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-   -   My sister's child needs a home. *Update in original (http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1448361)

Palooka 09-28-2012 01:56 PM

---------update---------

Just met with mom, sisters and niece. Well, actually only our mom and sister #1 (niece's mother), because sister #2 (the one who agreed to adopt niece, then called me asking if I would do it) couldn't manage the 2 hour drive to meet us, and also didn't answer her phone. Sister #2 hasn't answered her phone once in the 3 weeks since she called and asked me to adopt this little girl. Not. One. Time. :banghead:

Anyway, the little girl is really thriving with my mom, and it sort of reminded me of the many ways my mom was a great mom to me. At 2.5 years old she can identify nearly every letter and numbers through 10, and she is very creative and funny. She is very verbal and outgoing, and I found her extremely well behaved (and I'm pretty darn tough). Honestly I would LOVE to have a daughter as sweet and clever as she is. If in the future I have a daughter exactly like her I would be thrilled. But, as I explained to my mom and sister, we aren't ready to have a 2.5 year old daughter right now. Hubby and I only just had our 2 year wedding anniversary. Our baby doesn't even say Mama or Dadda yet. As a married couple and as parents we are not ready to take the plunge into having an older child, and financially it would be a big burden. Also, my mom is not okay with us potentially moving out of the country, and our atheism is a concern for them (though not as concerning as wanting to move further away than we already are). My mom and Sister #1 seemed a little sad, but surprisingly they agreed that it just wasn't a good fit for us. Now I'm a bit sad about it actually, because she is such a wonderful little girl.
But I know this is the right decision for me and my family.

So we went on to discuss next steps, and things got a little more muddled.

- It turns out Sister #1 never formally had the father relinquish paternal rights, and because she is on government assistance they have gone after him for child support. I don't know how any of this works, but that makes me worry that when she passes he could challenge the will and try to gain custody in order to collect assistance. I saw that happen with another one of her daughters--the dad fought for and easily gained custody, then let the daughter live in absolute squalor while he collected every freeby he could get.

- Mom and Sister(s) hated the idea of open adoption until I explained it could be with someone they know already, like through their church. That got them thinking about people who might want to adopt her, and it sounded promising. But they are both completely unwilling to part with her until their health has declined to the point of not being able to physically care for her any longer. They feel this way in general, even if i were offering to take her now they wouldn't let her go until they decide they can't care for her any longer. That could be next week, or it could be in 5 years. In 5 years the pool of eager applicants could be significantly smaller, and they understood that, but they are so attached to the little girl that they won't let her go until the situation is dire. I get it. I truly do. If I were terminally ill there is no way in heck I would give up the last bit of time I have with my son. But as far as I can see the situation is already dire. Sister #1 is in the hospital every week or so, and our mother has admitted she no longer tells the daughter "mommy will be okay" because she half expects that she won't make it. Our mom does a great job raising this little girl on a mental and emotional level, but if CPS saw her living conditions they would probably have her removed. The home is beyond filthy, there's moldy food left about and still being eaten, the carpet is permanently soiled from animals urinating and defecating on it for years, there are ants everywhere, and my mom's hoarding has made several areas downright dangerous as mountains of clutter could quite easily crash down on this little girl's head. If you've ever seen an episode of Hoarders, I would put this at about a 6 or 7 on a 10 point Hoarder's scale... and none of those homes were appropriate for kids. The last time I opened the linen closet there were flees jumping around having a party on all the sheets, and my mom truly didn't notice them. Soooo... yeah, I don't like that. :(

Anyway, they agreed to start building a relationship with people at the church who would be interested in adopting her "someday" since they can't/won't put a time on it. I'm hoping they follow through and have a gradual transition to a good family they love and trust. We'll see.

---------first post---------

I don't know if I'm a good enough person to do this. I want to be. But this is hard. This is not in our plan.

Sister 1 has 3 kids, all different daddies and out of wedlock. She has been diabetic since 14, but never taken responsibility for herself or her health. She drank and abused drugs, she ate whatever she wanted and then od'd on insulin. Now she's 34, blind, completely dependent on pain meds and has 0 kindey function but no longer able to tolerate her dialysis. If she can't handle dialysis anymore (and she's failed to for the past 3 days) that's it.

I barely know my sister. We have the same mother but different fathers. She moved out when I was 10 years old, we've gone years without speaking, not out of anger but because we just have nothing to say. I cared for her eldest daughter for 6 months when she was born, then she dumped the baby with the dad and lost custody. I was only a teenager myself, but I hated her for that. Then she declined even visitation with her second daughter. Now she has a 2.5 year old whom I have met only once, whose dad kicked out my sister when she got pregnant and he's had nothing to do with his daughter. If (when) my sister passes there will be no one in my family who can care for this little girl.

I want to be the good person who takes in a little girl in need of a mommy. My family has asked me to and I know it's me or foster care. If I believed in God I would be praying right now for the strength to be that person.

But I don't want to do this.

My husband and I planned our lives so carefully, we married after 5 years together, we waited to have a baby until we felt ready. We love our perfect little family of 3. We are teaching our baby different languages, we are planning a trip to Europe. We are trying to pay off our debt so we can move out of the country for a few years. We have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, to give our baby everything. We are not wealthy but we have been responsible because we have dreams. And frankly, I've been a mommy for only 8 months but I don't feel like anyone else's mommy, I feel like my baby's mommy. Does that make sense? Like I see other babies and I think oh, that baby is nice, but it isn't my baby. I don't know my niece, I'm sure she is a lovely little girl, but she isn't my baby and I'm terrified I wouldn't love her like I love my son. I know that sounds awful.

And I'm angry at her mother, who never took responsibility for herself or her children, who has time after time put them in dangerous situations and then begged sympathy for her own troubles. She is a neglectful and selfish person, and we are connected only by a shared childhood and a shared womb. I want her daughter to have a good and happy life, but how can I raise a child when I am this angry at her mother, even as her mother is nearing death? What kind of person am I? :brokenheart:

I just need someone to tell me they've done this before? That they've loved another baby, and that I wouldn't be making this child's life worse by taking her in. :( Mainly, I just want to know that I can love this little girl.

Chasing Zen 09-28-2012 02:11 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
I have Faith in you. How does your husband feel about this?

danielle 09-28-2012 02:17 PM

Just so you know, I think most second time mamas have doubts when pregnant. It's part of the adjustment process. Life doesn't always go as planned and we adapt best as we can.

More than anything, I just wanted to wish you the best of luck in making a decision you can be comfortable with.

Palooka 09-28-2012 02:19 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chasing Zen (Post 15744010)
I have Faith in you. How does your husband feel about this?

We have talked about it a little, but always hypothetically. We knew my sister was sick, we knew the rest of my family is also not well (sister 2 has 3 teenagers and a husband with terminal brain cancer, my mom is caring for my 97 year old father, and my brother is an unmarried alcoholic). No one had asked us before, but hubby and I talked about it. We had just sort of agreed that it would be hard but we would make it work.

Today I got the call, and today after work we are going to have to discuss it for real, and the reality is what's freaking me out. And I think my hubby also feels like we worked hard to earn this family that we wanted, and now it might change. I know my niece didn't do anything wrong, and that she deserves a good home, and that it's unfair to her as well. But my sister is like a stranger to us both, so it feels like someone off the street asking us to take in their child.

thekuan 09-28-2012 02:24 PM

My sister in law has done this. She has her own, and she took in a relative who's family had passed.

She loves them both as much as any parent could, and I've never heard her refer to the relative as anything but her daughter.

Come to think of it, I have a friend who had 3 of her own and took in her sisters daughter.

Anyway, yes, I've seen it with my own eyes. These children feel loved, and you wouldn't know any different that they started out with another family.

If that child comes to you, your heart will make room. Good luck.

rumblepurr 09-28-2012 02:31 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
:hugs:
Believe it or not lots of people feel this way when they get pregnant with baby #2. They ask, "How could I love another person as much as I love my first child?" The truth is your heart simply expands and grows. Your heart is not a small chamber that only holds x amount of love. Your heart has an infinite capacity if you allow it to grow.

I'm a little surprised that this never crossed your mind before, when you were making plans for your future. What if your sister had lived a perfect life and died in a car accident, and you were asked to take in her children, would you feel differently? I have several siblings and many nieces and nephews. There is an understanding that if someone died, their children would become ours. We have made plan B if this ever happens. Despite how they have lived their lives it isn't the child's fault if the parent dies. Where does your child go if you and your DH die? Can you think about it in those terms? To give to this child what you would want someone to give to your child if you died?

I don't blame you for feeling angry that she your sister messed her life up so badly that she is going to die. I would be angry if one of my sibs did that to, simply because deep down I loved them and want them to be a good, whole person and live a long life taking care of their kids.

It's not the kids fault her mom didn't take care of herself. Don't think of your niece as a burden, but as a chance to change her life for the better and as a daughter. If you can do that, you will be an amazing parent for her.

luv2bAmomma 09-28-2012 02:37 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
My mom has my nephew(my sister made some poor choices).She takes care of him just like he was hers.I also had to ask myself this same question when he was born but luckilly my mom was able to take care of him.I don't know if I could have done it, it is a great resonsibility and I felt like why should Ihave to pay for my sisters mistakes. Good luck mama.

Tordreamer 09-28-2012 02:52 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
I don't blame you at all for your feelings. You have been put in a very difficult place. I don't blame you for being very angry with your sister. Shame on her for not putting her children first. I think the most important thing you have to ask yourself is can you raise her child without resentment? If the answer is yes, do it. It will work and your family will be better for it even if its out of your current plan. If the answer is no (and you are not a horrible person if you can't) then don't try. It simply won't work. If your sister will sign away rights (or passes) the child will be eligible for adoption and is fully adoptable. I think when it comes down to it you will love this child like your own. Its difficult not to love a young innocent child who has been dealt such a poor hand! Hearts grow easily!

katengrace 09-28-2012 02:59 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
A lot of moms feel this way with subsequent children...totally normal. And I get that you have a plan for your family, but could you live with yourself knowing that this little girl who sounds like she already has a pretty crappy life goes to some stranger in foster care? What her mom has done in the past is not her fault..she is an innocent child who needs a family to love her. Honestly if it were me I wouldn't think twice in adopting her. There are many families who adopt and love children they never "knew" very well.

waterisntsomething 09-28-2012 03:07 PM

Re: My sister's child needs a home.
 
I understand your fears an concerns. I see other babies and they are cute but my baby is always the best. At the same time I do believe that you just can't plan life out perfectly and if you try the universe will throw you a curve ball. I cna't tell you how to feel about it b/c we all have our own perspective on thing but if I were in a similar situation I would probably see it as an opportunity to help a little girl who needs love and help with my own personal growth. Stuff like that usually doesn't make your life worse.


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