What if Somebody Wanted Your Children?

This article is a big difference in what I usually about.  I am sure we are not the only family with this issue and would love to hear what others have to say.  With good reason, we have kept our children close and protected as they have been through so much, for being so young. 

Having raised two children to adulthood, we were blessed with another family after we had an empty house.  Our children had only been gone for less than a year when we were lucky enough to receive two little brothers, from a state foster care program.  Yes, we jumped through every hoop and obstacle in the way to get custody of these two wonderful little boys.  At the time, they were 19 months old and 3 months old.  Our 3-month old needed open heart surgery for ASD and VSD, which means he had a hole in the top and the bottom portions of his heart.

After months of having a house that looked more like a hospital and a 5 month old baby that weighed in at just over 6 pounds, still, the surgery could no longer be held up for weight gain that was just not happening.  We made it through the surgery with two little boys that have remained happy and healthy ever since.  They are now seven and (almost) six years of age.  They are both happy, well-adjusted children after what was a traumatic start, after the birth mother left, with very rare, if any phone calls or visits in the four years following our custody gain. 

Due to the health issues with the little one, we did not adopt the children because that would have been so devastating to our financial situation we might never have recovered.  As it is, and you may possibly imagine, it has not been a small struggle.  However, it is a struggle we would take on again, at any time.  These two wonderful boys have become our life’s goal.  By that, I mean the happiness and health of these two little boys have become our main goal.

Being older this time around, we see the difference in raising children now and the differences we have made to keep them happy, well behaved, so loved little boys.  When you have and raise children at a younger age, there is concern over the furniture, the carpet, jumping on the bed, clean rooms, food on the table and so much more.  Of course, serious health problems in a small child really put your priorities in order.  Let me rephrase that: should put your priorities in order.

Also, as older ‘parents’ we understand that carpet can be replaced from the unexpected accidents that happen, furniture can be cleaned, snacks are okay and routine is necessary.  In other words, they are being raised for happiness, not for plans of what we ‘think’ they should be eventually.

We have nurtured, we have fed their need for knowledge, we have let them experience what life should show small children, we have loved without reserve, we have given all we are and all we have to these wonderful children.

Within the last year, the birth mother of the boys has returned, supposedly grown up, even though the police reports do prove differently.  Our seven year old loves his mom and remembers her well.  He is thrilled to be able to see her.  Our six year old has finally gotten past, for the most part, calling her ‘The Mom” and is gaining knowledge of what a mom is.  He is happy to visit but loves returning home after just a day or two, his home being our house and his home.  We are on week two of weekend visitation and frankly, have no idea what to do with ourselves when they are gone.  That also has us very glad when they return home from the 36-hour visits with the birth mother.

The birth mother has moved just one small town away, has a job and actually pays rent.  I realize she is trying but I have to put this out in the open and tell you that in the last five years, these little boys have become OUR CHILDREN.  That may be a rather selfish view of this but after all we have been through, children do become yours even if they are not born to you.

As our hearts break, we are trying to do the ‘right’ thing and let these little boys see and get to know the mother that so carelessly walked away, and rarely looked back, all those years ago.  You may think that four years is not long, but to six and seven year old children, that is more than half their lives.  It is a lifetime to them. 

Our priorities have had to change right along with the change in circumstances.  Seeing the selfishness and how the boys are not children, but possessions the birth mother feels she has a right to own (due to bonding issues, I am sure) make this situation no easier.  Along with the confusion, come many questions that I admit I do not have all the answers to.  In truth, I do not want to have the answers; I only want my little boys.  As with all good parents, we muddle through the dreaded questions and help them the best we can.

After reading this information, I ask you, what would you do if this birth mother is your daughter?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Circle of Moms.

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Comments (10)
  • Michele - commented on Sep 4, 2012

    When I first read this I thought you were a foster mother, not family. But by comments and your reply I see that you are their grandmother. To answer your question (by how you have stated your own statements) 1) I would support my daughter, emotionally. Which means I would help her in having a HIGH SELF-ESTEEM about herself. 2) I would take care of the children myself while she trys to change her ways. 3) I would seek counciling for the whole family, due to the resentment I felt towards my own daughter. In hopes it would not reflect onto either of the children. 4) I would plan outting with the whole family including the mother. This way I could see if my daughter was able to care for her children properly. 5) I would not stand over her shoulder nagging her, until she felt belittled about her choices. 6) I would praise her for trying (just as your daughter is trying to do), and let her know I was proud of her. There is so much more I would do, but it is getting close to my bedtime. I hope you work whatever issues you have with your daughter out, because it can reflect to the children and having them acting and feeling the same way.

  • Chaya - commented on Jul 18, 2012

    You are not being selfish, they are your children, if even for a short time. I know firsthand, how screwed up the social service system is. I could give you 25 pages, but you don't want them, and you'd have nightmares. Chances are the birth mother will get them back. She may do well. Those children will seek you out when they can, if they need to.

  • Kristi - commented on Jul 5, 2012

    Wow, Michelle! My heart goes out to you and your family, I can imagine just a little what it's like because my best friend went through something similar with her daughter and grandkids. It was agonizing. But her choice became clear when her daughter refused to leave her abusive boyfriend and when she found drug paraphenlia (sp?) at her daughter's house. But neither situation is desirable over the other. In any event, those boys need the security of a loving, structured, routine environment. They have that with you. You have been their rock and their shelter. It isn't healthy to uproot children from what and who they know and depend on. If I may take you back to my best friend again, she has 8 children total. 5 different dads, she has made a lot of poor decisions to say the least, but she never gave up on her kids. All the dads were in and out. Ironically, she and I became best friends after I married her ex-husband. (had we been friends before she could have saved me a lot of grief! ; ) ) Anyways, 2 of his daughters came to live us but she was there as much as possible to visit, she came over when she could to help with homework, etc. My point is even in her darkest hour, she was still available to her children and they know to this day she will always be there for them. Not one of them counts on their respective fathers for anything. If the boys leave and go with your daughter at this point, they will lose that sense of security, of where they belong. When something happens, they won't know who they are supposed to turn to. I know she is your daughter and you love her with all your heart, but she is grown, she can fend for herself. Her actions have consequences. The boys need you and your husband to teach them, love them and guide them like you have been for just about their whole lives. She can do the visitation as a non-custodial parent would. That would be a routine for the boys to get into and I think they would understand. When they are older and you feel they are mature enough to make their own decision about where they want to live you can give it to them. And at this point, can you really count on your daughter not to pick up and leave again? Ok, that is probably my dollar's worth and strictly my opinion. I hope it helps in some way, if not, I'm sorry for wasting your time. I wish you all the best and that when you make you make your decision will be at peace with it and know that no matter what the boys will love you forever!

  • Patricia - commented on Jul 3, 2012

    i have seen this alot with people i know it usually doesn't last long she would behave long enough to get them off her back and then go back to the heavy drugs and now she has moved so the system will just start all over again nothing is linked and the kids that need help are just pushed aside where as i have some really close friends who have tried everything to get along with her mother inlaw and she is just nasty thraetens the grandkids the father and mother and walked passed and told them that she and his sister called docs on them well they did show up and could not find anything wrong but it upset the kids and parents so much and i have never seen so a family devoted couple who love their kids and each other very much but they don't help the kids that need it

  • Sarah - commented on May 4, 2012

    My sister abandoned her child when she was 4. Her father was in and out of her life for a while. She was raised by her father's parents and has regular visitation with her mother's mom. My niece was always told that her parents loved her and just had their own problems to work through first before they could be parents to her. My niece is now 15 and her mother wants a relationship with her and is sorry for the time she missed. My niece refuses to talk to her but will email/text. Her grandparents that raised her are her "parents". If you feel your children/grandchildren will be safe with their mother, as well as loved and cared for and you can still be an active part of their life you need to allow the contact and see if she sticks around for them. How old was she when she left them and what were her reasons? She also needs to decide if she can be the mother they need or if she just wants a visitation role. She needs to understand that she can't come and go from their lives. It isn't fair to the children. Good luck with whatever decision you make. It will be a hard one either way. You being the caregiver for the majority of their lives have to decide what is in the best interest of the children that you all love.

  • Silvia - commented on Apr 20, 2012

    Wow, I cannot even imagine how hard this would be for you. I applaud you for taking in those two little boys and being there for them the way their mother was not. When I was first reading your article I was saying to myself of course you shouldn't give them back. You were there for them through everything but than you said she's your daughter. If I were you I would keep doing what your doing now as a year really isn't that long to be sure she's actually changed. You obviously has some doubts and since she's your daughter too, I would trust your instincts. When the time comes that your sure she really does have her life in order and really does want to be those kids mom. I would give her the chance to do that. I know it will be hard, but I think it would be the right thing to do. I'm sorry you have to go through this :(

  • Lisa - commented on Mar 26, 2012

    Hello Michelle, am answering your question, at the end of your article. If the birth mother was my daughter and this is what she decided, I would stand back. It would probably kill me, but it woud be the right thing to do. I am so sorry. It must be like hell for you and your husband. I am a mother. My husband deserted my daughter and I after 2 years of what seemed like a solid marriage, we never knew the reasos and he wont pay for either me or his daughter and he never has, even when we were together. Since marrying I havent seen a single penny and have had to do whatever I cna for money to buy things my daughetr and I need. The end of the day is - if this is the childrens biological mother, if she screwed up, made a mistake, proved she is changed and wants her babies back, then let her have them, let her try. You will ruin her and them eventually if you dont. If she cant do it, it will show in time. But you cant not let her try. I understand how hard this must be. You just have to do the right thing. Look in your heart. If she isnt right, if she is a bad person, then you fight. If she is trying, you have to stand back.

  • Tera - commented on Mar 24, 2012

    I had a similar situation w/my kids. I agree that having your children torn away can traumatize and demoralize you. I understand how you must be feeling.

  • Michelle - commented on Mar 12, 2012

    Thanks Beth. You are right, we have them for a reason. This is not easy for us.

  • Beth - commented on Mar 11, 2012

    You are a wonderful grandmother for taking them in. I've seen the same situation played out with others that I know personally. I don't know all of the facts as to why she doesn't have the children, so I can't really say as to what I would do. I guess it all depends on why the children were removed from her care.