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SIL wants to give guardianship of Nephew to us

3LittleDragonflies's picture

SIL and I got pregnant a few months apart. Nephew is stb2.
A few days ago, I made a joke that SIL could just leave Nstb2 with DH and I permanently since we love him so much. She shrugged and said "Okay". I told her don't joke, I'd take her up on it. She said "No, I'm serious, take him." :jawdrop: Sadly, this doesn't really surprise me. SIL barely has a relationship with him and has trouble caring for him (CPS has been involved twice for neglect). We had a talk with her and BMIL today. SIL flat out said she wants to get to go live her life and do what she wants and go to parties and out with her boyfriend as much as she wants. She never really bonded with Nstb2 and told me that the other day she was supposed to be taking care of him and screamed at him that he was just a little a--hole and to shut the f--- up. She recognizes that that isn't motherly behavior (she wasn't in a situation that she was overwhelmed, she was watching him for 10 minutes while her mother went to the store).
BMIL says she feels like she failed another son. DH told her that 1) Nstb2 is NOT her son (repeatedly. Even had to interrupt her when he'd ask SIL something and BMIL would attempt to reply) 2) Giving him to his father, as much as it may have sucked for her, was the best decision she ever made. He told her (for the first time ever) that he knew about the neglect she had committed when he was an infant. She was mad that he knew, until he told her BIL had told him before he died. BIL had also shown DH the copy of DH's medical report showing how bad the neglect had been (he was malnourished, had a horrible diaper rash, a flat spot on the back of his head, and several other signs of severe neglect). He also reminded her that she had been evicted 15 times in 20 years, and he had only moved 2 times as a child. He had had a better life with his father and that was the best thing she could have done for him. He also told her that she should be more worried about failing her daughter by forcing her to take care of a child she has said she doesn't want the responsibility of.
Nstb2's father is one of DH's coworkers and is a druggie and bounces from couch to couch. He's all for us having guardianship, because SIL won't answer his phone calls. We have told him that he has to be sober for 24 hours before he visits, but that he can have visits at our house if he'd like. He was very excited about the prospect.

I'm still in shock a little. Financially, this is going to hurt us a little. I'm going to have to figure out what to do in November when I go back to school and in January when I go back to work. As it is, SIL is dropping Nstb2 off here at 2 tomorrow for me to watch while she is at work. As of Friday, she's going to leave him here for 2 weeks and have visits with him. I suggested that if she doesn't want to change her mind, that we continue it for 2 months before I file for guardianship. Anyone go through this before?? Any advice?


doll faced sm's picture

I agree with this. If you simply take guardianship without actually adopting him, you run the risk of having the child's mom and dad in and out of his (and your) life, not because they've actually changed and want him now, but because they think they do.

3LittleDragonflies's picture

Thank you stepdown. Neither of Nstb2's parents is necessarily bad, but they can't give him a good life and (unlike most) they know it. I'm totally for SIL eventually straightening up and taking Nstb2 back, but I'm fully prepared for the fact that he probably will live with me until he's in his early twenties. Financially, as I said, this will only hurt us a little, nothing tapping my inheritance won't fix. We also plan to go after SIL and the biofather both for child support (and keep track to make sure it all goes toward Nstb2)

doll faced sm's picture

there are so many young couples that want a child, he would be adopted in not time

I don't necessarily agree with this; most young couples want to adopt an infant; it's easier to form a bond if you have the baby from the start. This desire leads many couples to wait for years or to adopt from outside of the US.

Otherwise, I think your post is a spot-on example of what commonly happens in these type situations. Sad

3LittleDragonflies's picture

There may be many young couples out there who want a child but you telling me to have him put up for adoption is like telling me to have one of my own kids put up. He and my BD2 are extremely close. The only way we can separate them is if Nstb2 is with his grandmother and BD2 is with us. It would literally break my entire family's heart not to have him in our lives. SIL is not open to out of family adoption, BMIL's mother has already been trying to talk her into that and she refuses.
SIL will probably be in and out of our lives and Nstb2's life either way. She already is. She regularly doesn't see him for days because she goes to work at 2, leaves work with her boyfriend, and goes out to party. She doesn't have a drug problem, she just wants to go out and have fun instead of taking care of her child. She has a mentality of being about 16. Literally. She's stuck there. Hasn't changed in the 3 years I've known her.
I also have put into the paperwork that she HAS to call ahead and get approval for a visit and I only have to guarantee her 2 visits a week. In order for her to get Nstb2 back, the courts say he will have to be "reintegrated into her house over a period of 6 months supervised by the Department of Human Services". She also has to first meet criteria agreed on in the paperwork (Drug-free household, Gainful employment, living on her own in a new residence, complete parenting classes, keep her house clean for 6 months, pay her rent and utilities on time for 6 months)
The biofather, like I said, is one of DH's co-workers. He has another child that he doesn't see. He's flat out said he doesn't want custody if we have guardianship because he can't take care of Nstb2 and he knows it and at least this way he'll be able to know how his son is doing. He doesn't bother SIL so I doubt he'll bother us. The paperwork is the same for him except for visitation: He has 1 visit on Saturday from 12p-5p at our house. If he shows up high he knows I won't hesitate to call the cops (I've done it before and scared him sober for quite a while).
The only one I'm honestly worried about is BMIL. She oversteps regularly and gets pissed if I say she can't take BD2 AND NBD (1 month old) with her somewhere without me (I trust her about as far as I can throw her... she's a BIG woman and I'm a weakling...). DH and SIL regularly have to remind her that she isn't Nstb2's mother. She'd be the one to show up unannounced and cause a scene. I give it 1, maybe 2 times of me telling her "No, you have to have called ahead and asked permission first" then threatening to call her mother, before she figures it out.

furkidsforme's picture

I wouldn't do it unless they surrendered all parental rights, you adopted, and moved FAR FAR away from both biological parents.

Otherwise, this mess will be in your life every single day, and every year or so the BM or BF will decide they want to play Mommeeeee or Dadddeeeee.

Edited to add: maybe it wasn't meant to come off this way, but your post reads with a casualness of adopting a dog from the pound. This isn't a PUPPY. There will be real, serious, and HARD consequences. Future legal battles, lots of drama, and crazy people.

3LittleDragonflies's picture

I know my nephew is not a puppy! I know there will be lots of drama and crazy people... there already are! I already deal with these people on a *daily* basis. The grand total of what taking guardianship will do is give me a little legal power over the child who is already pretty much living at my house!! That's why I'm so casual about it, it won't change anything in my life except my legal ability to say "No, you can not bring him back to your filthy house."
I highly doubt the biofather will ever want to play Daddy. He is just happy to get to see him 5 hours a week. He knows he can't take care of Nstb2 and that we will. He'd rather play Skyrim...
SIL is getting plenty of time (in her mind) to "Play Mommy" during the month. If she eventually straightens up and can be a parent, I'll gladly reintegrate Nephew into her home. Probably not going to happen though.

I love how you say I'm being casual but your first line was telling me to sever his ties to his mother, adopt him, and move far far away... let me translate that for you "Drop everything, family, friends, church, work, life. Move away from DH's daughter. Adopt a child and take him and my children away from the stable home we have now. Throw my family into complete turmoil"

Boy, how you can say I'm being casual...