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Family 411: Kinship care

Kinship care and reintroducing a child to a parent (WSYX)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) - Relatives often step up to care for a child whose parents are unable or unwilling to do so. It's called kinship care. But when is a good time to reintroduce the

Child to their biological mom and dad?

One family was faced with that dilemma after taking care of a baby girl.

A text message with a special request set the wheels in motion. "I was 6 months pregnant with our 3rd child, Isabella, and I got a text that my cousin had had a baby and the baby wouldn't be going home with mom."

Mindy Ross honored the request for prayers then realized the answer was quite clear. "The hours passed and I looked up from my big ol' round belly and I looked around our house and I saw a home that was prepared for a baby girl."

Children of all ages end up in foster or kinship care for different reasons. "Often times, it's substance abuse that is the problem with the biological parent that parent might be unable to care for the child due to primary mental illness or severe medical problems."

Psychiatrist Megan Schabbing says regardless of the circumstance, it's important to give the child a secure and loving home. "They can have a lot of trouble with sleep with behavior."

Mindy and Justin welcomed Temprince at just two weeks old. Nine months later, the couple gained full legal custody.

Temprince is about to turn six. "It was a very very busy season of life and we just did what we had to do."

Dr. Schabbing says more than half the children in kinship or foster care return to their original homes.

It all depends on the child, the situation and stability of their biological parent. "In a perfect scenario, there would be a calendar with a predictable visitation schedule for the child."

Every Sunday for the first six months, Mindy says Temprince's biological mom visited with her daughter. Mindy says they lost touch after that. "We show her a picture and say this is the mommy you had for a little bit and now I'm mommy but this woman is still going to be in your life."

Adoption is in the cards for Justin and Mindy. They also plan to reintroduce Temprince to her biological mom. "She'll always be a Ross she'll always be with us but we hope she'll continue that relationship."

Mindy and Justin encourage families to embrace what can be a rewarding experience. "Every child needs to have a somebody whether it's a mom or a dad or a grandma or a grandpa or a cousin or a sister every child should have somebody who commits to them for life."

Dr. Schabbing says it's important to talk to a pediatrician right away when taking on a child in kinship or foster care, and possibly counseling outside the home to help with the transition.

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