I found this situation interesting. A 16 yr old in a kinship adoption (by grandparents) wants to go back to her biological mother. She recently came out as pan (Pantheism is the philosophical religious belief that reality, the universe and the cosmos are identical to divinity and a supreme being or entity) and she wants to study witchcraft and her grandparents are strongly Catholic, therefore this goes against their beliefs. Personally, I can relate. I remember having a curiosity about Wicca when I was a teenager and looked into such alternative spiritualities more deeply when I was much older.
A reasonable response was this – living with people that do not support her beliefs can do a lot more harm in two years (when she would be 18). She may not be here in 2 years, if she has to endure not being able to be her true self. Forcing her to stay there could end her life. She needs supportive people around her, while she freely explores her own spiritual possibilities.
This young woman is the niece of the husband of the woman who is seeking to be supportive of her, She adds – she’s not studying it to fully commit, she just wants to be able to read about it and he grandparents totally flipped out. She was only curious about it and she likes to read and learn about different things.
Someone else noted (which I also already understood) – witchcraft is an actual religion called Wicca. Surely 16 is old enough for religious freedom.
A foster parent of teens writes – if she leaves and goes back to mom, there’s basically nothing the state can do to intervene. The brilliant and frustrating thing about teenagers is that NO ONE can force them to do anything, which is both a strength and a weakness. As long as she communicates where she is and doesn’t cross state lines (which could open up charges of kidnapping), it’s unlikely anything will happen. The adoptive grandparents can report her as a runaway and call for a wellness check, but as long as the teen and mom are found to be okay, they won’t remove her. The more complicated aspect would be getting her identifying documents from her adoptive grandparents. Sometimes these documents are “held hostage” in order to manipulate the situation. Then, there are all the times she will need a parent-guardian signature until she is 18. Ideally, the grandparents would acquiesce in order to save their relationship with their granddaughter and be willing to set up a legal guardianship for her mom.
I did look into the state in question, Florida – and found this legal information at Law for Families LINK re: Florida Laws About Moving Out of Your Parents’ Home – Florida minors who want to move out of their parents’ home will find very limited options. Emancipation guidelines stipulate that the minor must be at least 16 years old, able to display a clear need to be emancipated and also have both parents or guardian’s permission. Even if a minor meets all those requirements, a judge makes the final ruling. The only other option for a child to legally move out of a parents’ home in Florida is turning 18, at which point that child is a legal adult.
Another noted the honest truth – Millions of foster youth and adoptees “vanish” and they never ever look for us. She’s just another number in that figure except she would actually be home. Is it legally bad advice? Yes. But lots of us do it and then just move on to the next part of our life. My cousins were kin adopted from foster care but one left at 16 even though she was still involved with the system and still nothing. The other waited until enlistment age and moved out that way. Adoptees don’t usually have active and ongoing supervision like foster youth and can slip under radars easier in that age bracket.