This concern is universal, going far beyond the world of foster care or adoption. Every parent wants their child to be healthy and safe.
I found three cigarette butts in her wastebasket. How could I have missed it? I can usually tell when someone has been smoking. She must have stuck her head out the window to keep her room from getting that smell. Maybe she isn't smoking that much yet? Or is it that she isn't smoking that much here yet? I know that many, many kids try smoking. But it is sooo bad for her. I know that anything I say will go in one ear and out the other. That I will just seem old-fashioned, overbearing, or even hypocritical. But it IS bad. And, it IS still illegal at her age. Hot to mention that doing it is secret in her room is deceitful and actually dangerous to all of us. If she dumps an ashtray in her wastebasket, or smokes in her bed, or if she quickly throws one behind a dress to avoid being caught.... there so many ways that this can be a fire risk for the whole house. Help me find the words to talk with her. Help her see my fear for her, rather than anger. Help her hear me. Help us.
Excerpted from "The Caring Heart Speaks: Meditations for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents" by Gail Underwood Parker Artwork by Anna Parker David from the book cover.