Christine Anne - posted on 07/31/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
Hello! I am a mother of two boys living near Atlanta, Georgia and I grew up in a single parent home with my older brother. We were brought up mainly by our mom, but my brother moved away(he was too much of a handful for my mom who worked a lot) to live with my dad when we were about 7 and 8 so it was mom and I most of the time. I am happily married now for many years and we live in a nice neighborhood in a little house in the suburbs. I am writing not about myself, but on behalf of my brother. I am not sure what to do or what to say to him and I am so distressed by his situation that I thought I would ask for help and advice. My brother has recently contacted me to ask for advice concerning what to do about the strained relationship with his teenaged daughter who is now 14 and turns 15 later this year. They do not see much of one another, because he lives overseas with his wife and family there. He misses her, and wants to be a dad to her but it is complicated. They have two gorgeous little boys who I just want to gobble up. He is a great dad with them from what I have seen, and even my mom thinks he is great...much better than our dad was with us. He was in the military when his daughter was born and got to see very little of her, and I am pretty sure the mother was not on very good terms with him then even though he said he tried to make the relationship work. She did not really want the baby because she ffelt like her single life was over and would have none of it as far as a relationship with him was concerned. Their little girl was born and he went to see her while she was still in hospital. His name is on her birth certificate. He spent time with her when he came home from the military between deployments when he could, which was not as often as he would have liked. She grew up knowing him and who he was to her, and called him daddy. He sent her letters and pictures and postcards for several years...which she kept safely tucked away under her mattress like little treasures(that one always makes me teary) and brought her presents for birthdays and Christmas. He paid child support from his military pay without having a court order issued. There was a lot of mistrust between my brother and his ex girlfriend (the mother) and we all watched it with great sadness. It was such a shame they could not work things out, but I think it was the right thing because they did not get along. My brother is very stubborn and does not like being wrong, and she was just as bad. Anyways, after he got out of the military a few years ago he met and married another women and he moved away to live with her in another country (England) and that is where they live now. His ex did not like the fact he was moving away and I remember there was a big scene in a public place when he told her. Mom and I tried to support him and were happy for him that he found a nice lady to share his life with, but it has been hard on his daughter not having him around. It has been an emotional roller coaster over the years for everybody. The mother had the children taken off of her by the state of Georgia DFCS once, then a year later she moved house without telling anyone including her own family where she was going...and took his daughter out of the state to live with her boyfriend in the boondocks of Tennessee. My brother was furious, when he found out all these things which they never told him. He and his wife dropped everything and flew over to see what could be done. They bought his daughter all new clothes, toys, everything because she had nothing. They tried to help his ex get her house back and gave her money but a few months later she failed to repay her loan and the mortgage/loan defaulted. She gave up and just left the key in the door one day and walked out, leaving the kids clothes, toys, everything behind. I really tried to be friends with her, and so did my mom but it was just awkward. She lied to my mom about some things which made it even more awkward. My brother kept begging us to stay in touch with his daughter and include her in family things as often as we could, so she would feel like our family was there for her...but my life is so busy that it's just not funny. My husband has been out of work for some time and looking for a job. I have had to take a second job to help with bills...we have been struggling so it is hard to help others when all you can do is just survive. Well, a year ago things got worse when my nieces mother walked out on her and her litle sister and left them with their grandmother. We were all shocked. She has not had any regular contact with her daughters in a year. The littest girl went to stay with her daddy at his home not far away. My niece has had to stay with her grandparents. It is so awful for her to have to go through this, and we pray for her all the time.
Since he has been overseas, my brother has not been able to make regular child support payments like he did when he was military, and I know it has been difficult for his daughter a lot of times. She has gone without things, and of course he has not always been there for her when she needed him growing up. I know It's important for a little girl to be loved by her daddy. I remember our dad worked a lot, and our parents divorced when we were very young. I missed my dad too, but I got through it and we are okay now despite all that happened. As for my brother I think his wife rules the roost over there and she puts her boys first (of course)...don't get me wrong she is a sweet lady and we love her but I think sometimes my brother really misses home and wants to come back because of his daughter and because his boys are far away from us, his family. We never get to see them, and we miss them. It has been two years since their last visit.
Our own family just went on vacation down to Tybee Island for a few days and we took my mom and my niece with us. After we got there, she seemed really sick and was having trouble swallowing and breathing, we were worried about her. She was so sick that my mom took her to the nearest urgent care clinic down there, and they had to give her some medicine and antibiotics for a bad throat infection. It came out that she has been sick off and on for weeks, and has not been telling anyone. She did not want to worry her Granny. She also has no medical insurance. So, we scraped together enough to get her seen by a doctor and a prescription that should help her fight off this mess. Her tonsils are going to have to come out, though. The catch is, with her mother no longer there her grandparents are looking after her now and they are not well off financially. They barely pay their bills and her grandfather is partly disabled. We help however we can, but it is her parents responsibility to make sure she has what she needs. I love my brother very much, and I know he is a good man and a good dad to his boys. I do not know why he cannot take his daughter, but I do know that she is angry with him for not being there and keeping his promises to her over the last few years. I also suspect that his wife has washed her hands of anything to do with his daughter. I think they might be having some marital problems. He talked to my mom about it, but not to me. He was sobbing down the phone to me about how much he has missed his little girl over the years, and how he wished he could do something to help her...but he has been unemployed for three years and has been a full-time stay at home dad to their little boys. This thing with his daughter is urgent and she needs to have medical insurance ASAP. It seems that because her granny does not have legal "official" custody of my niece that she cannot get her onto Peach care (medical) she must first file for abandonment by her mother and father (my brother) and he is very upset about this. he does not like the word abandonment, and he worries that if he signs over his custody rights to her granny that he will lose her forever...he wants to help her but he does not have a job or enough money to do anything meaningful for her. He knows that she needs the medical but is really torn apart about this development. Her roots are here in our country and home state, where she has her friends and the family she has grown up with so I doubt she will go live with her dad over in England...and i think his wife does not like the idea anyway from what he said. So, is there anyone who has any advice, experience, or has ever dealt with this kind of thing before? I need help! I want to help my niece and my brother, but I am afraid of saying the wrong thing since I do not have teenagers it is hard fro me to know what to tell him. What do I do? How do I help my niece and her daddy reconcile and still get help for my niece???