No, I did not send money to the Christian Children’s Fund.
My wife’s sister has 2 children. M who is 15 and E who is 9. She is also a habitual drug user and has been for over 20 years. Over the past 4 years, managed to lose her house, her cars and her dog grooming business. About 2 years ago, M decided to remove himself from the situation all together and go live with his grandparents. E has been living with his grandparents for the past year because they don’t want him living around SIL. Of course now they are all living with the grandparents, but SIL doesn’t hang around there much because grandparents (her parents) won’t let her stay if she is using drugs.
This past year we have been helping out the grandparents by having E stay with us quite a lot.
Mrs. D and I finally had enough and decided to go for a limited guardianship of E because SIL is not getting any better. She is homeless and jobless and still won’t take any responsibility for her actions. She even stole E’s money that he received from his 1st Communion this spring.
So Mrs. D and I talked to an attorney, got the paperwork in order for a limited guardianship and tonight had her sign the papers. She was quite leary of the whole thing and didn’t like the conditions for getting her kid back that we imposed. We basically stated she needed to go to a drug treatment program, be drug free, have a house, have a job, and seek psychological help, but in the end with a lot of hand-holding and reassurance that E needed the sane, stable, and safe environment that our family would provide, she signed the papers. Now it is just a matter of getting them to our attorney and going to the hearing and it will be a done deal, and E will be under our care.
If this had continued the way it was going, E would certainly have fallen through the cracks and ended up like his dad who has been in and out of jail for numerous offenses. Also, the grandparents would have most likely tried to raise him and they are both in their late 60’s. I don’t know if they would have been able to handle it.
So today we have made a difference in the life of a child. It may be a hard road, but it was definitely the right road to take.
It takes a village, eh? Sometimes it does, and thank you for being so involved. Just… Good on you. I don’t imagine it will be easy (if it was easy, maybe I’d be a parent, but it’s not, so I ain’t) but you’ve started on a very worthy thing to do.
The kids are lucky to have people like you and the grandparents in the family. Best of luck with it, to you, too.
Well done. That must have been tough, too. I hope that, if ever I find myself in that kind of situation, that I have that kind of loving toughness.
Just one little question… I’m curious as to why you imposed the condition that SiL own a house. Would not renting (say, for a year with no problems, or whatever) have been as good? Was it just part of ‘rebuilding her life to its former state’?
The paperwork just had a check box for that condition and I don’t remember the exact wording. It wasn’t that she should own a house, but that she should have, “housing”. It could be that she rents an apartment, rents a house, owns a house, lives in a trailer park… we don’t care. She needs to have a residence she can call home that is a safe and stable environment for E.
This has been tough. Mrs. D and I have been discussing the possibility of this for the past few months. Once we made the decision to do this about a month ago, we had to start getting everything set for this. We made sure we had a place for E to sleep and keep his stuff, got the paperwork from the county courthouse, made arrangements with our attorney to do all of the appropriate filings and just make sure we were doing everything right. We didn’t want any loopholes that would make it easy for SIL to get E back. We wanted to make sure she did everything she needed to get better first because we would absolutely love it if she got off drugs and turned her life around, but as every successfully recovered addict knows, it is not easy.
This AM I drop off the signed paperwork to our attorney. As things progress I will let everyone know how it goes, but I think the hardest part of getting SIL to voluntarily sign the paperwork is now behind us.
Congratulations. I have seen the other side of it. My cousing, whom I used to be very close to, became a pill head and I could not have been more happy when her ex-husband’s wife adopted them and her parental rights were severed. It’s a difficult decision that the whole family has to face, but you have done the right thing and I am proud for you, as well has happy for her kids.
Dragwyr, I wish that more families would do what you and your wife have done in taking in this young boy. I am sure that you both realize that there are going to be some tough issues to deal with. I would encourage you and your wife to look into community resources, so that you know what’s available before you need it.
I am sure that E and his brother both have a lot of issues that they are dealing with due to the abandonment, neglect, and possible abuse that they have lived with.
I just finished taking a “train the trainer” course called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families and I think that one of the comments made by another participant that most stands out to me was basically…
Sometimes people think that parenting someone else’s child is like parenting their own. It’s not!
We have had our nephew for 6 years now. It has been a hard 6 years, but we are seeing some good progress in his development. Up until last year, E has not really had any friends, and that was a big concern for us, but last year it was like a deluge of friends just popped into his life. School, on the other hand, continues to be a challenge to him. He just has not found any reason to apply himself, so he lets the majority of his subjects slide. This fall he will be in 10th grade and we are hoping he takes his studies more seriously.
With regard to his dead-beat mother, he has slowly been spending less and less time with her. She has not changed one bit since we took custody. When E visits her, she is often drunk and that upsets E so much that he often calls one of us to come pick him up, cutting his visits short. It has gotten so bad with her that this summer, he asked to take a break from visiting her, and we let him do so. Of course, this really upset his mom, but we don’t really care. All she does is think about herself, but E’s visits with her are not about her. Its what is best for E. She will never understand that.
As for dead-beat dad, he hasn’t called us to talk to E in over a year. Every once in awhile he calls E directly on his cell, but those calls are very few and far between. When E does talk to him, its not for very long.
E is still seeing a counselor and it has been very helpful, especially when there is drama with dead-beat mom.
Overall, E is doing pretty good, but we still worry about what will become of him academically. I worry he will end up like his dead-beat parents (But I don’t say that to him). Mrs. D and I continue to encourage him.