I have been thinking a lot these past day about a very hard decision that has to be made. Strangely enough, it isn't mine to make, but rather that of my dad and step mom's.
For the last couple of years they have both been mentors to two inner city boys, Paul and Ron. It has been a rewarding but sometimes hard relationship to maintain, but I know my parents have really enjoyed the time they spend with the boys. I have been so impressed by their committment to them-- every week on Tuesdays and then some weekends they take the boys to various places, help them with schoolwork, and just spend quality time with them. Paul is a little older, maybe 13 or so, and prone to mood swings (as most 13 year-olds are). Paul is only 10 and quite a loveable young boy who still likes to hold Jan's hand when walking down the street.
Dad and Jan are both soon retiring and moving down to the Carolinas. Even though the move is still a year or so away, they have been preparing the boys for their departure.
This is where things get tricky.
Jan was recently over at Paul's house talking to his mom. His mom was saying how much Paul is going to miss them when they move down south, and Jan told her that they will miss him too, that he is a joy to be with. By the end of the conversation, Paul's mom had asked Jan if they would take Paul with them down south and be his guardians.
My parents are considering it, taking over as Paul's guardians and moving him down with them when they retire. The risks and rewards are both significant. To take on raising a 10 year old, after raising (between the two of them) four of their own kids, when they are supposed to be embarking on the journey of their retirement, is no easy decision. To know that they could positively influence a kid, who otherwise may not have many opportunities, is a soul wrenching decision.
I hope they do it.