Fostering Child of SZ (Kinship care)

My sister as Disorganized SZ and she is pregnant. Initially diagnosed age 19 after attending a party with friends (drugs?). First diagnosis was Bipolar, Schizoaffective, and now upgraded to Disorganized SZ. I am concerned at all of the various diagnosis and how she is rapidly declining but she refuses treatment.

Anyway, she is pregnant and has been refusing prenatal treatment. She has been getting Abilify Mainena shots which I read can cause the baby to have drug withdrawl when born. She tried to abort then changed her mind, later tried to self abort. No one knows how far along she is because she denies that she is pregnant. Although, I believe she is about 5-6months pregnant. The suspected father also has SZ, although who knows if he is even the father. Previously she adopted out 2 healthy/normal children as I was to young to care for them. They are both well and in good families.

This time around I am considering fostering the child (cant afford adoption fee’s) but I am honestly afraid of the childs chances of being special needs. I have a degree in mental health and work in the field and it is very stressful in addition to raising my own children. I am not sure what my question is since I know that there is no way to really know what I am getting into until it happens. As a sister of a SZ person I can say that I have carried survivors guilt and shame. There was family history of trauma and abuse and I was told this was the trigger to her diagnosis. I am hoping that by bringing this child into a trauma free home that some how I can help the child to beat the 40% statistical chance of developing mental illness (both parents have SZ).

Maybe my question is if any of you have the same experience? Maybe im just ready for support for that survivors shame and guilt…although I am not without anxiety! Thanks for listening!

That’s a complicated scenario. If the other two children have been adopted out and your sister is willing, I would say she should give this child up as well. If the child is in an environment completely removed it seems there would be a better chance for stability. I wish all of you well.

Thank you, I am 99% positive she will sign the child over to me. Yes it is very complicated.

From very, very far outside, from an anonymous person who cannot imagine what you are going through, I’m going to write, you are facing two very different questions:

  1. Do I foster (and possibly eventually adopt) a child?

  2. How do I cope with survivor’s guilt?

I think these two questions are a million miles apart in parallel lines, but might both be so emotional and also seem bound together by the love you have for your sister. I hope you are able to discern in your heart what is best for you and your whole family because there truly is no simple or correct answer. Best wishes to all of you.

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As a person who has taken on this exact situation, listen to your heart. Yes there are bad days and I am sure many more to come. All I have to do is sit back and imagine what would her life be like without us, and it becomes clear. Would not trade her for anything!!!

Thank you for putting that into perspective for me. On point! It is amazing how our emotions can confuse and blind us to understanding our own thoughts.

It gives me comfort knowing that I am not alone. Thank you for responding. I wish our families peace and love during this journey