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Stepdaughter died, younger stepdaughter struggling to care for her nephews and niece after getting custody. I am pregnant

NoIndieAunt's picture

My husband and I have been married for three years, together for ten. DH is 60.  I am 41. I am currently 16 weeks pregnant with our first child together, my first child ever. Prior to all this I had a causal and friendly relationship with both SDs.  

He had a daughter with his first ex wife who was 38. Both his first ex wife and SD38 were killed in a car accident in January  2020 caused by a drunk driver. 

He has three kids with his second ex wife.  SD31, SS27 and SS26. SS29 is single  SS27 just got engaged but lives and attendants university abroad.  SS26 is married with two kids, but lives abroad. 

 Late SD had absolutely no family on her mother's side.  DH had very little extended family.  
Late SD was a single mother by choice (via sperm donation) with twin boys age 7, a 5 year old boy, and a daughter who just turned two in March. 
BM was suppose to have custody according to legal documents, but as she also passed in the crash, custody issues had to be worked out.

SD38 had no close friends or a partner.  DH and I were awarded temporary custody to avoid the grandkids from being places into foster care, but DH is 60 and not up to raising four more children alone.
 I made it very clear to DH that I would leave him if he chose to pursue permanent custody of his grandkids, I did not sign up to raise someone else's children.  

As far as I know SD31 never had interest in children.  

SD31 was a flight attendant at the time of SD38's death and had been for years.   SD38 lived in the same town as SD31.  To avoid the stepgrandkids being placed into foster care. SD31 quit her job, and took a professional related to her educational background.  

She moved into a three bedroom rental, and changed her entire lifestyle.  Her mother stayed with her for four months to help her adjust, but in January 2021  left the country (same country SSs live in) 

SD31 is now constantly calling us for support.  She had ja custody of the four of SD38's kids since May 2020.  We had custody for months prior to that.  She contasntly begs DH to come stay with her and help take care of the kids at least once a week, calls for advice about things, calls crying in the middle of the night over very small things.

Every day since the middle of January she calls her father at least five times, she calls me at least three times a week.

I recognise how difficult all of this had been for SD31. However, she chose to pursue permanent custody.  I understand she feels she was pressured to do so to avoid stepgrandkids entering state care, but it was still her choice. 

I have started to decline her phone calls, and am now encouraging DH to let her handle some situations on her own. 

DH is making me keep quiet about my pregnancy to avoid upsetting SD31 right now, but I'm honestly at my wits end.  I did not sign up for any of this.  As selfish as it sounds, I want him to be happy and celebrating with me.


NoIndieAunt's picture

I know how cold I sound after reading this, I know SD31 is struggling, but I feel it's unfair for DH to set a precedent that he will be there for her all the time, when he won't be able to be long term. 

JRI's picture

I dont know the answer to this tragic situation but I know how you feel.  My unstable SD59's daughter, "C", has 2 boys, 5 and 3.  She is in a volatile relationship with the Baby Daddy.  She has already lost custody of the oldest boy, her dad is raising him.  Her dad is about 60 and his health is in decline.  His wife is detached from the boy.  My nightmare is that he would die and that "C"'s relationship would blow up.  I know the chances are slim and I'm being paranoid, but with SD59 so unhealtjy and unstable, and after having 3 SKs dumped on me, I'm so scared of any possible responsibility that i've purposely kept a distance and haven't formed a relationship with the boys.  Every once in awhile, my DH starts to circle around this topic but I refuse to even discuss it.  If that makes me cold, too, I'm guilty.  But I just can't face it.

For your situation, I wonder, are there any professionals who can advise?  I feel sorry for everyone involved.  It is tragic.



ndc's picture

I don't think helping with the kids once a week and taking 5 phone calls a week is "being there for her all the time."  SD didn't choose for her sister to die and to suddenly be the caregiver for 4 young and likely traumatized children.  She's been handling this situation for less than a year, while mourning the loss of her sister. Leaning on her dad for support seems pretty reasonable to me. I would hope that after she has gotten more experienced and comfortable with being a single mother of four, and is less overwhelmed by the huge changes in her life, she won't need as much help from her father (who appears to be her only close relative who is in the country).  I think being sympathetic to SD's temporary needs and frankly, grateful that she took the kids and saved you from having to leave your husband if he felt obligated to step in if no one else did, would be a good idea, at least for a time. 

That said, I think it's ridiculous for your husband to keep your pregnancy a secret, and I would refuse to go along with that.

NoIndieAunt's picture

DH wants us to keep it quiet for a few more weeks until SS27 is able to visit so that she will not be alone when she gets the news (supposedly at the end of April), because he believes it's going to be very hard on SD31.    He thinks having SS27 there when she finds out will be better for her emotionally.  

He framed his inability to take custody of GSKs because he is aging and not ready to parent again.

I believe she is going to be extremely bitter, and are both SSs and their partners.  

My issue is I don't believe SD31 will ever stop leaning on DH for help.  She half expects him to coparent with her for the foreseeable future, for us to babysit whenever as we are both retired, for him to be available to her 24/7


NoIndieAunt's picture

Sometimes we have to keep ourselves at a distance to keep ourselves sane.  I understand why you worry about it!  Honestly I never thought this would be my situation but with lack of extended family, I had worried in the past about eventualities with SD38's kids.  She was an amazing mother, and is missed but had no support network outside of her own mother and SD31 (who was more of a 'cool aunt' than an actual helper before all this).  

Both SD31 and GSSs are in therapy, custody is facilitated through social workers.  SD31 took parenting classes to prepare during the month's DH and I had temporary custody of the GSK. 

According to DH SD31 is grieving the life she built as a cabin crew member and single young person. She is also grieving her sister.  

DH is certain SD31 never wanted children, but she did not want GSKs to end up in state care and potentially be separated. DH feels guilty and part of me think SD31 is using that guilt to push him into talking to her all the time. 

JRI's picture

I totally understand SD31 grieving her single young life, I would be, too.  Four kids 7 and under -Wow.  Does she have enough daycare?  I'm guessing the 7yos are in school full time, or would be if not for covid.  Covid is probably making the whole situation worse, she's probably cooped up with them all instead of the usual school and nursery school arrangements.  Im glad they are all in therapy.

NoIndieAunt's picture

She is currently working from home.   All three boys go to school online three days a week, and in person two; but it's hard at them to really learn online at that age.  Step grandddaugter is not in daycare, but SD31 plans to get her in by July.  Her only respite from them is when DH watched them, though SD31's BM use to be there to help.

it was difficult because SD31's mother did not have an extremely close relationship with any of the kids before all this, as she is not their grandma, though all three boys have known her since birth.  Both DH's ex wives were good friends and SS26 and SS38's respective kids call(ed)both women grandma. 

SD31 is grieving SD38.  She's also grieving DH's first ex wife ad she was very very close to all DH's children despite only being SD38's mom. 

I know it's overwhelming for her.  Prior to all this she spent almost a decade in aviation, as a gate agent, and then a flight attendant flying all around with a very fast pace life.  

I feel bad that I am bitter towards SD31 right now, but I just wish DH was able to focus on me and my pregnancy.


shamds's picture

Still she needs to suck it up because its the choice she made is harsh. 

any of us parents and especially with multiple young minors of those ages who had to drastically change our lives because none of the other siblings wanted to chip in and help care for these minors is gonna feel betond stressed out. Frankly she likely lost her "fuc*ing mind months ago".

what might seem petty things she should deal with and not call you or her dad about is maybe her venting so she can cope. 

Sd31 dad is family to these kids and you telling him you'll leave him if he decided to take these grandkids on, is heartless. What if it were you in that car crash as a single mother and no spouse, no father in the picture, would your answer be the same?? Would you be hapoy a pregnant 41yr old woman saying i'll leave you as I didn't sign up for this??

just so you know, i am in australia in lockdown with border closures and banned from leaving australia, i am solely caring for my 3 & 5 yr old since march last year. My husband works essential services in malaysia and the past 1 yr, i have only had him 10 days. "Lost my fuc*ing mind" doesn't even cut it.

i am lonely, overworked, overstressed while my husband is absolved of any parenting responsibilities. I resent him and alot of people in his family over exaggerating stuff for attention when some of us are doing it real tough.

families do the right thing and stick together. As a soon to be mum, if your attitude is to bail just because you have no bio relationships with step grandkids even though they are your husband's family too, you are in the wrong relationship 

tog redux's picture

So I gave you another response in your blog, but this post has different information.

It's not your and DH's job to raise these kids, nor should they expect you to.  Your SD needs support, and DH may or may not be part of that support, but I'd agree that 5 calls a day is excessive. 

Can she move closer to the SS's and have them share custody with her? In the other blog, you said that their mother (who is not their bio grandmother either) was willing to help - can she be part of the solution? Maybe you and DH agree to watch them periodically to help out but not to be part of ongoing parenting?

I also would not take on full custody of these kids, I don't think you were heartless at all. I might agree to be part of helping to some degree, with no ongoing responsibility for them.  If your DH is truly the type of grandfather who will babysit them and watch them himself, then fine, he can do some of that. But if him babysitting means YOU will be taking care of them, then no.

I think you have to stand your ground. I agree that SD made a choice to take them and you guys taking over isn't the solution to the problem. Yes, it was a tragedy, but that doesn't mean you should turn your life upside down to take on these kids.  I wouldn't.

NoIndieAunt's picture

SSs live on another continent with deep roots in their own country.  SD lives here, SGKs have friends here.  I don't think any of them will permanently relocate.


DH just left me this morning for a month to go stay with SD31 until SS27 can come visit at the end of April.  I am upset.  

I am trying to be sympathetic, but she CHOSE to take custody.  SSs mentioned they would try if she could not, but logistically they are many many miles away.

Winterglow's picture

She was a single mother by choice and had gone to a sperm bank for her pregnancies.

NoIndieAunt's picture

They do not have a dad in a legal sense.  SD38 was a single mother by choice.  She private used sperm donation. 

Aunt Agatha's picture

What a heartbreaking situation. It's clearly not something anyone had hoped for.

I'm in my 50's, child free by choice and with my fiancé for almost 11 years and have no idea what Id do.  But as others have pointed out, not taking four young children on full time was a valid, reasonable choice for you.  My fiancé has 3 girls (now later teens) and that feels overwhelming every time they are here and he does all the care of them.  So I can't imagine the painand confusion the entire family is feeling.

Your getting pregnant though is really a red herring here.  One biological child - as a first time older (ie not 20 yo) mother - is not the same thing as taking in 4 likely traumatized children.  

It sounds like you really need to make peace with the situation.  Your Sd as has been pointed out has more options available to her than that you and your DH will be equal partners with her in raising these kids.  

Absolutely she needs help.  Hopefully as she settles in to the role and your child is born, she will ease up on the calls.  But it's time to share your pregnancy news, and not have your DH treat it like a shameful secret.  It's a joyous occasion.

His age also does not negate for him a prime reason not to take on 4 young kids.  Again, even with his soon to be born biological child, he has you to help take care of your child together.  

Im just so sorry this is so tragic a situation.  But SD will need to work with the larger family to get herself regular help and not just rely on dad.  But I'd also have patience with her as this is a huge thing she has taken on and it will likely mean a year or more of adjustment as she learns to handle these poor kids.

NoIndieAunt's picture

SD31's only family is her mother and SSs and their family, all who live 6,000 miles away on a different continent.  SSs relocating is not an option. SSs and their mother relocated back to her home country when SSs were 17 and 18.  They were educated there and have roots there. 
SD31 relocating is likely not an option for years until she can legally adopt SGKs, she was also educated in the North America, her friends and home are here.  I don't believe she would want to leave.  SD31 had never lived in home country.


I have always dreamed of motherhood (not stepmother good or grandmotherhood). I am 41, my window of fertility is closing.  

Crspyew's picture

You are the villian.  And it's an Easter miracle because I agree 100% with what SHAMDs said. 
your SD stepped up to the plate and needs and deserves all the help and support she requests from your DH.  Your DH should have shown you the door when u set the rules for his grandchildren.  He must be a weak, weak man to walk away from those kids.  If he is able to raise a baby with you he is certainly able to at a minimum co-parent his grandchildren with his stepdaughter.

Life isn't perfect, it's messy and unexpected things happen.  How we respond to those things shows our true character. Your DH has a responsibility to those kids, more so than your SD.  
go ahead and tell SD abt your pregnancy.  If that is such a worry to you.  

TwoOfUs's picture

I disagree completely. OP is expressing normal, natural feelings right now...completely relatable.

The real villain, if there is one in this tragic situation, is the selfish Biomom who had FOUR children with no dad...and made no reasonable plans to care for the children should she pass away before they're grown. Everyone knows you don't choose someone OLDER than you to get custody. That's just insanity.

Unfortunately, she sounds like the kind of person whose entire identity was wrapped up in her partner, no close friends...just four fatherless kids who have now been left all alone and feeling like a burden.

It's definitely tragic...but OP feeling trapped and expressing frustration at the situation isn't the problem here. 

tog redux's picture

I agree, and I would have given DH the same ultimatum. He's 61 and going to take on 4 young kids? Let me guess who would be doing the work - OP.  And what about as his health fails, who would be doing the "co-parenting", OP. I am 55 and there is no way in hell that I'd take custody of those 4 kids.  When my 19 and 21-year-old nieces were young, I was the one designated to take custody of them if anything happened to my sister and husband - not my mother and father. Why didn't SD38 designate a friend or young family member to have custody?  I'm too old and tired to raise 4 kids under 8, including twin boys.

And let's point out - he had a choice to leave the OP if he felt he strongly needed to be parenting these kids, and he didn't. I highly doubt he wants to do that either.

Why can't the able-bodied 26 and 27-year-old brothers help?

Crspyew's picture

Was a weak man. OP is complaining because SD is asking/needing help more than she thinks is necessary.  So OP didn't want to raise the kids, she doesn't want DH to raise those kids and wants to further limit his involvement.  You don't know that the able bodied brothers aren't helping.  But why should they do more than Grandpa?  Easier to do the wrong thing than step up and do the right thing.  

tog redux's picture

Because they are young and more able to raise 4 young kids. Why should Grandpa have to do it?  SD is calling FIVE times a day about a choice that she made - to take on her nieces/nephews. She won't split them up. The brothers should take them. Grandpa can babysit if he wants.

I don't blame OP a bit, and I think you are being ridiculously unfair to her. Obviously you'd take in your stepgrandkids and raise them with a husband 20 years older. That doesn't make it wrong that she doesn't want to do that.  Why is the oldest person in the situation considered the most logical person to take them? That makes zero sense to me.

Crspyew's picture

Say the same irt you. You and I have very different approaches to life and this post highlights that.  

tog redux's picture

I didn't once say your approach was wrong. Only that OP isn't wrong for not wanting to handle it as you would.  You on the other hand, judged her harshly for not jumping at the chance to take in 4 young orphans. 

ETA: Also, I'm not sure what you imagine my "approach to life is". I'm a social worker who has given my entire career to helping kids. I just know my limits and am glad OP does too.

bananaseedo's picture

You know for a fact that it's not the fact that they aren't taking the kids full-time.  This OP is being a selfish brat for not wanting her husband to help for 3 weeks.  She doesn't seem open to helping her husband babysit them even on occasion.  Even in his grief....I mean it was a car wreck that took her tragically AND her mom.  That is heartbreaking. Every one is saying 'well, the girl made her choice' REally?  What else would you have her do?  Put them in state care?  They are giving up so much of their own lives because they were her sisters kids....she's putting herself in a bad position to do right by them....and here this chick can't do the right thing for a few weeks?   It's completely insane. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

I've already conceded that I was selfish to be upset with DH.  I would never actually want SGKs to end up in state care.  

bananaseedo's picture

Right?  And tog already knows that the brothers ARE helping, in her blog she said they help her financially, AND one of them cares full time for her husbands parents!!!  They all seem to be doing a lot, including the ex-wife that has no relation to the kids came over and stayed for months.  Seems like everyone is stepping up and she selfishly can't spare her husband for 3 weeks.  

NoIndieAunt's picture

DH's second ex wife did do that, and it was amazing of her.  I never said I SD31 and SSs aren't amazing people, they are.  As was SD38, and her mother.  SD38 was a true super woman, her mom was also always friendly and respectful to me. 

bananaseedo's picture

You KNOW already they live 6000 miles away.  Why SHOULD they relocate their entire lives for their half- nephews nieces when the kids grandpa is there and willing and able to help? It's only his wife that told him not to help and doesn't want him to.

IDontCare3117's picture

SD38's mom was supposed to have custody, but she died in the same auto accident.  

Crspyew's picture

based on no information.  Bio mom's  motivation for belong a mother is moot.  And many, many, many people have designated some one "older" as guardian. OP isn't the whole problem no, but her selfish self focused attitude is a big contributor.  Her lack of empathy for these kids and her stepdaughter, her questioning of the SD's need for help and support is horrible.  If she doesn't want her DH to help maybe she ought to encourage DH to point up $$ for a live in nanny for SD. Then he'll be able to focus on op & her pregnancy.

tog redux's picture

Why is this all on OP? If her husband wanted so badly to care for the kids, he could leave her and do it. All she did was set a boundary on what she would and wouldn't do.

I wouldn't do it either. Go ahead and call me a villain, I'll take that. It's not her job to fund or raise her stepgrandkids. And clearly her husband doesn't want to do it either.  I'm sorry this awful thing happened, but setting boundaries on what you can do is HEALTHY, not wrong.

Crspyew's picture

Because OP is now questioning how much her DH should even be available to his daughter and grandkids.  She is questioning the needs of a young person who has never been a parent, working FT from home, with 2 two 7 year olds on virtual school and a 3 year old not yet in daycare.  Who wouldn't struggle under those circumstances? And OP wants to put limits on het DH responding to calls? Hmmmmmm yeah it's on OP.

One more time--life isn't perfect and sometimes you have to play the hand you are dealt.  Just because you are old and tired it doesn't mean you get to say no.  I am 60, I am old and tired. I would step up in a heartbeat if needed. And I would walk away from a feckless man who would not do the same.  


tog redux's picture

You can always say no. If you want to be a martyr for your DH's grandkids, knock yourself out. I'd walk away from a man who insisted on making me take on 4 kids I didn't ask for.  Do you think kids are going to thrive in a home where someone didn't want to take them in but felt forced to do it by judgy people like you? I don't think so.

If SD needs support five times a day, she's over her head and she needs to make another plan. And if DH wants to parent those kids he needs to leave the OP and go ahead and do it. I give OP credit for being able to set a boundary, she seems to be the only one in this situation who can.

tog redux's picture

Perhaps. But cryspew feels there is not room for anyone not to feel like she does. That anyone must rescue the 4 darlings at the expense of themselves. I give OP credit for knowing she's not up for that. 

Crspyew's picture

Yes I do believe in life you sometimes have to put others before yourself.  I am not advocating OP raise these kids.  I do think her DH should.  But since he is not I don't think OP should be so concerned about phone callls and occasional babysitting which is what she describes. 
These "little darlings" have had their world turned upside down. I give OP credit too, just not for the same things u do.

tog redux's picture

And how do you imagine he can raise them in her home without it affecting her? And why him and not his 20-something children raising them? Who takes over if he has a heart attack 2 years from now?

And yes, I'm very cold-hearted to not want to take on 4 kids I know I couldn't handle or provide a good life for. You, on the other hand, would take them just to feel superior, even if you couldn't really meet their needs.

IDontCare3117's picture

I don't think anyone would argue the family as a whole should step in to help with these children if none of them want the children to be put into the system.  


tog redux's picture

OK, so if SD is over her head, why don't they all go with SS27 or SS26 instead of the 61-year-old and the step-grandmother? Why is the assumption that they are the best place for them?  SS26 is married and has two kids. Wouldn't he be the better bet for raising them to adulthood with stability?

And if anyone says "his wife shouldn't have to deal with them" ...

I don't object to OP's DH helping fund them or even taking them for vacations or any of that. I just don't see why he's expected to raise them.

IDontCare3117's picture

I said the family as a whole, meaning the siblings and the grandfather.  I haven't said the OP and her DH should solely take on the responsibility of raising these children.  

shamds's picture

No court would approve taking minor kids who lost their mother and give them to a sibling of hers living overseas in a completely different, country, environment, culture and language when they have family in the country they are in now. Courts don't take it lightly to ship kids overseas when their whole life is in the country they are currently in unless there is no other option.

but you've never ever wanted kids and that shows in your comments. You've never wanted kids but would still marry a man with a kid and if the same situation happened would be happy to dump them on the foster care system or out of the country so it never became your husband's problem. If you're so anti kids, don't marry a man with one.. 

you seem to be in the wrong career of social work

Crspyew's picture

Because I think differently than you do, " so I can feel superior" really that's all you've got?  I believe OPs husband has a responsibility to his grandkids.  I believe he needs to own that responsibility.  Nobody planned for this, life doesn't always turn out the way we plan or hope.  Maybe OP isn't going to get her dream of a baby with DH fully focused on her and the baby.   I have had a lot of tragedy in my life--I know how it feels to have the rug pulled out from underneath your feet. I would never turn my back on my grandkids or grandkids.  And I would have no respect for a man who is pressured into doing so.  My god, HIS daughter died. His other daughter stepped up and needs help.  Is she in over her head? Maybe but I stand by what I said earlier--who wouldn't be? Maybe OP ought to encourage her DH to find ways to help his daughter & grandkids, beyond encouraging them to move to another country.

6o isn't dead you know and I think I could provide for needs as could her DH.  And I would ensure I had a plan if I were to die suddenly to ensure continuity of care.  OPs DH could do the same. 

Being a mental health professional doesn't mean you have any better insight into this than anyone else.  In fact your bias is clouding you thinking.

NoIndieAunt's picture

DH left this morning to stay with SD31 until end of April, when SD can come to stay with her.  

Tried out's picture

what happens? If I were you I would start seriously planning to raise your baby on your own. 

shamds's picture

Shouldn't be taking off that last month of pregnancy and especially if there are alot of baby things to set up as this is seen ss the critical time bubs could come at any moment. 

sd31 needs to understand this and cope with phone calls, emails, skype zoom etc.

heck i often call my dad to vent because he lives 20mins away from me and loves coming over every weekend or so to sleep over and my kids adore him and come for cuddles.

sd38 younger kids are also gonna likely be closest in age to yours. You need your space those first few months when bubs is born because it'll be hectic, lack of sleep, getting your routine in order, bubs finally sleeping through the night.

a better proactive system needs to be in place now and a backup. You and your husband can't be the primary backup. I think its time all the siblings of sd38 alo mmg with your husband come together to discuss a better co-management plan of raising these kids that doesn't prioritize him or you, that doesn't pressure him to do the bulk of it after sd31 especially with a baby soon to arrive.

he needs to tell sd31 about your baby on the way and that this doesn't change the fact that he will always be a part of stepgrandkids lives but its time sd31 got more support from the other siblings that she hasn't been getting and despite her agreeing to care for them, this doesn't give a free pass to the other siblings.

also just something i will throw out there as a possibility, the other family members (not you or your husband) might not want to intrude on sd31 and only step in when she asks for it but in this case maybe she is uncomfortable going to the other family.

so i think its time you say to your husband to call a family meet or create a private chatting group, channel ideas how the other siblings can collectively help out whether financial or in person. I get sd31 not wanting to split up the kids and most courts wouldn't want to so ignore those saying "yeah split them up" those kids need stability, it might not be 100% perfect but its stable enough and they aren't on the streets. 

if they all collectively help and chip in together, it might not be so overwhelming and just be a supportive network. A supportive network to sd31 and those stepgrandkids means a supportive network for yourself too.

trust me i vent often to my sil's about my skids and they've brought up issues with skids to me also. Sd31 needs to get this support network and right now, I don't see her getting it from her siblings or mother and thats why she defaults to your husband and yourself primarily.

shamds's picture

If the other skids refuse to take on the role of caring and sharing responsibility for these stepgrandkids, they can at least chip in financially towards childcare or basics whilst sd31 learns the ropes. She was forced to take on this responsibility on short notice. Yes she made the decision to take them on and therefore is responsible for them but why should that mean she bears the full burden whilst her other siblings live life as usual and normal.

its easy for some to say she had a choice, she really didn't or she'd have guilt that these kids were palmed off to the foster care system.

not everybody expects to die in their 30s and in close families, its just assumed one of them or collectively make sure they are taken care of. 

that said, op husband hasn't guided the other children of his to support sd31 in this traumatic and sudden lifechanging role.

op, you may have cared partially for these stepgrandkids for a month together with your husband, but that isn't the same as doing it all on your own. You had a choice to have a child with your much older husband (i am just under 20 yrs younger than my husband so i get the age gap issues), sd31 didn't plan to have kids and as you said, likely never had intentions to ever have any because of her career and personality etc.  Her decision and choice to take on sole custody was pressured upon her with none of the others even signing up to co-parent or have a joint custody system arranged. 

one thing op that you will get a crash course on when your childnis born, is how selfless you must be. With the significant age gap, your husbands patience will be thin and he likely won't have the stamina to be much of an involved parent.

I say this as my husband was 50 when our first was born and 52 when our 2nd was born. The first month after bubs was born he came home early from work to help care for the kids as often he could so i got a breather and it wasn't easy on me. 

learn to support one another because when your bubs comes along and you realize your husbandat his age isn't as involved as you hoped a 30 or 40 yr old would be, you would wish you have someone to talk to and maybe then you will appreciate where sd31 is coming from. Your attitude of suck it up will likely change once your child is born

tog redux's picture

You hate your stepkids - you would Raise their children? You'd be okay with your DH helping one of them 5 times a day to raise the other's children? You object now to how much time and money he spends on them, you'd be okay with him spending more time and money on them?

shamds's picture

Mins away from ss and isn't comparable to this situation. Also my husband has a large family with many siblings and nieces and nephews. I don't even live in skids country and if my husband is retired and living in my country, no court will demand he take his stepgrandkids and move them to another country speaking a language they aren't fluent in when they have an aunt(s) or uncle still alive loving close by in the same country. Its not like this scenario of op where they live on different continents and there aren't many relatives or a bio parent alive. 

My skids have not been respectful to any of us from day 1 and sought to alienate us and remove us from my husbands lives, loving them would be a joke hun. Skids wanted my husband jumping through hoops on weekends when he worked crazy weekday hours and i was the sole carer of our kids and expected he pamper them a whole weekend day and pretend we didn't exist. I simply told my husband if he were gonna spend a whole day with skids then he could clearly do the same with ours and actually interact and be heavily involved with them during their prime developmental years or it was a double standard and selfish of him to prioritize skids wants over actual minor kids needs.

also none of my skids would be using a sperm donor as its against their religion which they adhere to very strongly. 

the money he spends on them to be lazy bums doesn't compare to op situation where there is a genuine need to care for the stepgrandkids who lost their mum. Also I haven't seen anything in the post saying sd31 was a horrible stepchild or the stepgrandkids to op and her husband.

also, it doesn't fall on me to raise any of my skids children should they die. I have stated in my prior comment that this is a collective family issue meaning they should all support one another. Tog you made a choice to not have bio kids of your own, that was your choice and boundary.

op husband had been married 3 times and had kids from previous 2 marriages and another on the way with current wife. 

my husband has made it clear to his adult kids that they are responsible for themselves when he retires early from work in a few years and to support one another. My husband wouldn't take on grandkids full time as sole carer, he might help out and give advice maybe but since they've been alienated from him thanks to batshit crazy bio mum- its hard to see a scenario where he would be forced to take care of them so remaining skids can move on through life with business as usual, but expectation is since his 3 kids live in the same country all close to one another, the other 2 would step in since my husband would already have a life overseas.

also in my husbands family, a few of his sisters have always helped out when someone is ill or given birth or in cases of an emergency caring for kids. They have a strong support network. In op case, op is seeking to destroy the support network. 

I actually have a sil who was the 2nd wife (first wife died) leaving a young son that my sil raised. Her husband died young of a heart attack and her ss was ordered by courts to go live with his grandparents. When they died, his aunts and uncles cared for him a short while till they raided all of his late dads assets and kicked the kid out of home. He called my sil in tears and she took him in. Actually removated a home she owned that she inherited from her late mother and gifted it to him. This skid sees my sil as his mum. Not everyone bails and especially if those skids or stepgrandkids haven't been nasty to you

frankly anybody here who hasn't had several kids dumped on them by force to raise solely on their own indefinitely or till adulthood during a pandemic with no spouse/partner or any help at any time for years, should not be claiming, "yeah pass i'd give my husband an ultimatum to leave him too". 

none of you have a bloody clue what op sd31 is going through and all are saying yeah its a bit excessive the 5 calls a day. Try raising several young kids on your own (no spouse, no partner, no help, you are just a single mother with full custody control and care 24/7) just you alone in border lockdowns with usual daily stuff and work and studies and unable to reunite with family overseas on another continent and seeing them all act business and life as usual with no care or concern of how some of us are doing it way tougher than others and speaking to your dad 5 times a day to cope and deal with things isn't over the top. Some days are harsher than others. All the usual stepparenting issues doesn't come close to raising several young kids all on your own in another country in a pandemic lockdown, border closures with those kids having no access to their bio parent or other bio parent during their prime developmental years.

y'all get to judge from the privilege and comfort of your intact homes/households and families with no understanding what sd31 is going through. I have an idea because i had no say no choice in being locked down alone in my country by force with my 2 kids at what is expected to be years before i can be with my husband working essential services overseas on a contract for the next few years. I can't even leave my country with the excuse of i miss my husband that I haven't seen in over a year, thats not a case for approval. these are my own bios and its tougher than tough. These kids aren't even sd31 but she is choosing to do the honourable thing to care for kids already traumatised because she didn't want them going to foster care where statistically there are higher rates of crime, drop out from school, sexual assault or abuse. But y'all are acting like the honourable thing is she ditch these 4 kids and just pretend the skids don't exist. 

Anybody here who has become a parent, knows it can take years to navigate parenthood and figure a rhythm and what works. Sd31 has been forced to take a crash course on parenting 4 kids under 7. 

nobody is saying op needs to take the grandkids on or her husband. But if op is saying her own husband said he isn't fit to care for the grandkids at his age and take custody of them or care for them because of his health, wealth or whatever, what the hell is he doing getting op pregnant in the first place when she is 41, with that big age gap and him already being 60?? There are some double standards here. And my husband was alot younger when we got married and had kids with good savings, retirement savings, steady high income, good health and looked younger than his age and a stable job. Even then people here jumped straight to his age and how dare 50 yr olds still have kids because they won't be able to provide or care for them

i doubt op husband is in the same situation currently as my husband is in and that affects op husband's ability to care for the grandkids. If you wanna try compare my situation to op, my husband bought a home for sd's to live in as their safe place. It wouldn't be like op sd31 situation taking everything on financially on her own no help from anyone in the family chipping in really apart from op and her husband caring for the stepgrandkids for a month. Also my husband has a secret savings acct for each of his 3 kids from the exwife that he started before he married me to assist them in their future if they hit a rough patch. Not the same or comparable to op situation where sd31 is at it solely on her own

There is a saying that when you marry someone, you marry their family. Meaning you marry them knowing they have an existing family and existing relationships that don't just disappear. 

this article below sums up alot of things well about marriages and the relationships you manage.

Op husband 1st committment is to op and their soon to be born child. But this doesn't erase any relationships op husband has with his kids or existing family members. 

tog if you wanna compare my situation to op, apples to apples and not apples to oranges please. Our situations are very different

NoIndieAunt's picture

SD38 was the greatest mother.  Her kids were loved by her in a way I can't even explain.  She is not a villain.  She was not an irresponsible mother.  I wasn't close to her, but she did adore her children. Please don't speak poorly of her.

NoIndieAunt's picture

For SGKs best solution would be DH and SD31 coparent. For me and my child, best solution is SD31 leaves for the same country as her brothers as soon as she is legally allowed so they can help her and DH and I raise our baby. Or (as cold and horrible as this sounds) allow step grandkids to wonder foster care. 

IDontCare3117's picture

If something happened to you and your DH, would you want your child in foster care?  You may appoint a guardian for your child, but if push came to shove, that person would be under no obligation to take of him or her.  Your kid could end up in the system.

IDontCare3117's picture

If I were put in the position the child either ended up in foster or come into my home, I would do my damndest.  I'm childless and not really a kid person, but if I could prevent a child with living relatives from being in the system, I do my best to step up.  

shamds's picture

And you were killed in a car crash and the guardian died in that same car crash, would you be ok and happy your kid was palmed off to foster care because your family and your child(s) family would rather prioritize business as usual while this kid theough no fault of his own was gonna be dumped into foster care to live out a life of crime, sexual assault/rape paedophaelia etc, no quality education because of his unstable life, would you be happy about it??

you refuse to see both sides of the argument here. You were a stepmum for a number of years, that doesn't compare to having a blood relative or child of your own and having a close blood family member who is a minor being thrown out on the street which is what alot are condoning here

Livingoutloud's picture

DH and I would take SGD if the other option was foster care. We in fact discussed such possibility (my OSD is kind of troubled so at some point we thought it might actually happen). There is no other family so it would be us and/or YSD. I cannot imagine people letting their grandkids go to state  care. But in this situation foster care isn't even an issue. Issue is grandad not willing to help out with grandkids. He doesn't have to have them full time 

NoIndieAunt's picture

I have a family.  I have siblings and parents and cousins.  I have already discussed with my cousin who I am very close with and her husband about being godparents.

IDontCare3117's picture

You didn't answer the question.  Would you want your own child to end up in the system?

Tried out's picture

to do with the issue at hand. If you don't start applying to be a foster parent TOMORROW 4 four siblings who are already in the system you need to fall back. These fantasy children you would raise have as much relationship with you as the children you are guilt tripping OP about. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

I would never actually want SGKs to end up in foster care for their sake.  What I was saying is, it would be waisted for me, yes.  I think everyone's needs need to be balanced.

Tried out's picture

of these children so heart wrenching I am reminding you that there are LOTS of children just like these four in foster homes. Go bring four little strangers into your home to raise and then you can try to guilt trip OP all you want. 

IDontCare3117's picture

Those kids aren't exactly strangers,  They are her DH's grandchildren.  I never said OP should have to raise them.  

I made the point that if OP thought foster care was good enough for these children, would she think foster care was good enough for her own kid if something happened to her and DH.  

Children should not be in foster care unless there is absolutely NO alternative.  

Tried out's picture

no relationship to the OP. Her husband, yes, but not her. And you know who will raise these children and it won't be grandpa. If this was a dad who suddenly and unexpectedly got custody of four children ST would be telling her to leave this no win situation.  She and her child come first.

So tell her to leave but stop yammering about foster care. This is a terrible situation for everyone with absolutely no good outcomes. OP doesn't want the kids to go into foster care anymore than you do. Just because she wouldn't want her child to go into foster care doesn't mean she has to raise these children.It does probably mean she will raise her child alone if the SSs don't step up.

And that's another tragic byproduct of this god awful situation.

IDontCare3117's picture

Please show me in any of my responses have I said OP should be raising those children.

Grandpa?  He's too old to help out with his grandchildren, but not too old to have another kid with OP?  Do you not see the hypocrisy?  THAT'S my problem.  

I haven't advised anyone leaving anyone.  I've simply pointed out hypocrisy in things that were presented.  

Tried out's picture

there is another child who has a greater claim on grandpa than his grandchildren. That child will be raised by a single parent if grandpa steps up to the plate as you think he should.

I'm also noticing that the daughter who has agreed to raise the kids and is definitely in over her head is turning to Daddy to rescue her. If this was a SD with a bunch of kids everyone would be talking about Disney dads and telling OP to give an ultimatum.

Well, she did, and now she is being pilloried for it. This whole event is a tragedy but that doesn't change the final outcome. And absolutely none of this is OP's fault.

And btw - your willingness to sacrifice yourself while in your sixties is very different than taking on four children when you are just now starting your own family. All of OP's dreams for her child, what motherhood would be like, are shot to hell. If this happened to me now of course I would take the kids. I would not want to but I would. But if I had done this during my childbearing years everything would have been different and my biological children would have paid the price. One child, maybe two - but four? Hell, no.

IDontCare3117's picture

You are obviously confusing me with another poster.  You should try paying attention to little things like names.

NoIndieAunt's picture

You're right.  I would never want SGKs to go into state care.  I said it selfishly.  Many kids age out of the system and that is cruel and unfair.  SD38 would never want that for her children (kids who I do care about, btw).  

im not prepared to raise SGKs.  I do still care for them as people.  Their mother was my peer (we are similar in age), and she was always kind to me.  When I married my husband I looked forward to her and I being friendlier.  Even though SKGs would be niece/nephews to my own children, I always imagined mine and DH's kids together and SD38's would be more like cousins.  

I miss SD38 too.  I care about her kids.  Her mother (DH's first ex wife)  was always very kind to me.  It's just a lot.  I'm just very sad.  I know SD31 is struggling so much, and I know I'm being selfish wishing my husband was here.

when I married DH, even when I first started dating him, his kids (one of who. Was only a few years younger than me) always made me feel welcome.  
SS26 included me in his wedding when he married his wife despite he only dating his dad at the time.  Ex wife number two made sure I was seated at the head family table for said wedding, as was ex wife number one.

Ex wife number and SD38 were people who would have loved my future child, and I know they would be so excited for me to have this baby if they were still here.  I think I couldn't even focus on DH and SD31's grief because I didn't realise how much of my own grief I had.  I regret not being closer to SD38.  She was an incredible incredible woman.  As is SD31.  I'm just really sad.  I'm sorry if I have come off as selfish.


I'm not wanting to raise SGKs, but I do want run to have a good life.  I should be kinder and more understanding to SD31.  Maybe she can learn to be a parent to SGKs, as o learn to be a mom to my future child and we can do it together, as friends.  I know SD38 would have done anything for me. 

notarelative's picture

I am not sure where you are located. US? Canada? 
I can't speak for Canada, but foster care in the US is not a long term solution. If those kids go to foster care in the US they can bounce together or separately from foster home to foster home until they age out or they will be adopted together or separately. They are young so adoption is probable. With no living parent and if no family member willing to take guardianship, the system is going to push for adoption and to get it done quickly as the younger the child the more easily adopted. Family has to step up or reconcile themselves to the possibility of never seeing those kids again.

notarelative's picture

Legally being a godparent has absolutely nothing to do with custody after the death of a parent. 

tog redux's picture

Why is it the best for them to stay and be co-parented by DH vs going with their uncles and being coparented by them and SD?

NoIndieAunt's picture

I can tel you SD31 has no interest in moving to where SSs and her mother live.  She is very western with very western ideals.

tog redux's picture

Well - she may have to send the children there to be raised then.  I agree that while your DH can help, him being her co-parent long-term is not realistic.

NoIndieAunt's picture

Agreed.  In my dreams maybe SD31's mom and SSswill step up and offer to take the kids for a year or two back to 'home country' in a few years.  I don't know if SD31 would allow that.  Her and SS38 hate(d) the cultural norms of the home country.

IDontCare3117's picture

I knew that.  I know what "home country" means.  I was asking the home country to try and better understand OP's POV,

bananaseedo's picture

I agree the best for the SGK's is for your DH and SD to co-parent....but then KNOWING this he goes and limits himself even more by having a child with you so he can now help even less?  I'll be honest, I think you intentionally planned this to cement your place with DH and have a kid because of your own age. It was an incredibly reckless and selfish decision.   You wanting to have a kid isn't, but in this situation?  Honestly? You should have walked BEFORE getting knocked up and let him and SD co-parent the existing children and you could have gone and found yourself a man not in that predicament.  It's appalling you both did this with no care or thought into the consequences this would bring to the grandkids. 

shamds's picture

Who think divorced dads aged 40 or 50 in a great financial situation marry another woman much younger should not have kids because you know those poor kids could die without a parent and how selfish going to school as kids with a much older parent. Except alot of these parents i have seen have happy well adjusted kids.

i've had steptalkers previously say i only wanted kids with my husband to replace skids. Likely the ones who never wanted kids saying that. 

Harry's picture

But I think you should do what you can to help SD and the kids.   If you can give them money each month for child care, or money to make it easer for her to care for the kids it would be good thing.  May be at some point to take them on vacation.  

tog redux's picture

For everything else, we say disengage. For this, OP has to give up her money and time. I don't get it. The kids likely get survivor benefits. Let the bio relatives pool together to help SD. 

S_mum's picture

The OP should disengage and let the bio relatives help SD. However, let us not forget that the OP's husband is one of the bio relative of these kids. He's their grandfather. It's unreasonable for the OP to expect her husband to focus solely on her and her pregnancy without giving a damn about his young, suddenly orphaned grandkids.

Besides, the OPs husband told SD31 that he can't take care of the grandkids because he's too old. Now, in a few months' time, this man is going to be taking care of a freaking newborn baby. I can understand why SD31 is going to be pissed when she finds out that the OP is pregnant.

Tried out's picture

Nailed it!

shamds's picture

To help where they can instead of op and her husband who actually have a baby on the way and those of us who had kids know how much the costs can be. like another poster said previously, the baby on the way has the priority claim on its fathers time and finances over and above these grandkids when other people are available to help out but just don't want to and used the convenient "i live o/seas crap"

just recently in australia a womans sister passed away leaving an orphaned infant cared for by family in the uk. This woman in australia has been fighting through the courts remotely from australia to become guardian because the father is non existent. This woman has to now leave australia to pick up this 11 month old but with flight border caps, she will be stuck o/seas for years with no priority access back to australia and none of the family in uk can get permission to enter australia. Its a shit situation to be in but this woman is stepping up because she can't see herself abandoning this child in foster care. The family in uk are distant family, woman in australia is the closest surviving family member.

Op husband also has retirement to think of and if op husband is pumping money in to raise the grandkids, are his kids gonna care for him in old age? I don't think so.

this is a collective thing with the burden more on the  siblings of the deceased sd38 who have a better means of providing for the sd38 kids and still save for retirement and those kids would more than likely appreciate how the family united to care for them and not dunp them on the street when older or the going gets tough.

 By the sounds of it, the skids haven't been arseholes to op and her husband but they have all been a nice family and very welcoming. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

SS27 if a full-time caregiver to DH's parents, he is in university and has a career.  SS26 had children of his own.  SD31 and SSs were SD38's half siblings, just to clarify.  I think SD31 is going to have to learn how to be a parent.  SSs have been amazing and are trying to take turns coming to the US to help SD31.  It's been hard because the come country is on lockdown, so it is hard to travel to the US.

Winterglow's picture

I have a question. Didn't the sd have any family on her mother's side? No aunts, no uncle, no grandparents? Seems strange if not that the ss would choose to go to their country if not. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

SD38 has no living maternal family that she was close to aside from her mother.  I would say SD31's mother and her family was the closest thing to extended family to her, and they are helping out.


Both DH, his first, and second wife are from the same country.  DH had extended family back in the home country. 2nd ex wife and SSs left for home country for a job opportunity and so that SSs would get free university.  SD31 hates the home country.  She had never lived there and she is very very Americanized/Canadianized. 

Jcksjj's picture

She needs to find as many outside resources to help her as she can. The kids' school, the state, through a church if she attends one, parent support groups, whatever. And a therapist for herself. If she doesn't have kids she probably had no clue what she was taking on and there's no way someone can handle all of those huge life changes and stressor alone. 

Livingoutloud's picture

I don't understand why DH can't help with the kids once a week. How is it a big deal. 5 calls a week, so what. If your DH is too frail and too old to support his DD over the phone or help with the grandkids once a week, why is he having more children? 

I don't blame you for not wanting to help but it is kind of mean of your DH not willing to help out. He is 60, not 90. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

SD31 calls 5 times a day.  He isn't too old or to frail to have another child.  Having FIVE more (SGKs plus baby) is a very different thing. 

the issue is SD31 does want him to help out as more of a coparent, she really wants a coparent; and I don't see this ending anytime soon.  She says she needs another person there.  Maybe we will have to look into a live in nanny for her, but I think she also wants the emotional support of a relative nearby.  DH is going there until the end of April when SS can come visit for as long as possible; and then hopefully SD31's mom can come back and maybe move in with her for a few months.

Livingoutloud's picture

Was he asked to take all these kids in full time?
Is he truly not capable to help once a week?

NoIndieAunt's picture

Originally SD31 and SSs thought DH would be the one taking permanent custody of SGKs.  Yes, he was asked.  SD31 very much did not at all want to parent SGKs.  She thought she would be the one helping here and there and that DH would be the one raising the four SGKs.  When DH said he wasn't in a place to do so, it fell on SD31 to take kinship custody as SD38 has no maternal family really, and DH's extended family is in the home county. SD31 and SS's are SD's half sister, and I don't think they assumed it would fall to them or their mother to raise SGKs.  

bananaseedo's picture

It seems to me he only said he wouldn't do it because you threatened to divorce him, otherwise I think he probably would have been fine co-parenting them with SD31.  YOu have been asked repeatedly why you can't take the kids once a week or some days, or an extended weekend and you repeatedly ignore this.  Are you telling him he can't see the grandkids at his OWN house?  

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect him to help out more then he is currently- doesn't mean you have to have them full time.  The kids already seem taken care of financially, he's washed his hands of his own parents by burdening his own children, and now you're making him wash his hands of these orphaned grandkids?  You really need to step back and think of this outside or your own selfish desires.  They are HIS family and you married him so yeah...there is that.  How come we never say there is no responsibility in an intact home for the one married in?

For example, say I die, my brother takes my kids, but his wife (one and only) is the kids AUNT by marriage, should they just threaten to divorce or do NO care for the nephews because they aren't blood?  That's just dumb.  I mean obviously it's dumb because the grandkids step-grandmother has been stepping up as well.  

Yes, it will be ongoing- NO, the OP doesn't have to like it- but it will likely be ongoing.   They should not force her to move to another country she doesn't want to be in or raise the children in, nothing wrong with that.  And sure, with time she will learn more how to cope and it won't be as much need.   FOr now, they could help out more, he is your husband, so you're doing it for YOUR HUSBAND.  Have the kids over on weekends, or once a week -could be a week day the kids don't have school.  YOu said they do virtual 3 x week.  YES you can do this even when you have your own kid, which is related to the sgkids. 

NoIndieAunt's picture

I haven't ignored it.  I've conceded, I was wrong.  I was selfish.  He should absolutely be helping SD31.  I have been blinded by thinking about the life I thought DH and I would have had with our own child someday, before we lost SD38 last year.  

I was wrong.  I need to adjust.  I need to get over it.  It's going to be hard.  I'm incredibly sad.  I'm grieving what I thought our life would look like. 

SGKs should not be forced to live in a different country. SD31 ideally shouldn't have to have quit her dream job, but he we are.  
I am going to talk to DH about helping arrange hiring SD31 a live in nanny and part time housekeeper if that's what she wants, which I'm sure SD38's life insurance payout and the money she left behind could help cover.

bananaseedo's picture

Well look at that.  I'm VERY glad you are recognizing this.  It's actually OK to mourn the life you thought you would have, and it's perfectly reasonable.  Every single one of you in this situation is mourning the life they though they would have.  But again, looking outside yourself, do you think your DH isn't mourning the life HE thought he would have with his daughter still alive?  And then maybe enjoying a child with you with just a normal relationship of grandparent with his grandkids?   There is not one pawn in this game that hasn't have their lives completely uprooted by this absolute tragedy.  

But if you think about it honestly, your life seems affected the least.  Your gried and discomfort is much less then theirs- after all he lost a daughter, they lost a sister, they are helping her financially (SS's) - SHe took on an entire new life which she didn't think she would have to- obviously they though your DH reality is this touches you the if you want to help your husband thorugh this, be his support, be his rock, dont' be the needy wifey crying at home because your pregancy and alone unit dad/mom/child life is uprooted.  Dont' guilt him for seeing or helping his grandkids.  Let him bring the gskids over on ocassion.  Even when the other SS is visiting, it would be nice if your DH took the kids for a weekend and let SD and her brother have some time to bond/laugh and speak of their sister.   Be a part of their healing, don't be a burden and obstacle.  


Tried out's picture

You did not cause this situation. You are entitled to make conditions for staying in your marriage and you are entitled to walk away if your conditions are not met.

Don't allow yourself to be bullied by unhappy women on this board. Think of your own child, your own goals, your own dreams. If this situation robs you of them you do what is right for you. 

Livingoutloud's picture

I think when you marry a man with children, you heed to be realistic that he might end up caring for the kids full time if something goes wrong (even in adulthood they could become incapacitated)and possibly caring for grandkids. If he has parents, they might become frail and need to be helped. If you wanted a man who is all yours 100%, then you should never marry a man with kids or elderly parents or in fact any family. It wasnt all thought through. You married a much older man with ton of kids and grandkids. He can't belong just to you and your baby. 

if my DH prohibited me (or made it hard for me) to care for any of my family members in need, I'd immediately divorce him. 


Tried out's picture

but unfortunately it's too late to do any good.

Livingoutloud's picture

Well it is too late for her to change the past but not too late for her to think about it, she can still make a decision to leave or to accept that he has a family and can't be expected to abandon them. 

shamds's picture

Stroke, divorced from my dad. In our religion first born son has responsibility towards elderly parents which is why he gets a larger share of inheritance. But he kicked my mum out of the home. I took on that responsibility and its why my dad willed a larger share of his estate to me because i have been financially responsible to him.

plenty of women marry men in a culture where he has primary responsibility to care for elderly parents but give an ultimatum they'll leave if elderly parents aren't out the door but still dictate they should be entitled to parent in laws estate as is the case of my husbands wife, actually messaged my husband telling him i should get no money from my parents estate as my brother is responsible for her happiness

this is one thing that pissed off my dad and why he intends to leave the bare minimum to my brother because he refused to step up and kicked a disabled elderly mother to the kerb because his wife didn't want my mum there depsite stupidly marrying a first born son from a culture or religion where 1st born son is primarily responsible for his elderly parents

NoIndieAunt's picture

DH, all his siblings, both SDs, SS26, BM1, BM2, and my own fomer religion/religion of birth have the same exact rule about filial care and inheritance.  The reason DH doesn't care for his own elderly parents is because they have no contact with him because he left said religion nearly 14 years ago after his daughers and both ex wives left.  I left with my own parents in childhood.  All of us our now secular or athiests, aside form SS27.

Only SS27 returned to religon of birth several years ago, which is why he cares for DH's parents, they are willing to speak to him. 

Rags's picture

SD-31 has more family than you stated. Your DH is her father.  He is her family as well.

I get that your DH is elderly-ish and that together you are expecting a baby.  However, this whole thing does not pass the taste test.  Your DH abandoned his grandchildren.  Not cool.

If I were your DH, I would be raising my GK's and my wife could participate and we could raise our baby as their younger sib or... I would be raising my new baby on a visitation schedule. At the very least I would be heavily involved in raising my GKs and supporting my DD-31 as she worked through instant single motherhood to three minor children.  Think of the potential negative example this whole drama fest might be for your own child keeping in mind that your DH's daughter just died and it is completely likely that all of your DH's adult children will have the facts and at some point will have the opportunity to share this with their significantly younger half sib.

My mom and I had a tense discussion on just this topic when my brother's three kids were  young.  He told me that if something happened to him and their mom (she would be incapable of raising them on her own) that I was to raise his children.  My mom was adamant that she and my dad would raise their GKs.  I highlighted the line in my brother and SIL's Will that said that I get the kids.  She threatened to get a lawyer and fight it if something happened to my brother and his wife.  At that point I told mom that thankfully that it was extremely unlikely that anything would happen to my younger brother and even less likely that something would happen to both he and his wife.  During the whole conversation my dad stayed quiet but kept giving me the hairy eyeball.  A sore subject as far as my mom was concerned and dad does not like it when his wife is irritrated with one, the other, or both of their sons and vise versa.

His eldest (27) has a great career and gets married  in two weeks, the middle one is out of college and working a high paying career, and his youngest is finishing his first year of university and is now 19.  Fortunately mom and I have not had to have that discussion again. If that tragedy had come to pass my DW would have been right there raising my brother's three with me right along side of my SS-28.

Certainly that would not be the same sitution that you and your DH are in, but, I can't stomach the thought of abandoning four minor GKs who have lost their mother and I certainly could not do it while grieving the death of my daughter.  Even if I had a baby on the way.

notarelative's picture

Grandpa getting custody of the kids is probably not going to happen if the state gets involved. The kids lived with him and his wife immediately after the death and then he pawned off custody on his daughter. If the children had lived with him continually there would be no problem with him gaining permanent custody. But, once you voluntarily pass custody to someone else it is much harder to get it back. The state may not see him as a permanent solution as he had custody and relinquished it. The state will be looking for a permanent solution.

notarelative's picture

Yes, temporary emergency custody is different from permanent, but not pursuing permanent custody at that time may be viewed negatively by social services. Social services will want these children to have a home that is not vacillating in their decision.

If SD31 is not going to be able to continue parenting (as you indicated in the blog post), decisions have to be made. Once the state gets involved, the family loses control.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Yep. Having gone through this with my SSis, the decision will be that, if no family member wants them, then they'll go into foster care to be adopted out, likely individually as it's hard to adopt out sibling groups larger than 2. And once they're adopted out, the bio family gets zero say. Even with my SSis's kids, her mom adopted them, but then cut off my SF. He had no legal recourse because, even though he is biologically related, his legal connection to them was severed when their birth certificates changed to his XW and her DH being their parents.

My boss also adopted two kids, brother and sister, who have additional siblings being raised by their other family members (my boss is not related). She does not allow the kids to see their other siblings because 1) it makes it harder for her to be a parent to them, and 2) it places them back in an unstable atmosphere with people she knows can't/won't take care of them. She doesn't personally have anything against them, but she looks at it as she and her DH are the parents. The kids' family is their families. While some of their bio family members are now capable of caring for them, there is a lot of baggage and damage there that can't be undone. 

Don't get me wrong, it's a sh*t situation all around, but what's best for the kids is a stable environment. If OP's DH's family can't or won't provide that, then the alternative is to find placements for the kids, either individually or as a group. Likelihood is that, given their ages, they are far less likely to be adopted out if family gives them up.

Unfortunately, I worry that OP's DH will only get custody back if he remains married. 60+ and single with a newborn and fresh divorce is not going to make him the ideal parent. I foresee the kids going into foster care if SD or one of the SSs doesn't step up.

IDontCare3117's picture

This is something I fear most for these children - the family won't step up and they end up in the system.  They're old enough to remember a happy family with their mother and grandmother.  They're old enough to remember spending time with OP and DH.  They're old enough to remember living with their aunt.  

They're old enough to remember they had family who could help them, but chose to let the state take over because that was the past of least resistence.  

It's effing heart-breaking.  

CLove's picture

Not going to judge you OP, I think youve had quite enough of that for one day.

If it were me, there are two options:

 - divide the children among the younger relatives. Yes they would have to move to a foreign country, but children are resilient, and they would get the love of family that they need. SD31 is in over her head, and further, OP has commented that she wants to give up custody.

- Im a childess stepmother of 2 girls that will never call me "mom", know will they ever love me as a mother. I have zero decision-making authority.

Id take all 4 in. Hire a nanny, and get a housekeeper to come by. Build a network of mommies to lean on, and learn from.

This is all conjecture. Im in my 50's so it seems like the best solution to me. 

But again, I am childless and older. If I were in my 40's and pregnant, I might still go with the same route. Or not. BUT that being said, your DH should step up a bit. And you need to suck it up a bit. Grieve sure, but woman up. Dont wallow in the grief of your "dreams" of a happy little intact family with your DH. Things are different now.

There are no winners in this game.

Tried out's picture

but that doesn't mean OP has to be the biggest loser - which she will be because these kids have no relationship to her. Everyone else has a lifelong, familial tie to her mother and blood ties to the children. They are a family; OP is not part of that family. Her baby will have ties but that will happen without OP taking responsibility for the children.

It absolutely astonishes me to hear hardline STers saying that when you marry someone you take on their family. Barely a day goes by without somebody posting that ST is a refuge for women who have been told on other boards that the SM knew dad had kids when she married them.

What this family is going through is horrific. I feel terrible for all of them. But you all know that as soon as dad says he'll permanently share responsibility the 31 year old will be gone. And you all also know that the job of raising those kids will fall to OP. Nobody wants to see the kids end up in the foster system but it is NOT OP's responsibility to keep them out. The family will sort it out once she is out of the equation, and I guarantee grandpa won't have sole responsibility. Nobody will expect him to raise the kids on his own - but they will have no problem with letting themselves off the hook if OP is still in the picture. Having her in grandpa's life is a stroke of luck for them - they can visit now and then and get back to their own lives. 

BethAnne's picture

I only just saw this thread and I have only read a few of the comments. I came here to comisserate. I got pregnant last april. My pregnancy was nothing like I would have expected.

Covid had just gotten serious, my SD12's brother by her BM was taken into care because of medical neglect and my husband was pursuing getting custody of SD12. That was a lot of stress for 5 months before he got custody of SD12. Then there was dealing with SD 12 doing homeschooling and generally moodyness of kids that age. Then my husband ended up hospitalized for a few days. Then he had another ailement that caused him severe pain for weeks. Then my husband persuaded me that we should have a friend (who lives on her own) move in with us for a few months so that she would not be on her own over the holidays. Then my husband lost his job. 

 I didn't get to see familiy, my husband didn't come to any medical appointments, I didn't get to go to the stores for baby things (all done online), I didn't even take any antenatal classes and get to discuss my pregnancy with other women in person, we didn't get to take any sort of babymoon. It felt like the whole 9 months I had to minimize my pregnancy because there was bigger stuff going on with my husband and SD and we were all stuck at home due to Covid. I did not feel like I was taken care of or that I could ask to be taken care of. 

It sucked. But I got through it. My husband got custody of his SD, she is a great sibling, my husband's health is good, the friend stayed with us for a bit, then moved out, my husband got a job (then got laid off again, but now has another job offer).

All that is to say that I now have a gorgeous little baby boy sleeping next to me. This pregnancy might not be what you had always imagined, but you are strong and will get through it. You will have a gorgeous little baby in a few months and get to be the amazing mother that you will be.