happening, I have mentored child in the past, trying to make a difference in their lives. Sometimes it is rewarding, and sometimes it is heartbreaking. To see””the call of the wild” pull them back from what they could be. My step children would spend the summer with us, coming from Texas and a whole different lifestyle. My heart ached for them. Trying to teach right from wrong , taking them to church, living a good example. Loving them as if they were my own. Sewing complete wardrobes, filling closets and dressers. I always I would make a difference in their lives. What I learned is that you can not undo in 3 months at they have lived for 9 months. The excitement of alcohol, drugs, dishonesty is stronger than living the good life. My 1st husband was involved in their lives, as much as the kids hated that….history repeats itself. There are times I wonder if I made a difference in their lives. All I know for sure is that my heart was in the right place, and I did the right thing. Hang in there Jo and remember there are things in life we have no control, we have to learn to accept that. Love your blog.

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