Should I let my son go to Africa?

Dezra - posted on 11/25/2010 ( 108 moms have responded )

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My partner is from Congo, Africa and I am from Dominica in The Caribbean.
Our son is 4 soon and has been invited to Africa to spend christmas with his dad's parents.
I think it will be a good opportunity for him and he would love it. He adores his grandparents and his uncle.
The only problem is that my partner's mother has never liked me. When I was first pregnant, she despised me. We had numerous altercations. The last 2 years has brought a change to our relationship. She has begun to accept me, I think. She told me she wants to start again with me, she knows it was unfair of her to dislike me without a valid reason. She has apologised and has made a huge effort to get close to me.
They want our son to spend the holidays with them in Africa. I don't know how I feel about it. My partner and I do not have support networks or family around us to help with our son. We do every single thing on our own, we do not ask for help form anyone. We are not even on benefits/welfare. I'm a university student and also work part time from home, my partner works full time.
Our son rarely spends a lot of time away from us. One night or so every few weeks I think, when he spends nights at his best friend's house. His grand parents want him to spend 2 weeks with them. I'm terrified of him spending so much time away from us, especially in another country. What should I do? My partner and I could really use the break, spend time with each other, but we are terrified. My fears stem mainly from the animosity between the families in the past, but also, as a mother, I can't imagine him being so far away, especially at the holidays.
There is also no love loss between my family and my partner's family. If our son goes to Africa, my family will be in uproar. They will think I am not being responsible enough, that I should not let him go. But they are all his family, I do not want to keep him from them. And I do not think my family should be angry with me. I never complain to them, I am 24 years old, in a country without any of them, we raise our son without their help, so I do not think they should be so angry. I am a good mother, would never put my son in danger. I just know they will refuse to speak to me.

I'm so confused, so worried. Please help me x

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Oretha +2 - posted on 11/26/2010

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Hi Dezra,
Trust your instincts. Deep down you and your partner know what is best.
Speaking from my own experience I am a native New Yorker who lived in South Africa for 6 yrs. I fell in love with a charming South African man and we have a 4 yr old son and a 2 yr old daughter. In 2008 I came back to the USA with our children, Dad is coming in 2011. African children come from sturdy stock. Children may be exposed to realities of life much earlier. American children are more guarded and protected in comparison. My children were young but I let my children visit with their grandparents BUT it was for one night. Your son will feel more comforable if his Dad shows him home. Food will be different. Smells weill be different. Everyone and everything sounds different.. To have someone familiar share a new experrience will give positive reinforcement. Your son will enjoy it and learn from it. Africa is so amazingly beautiful. Please teach him to at least speak/understand one african (home) language enough so that he does not feel left out.. Being in Durban South Africa for 6 yrs. I felt lonely in a room full of people speaking Zulu. That forced me to learn it. And as best I can my children and I learn it together. In the mean time Skype is an excellent way to get to know faces to go with these voices on the phone. We make Skype dates for 7:30am EST at least twice a week with Baba. And we count down the days until he joins us here in Virginia.

Lauren - posted on 12/01/2010

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We live in South Africa and not even I would let my child go to the Congo. Just the immunizations you need to get for the Congo is enough for you to say no. The Congo is for most parts very third world and still not a safe place to visit.

Meilan - posted on 11/25/2010

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Basically he doesn't know those people! They are family, but he doesn't know them so no, I wouldn't do it. I'm all for travelling and I started doing so on my own when I was 14. But sending a 4 year old to people he doesn't know really isn't a good idea. Like said before, his concept of time is not ours. Also at some point he will think you've abandonned (sp?) him. He's not old enough to understand.
So if you can't go, he will just have to stay in the country with you.

After saying that I want to add it's not fair on any person to send them to people they don't know unless they WANT to. Try to imagine how scary the whole experience will be to a 4 year old. Even adults can get uncomfortable at the thought of flying, of going to a completely different country, of staying with people they've 'never' seen before.

Lydia - posted on 11/25/2010

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I think he is way to young to be 2 weeks away from you in a different country. He doesn't know the place and the people, this can really traumatize him to be "taken away" from you at such a young age. It's a NO WAY for me. Maybe the grandparents can come to you for the holidays. Invite them over.

Heather - posted on 12/03/2010

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UPDATE TO EARLIER POST:

If you do let him travel, let your son know that it’s ok to tell the customs & immigration people (but only them) that he is travelling with his aunt. Trust me they will ask!

Also, how is the relationship between your husband and his family? If this looks like game-playing, go with your gut, postpone the trip until you all three can travel together.

Last but not least, if your families want to use your son as a pawn, tell them to buy a chess set. Our children are not game pieces.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

108 Comments

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Crystal - posted on 12/04/2010

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i don't think you should worry about what other people think. if it would be safe, and he would be taken care of, i don't see the problem. everyone needs a break every once in awhile. i don't work and we don't have any friends or babysitters, so we don't get the normal one night out a month/week or whatever, we usually take the baby to my husbands parents house and let them keep her for 3-5 days every few months, just to get a nice breather. so if you're comfortable with him going, then i would let him go. and i would tell whoever would chastise you for it that it's your child and it's absolutely none of their business. i used to worry about my parents and in laws like that a lot, and they always had big mouths, until i told them to back off and it's my kid not theirs. it's your family, your life, and your decision! i wouldn't base it on anyone else but you and your husband. and if they have a problem with it, and won't talk to you, just shrug it off. they'll get over it.
good luck!!

Sherelle - posted on 12/04/2010

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2 weeks is ages to a child. I think if your partner's parents are offering to pay for your son and you really can't afford one of you to fly they could help towards sending you or your husband as well. If not, they would have to come to you or wait until you can afford it or your son is much, much older. What if he is unhappy and too scared to tell his grandparents? It is a long time to be afraid and it might be detrimental to the next time he is asked to come and visit. If they don't understand then you're back to square one with them. Fortunately they're far away so can't give you too much grief. You sound like you love your son very much and know what you should do. Don't be pressured by other people. Stand your ground. He's your son.

Kylie - posted on 12/04/2010

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If you are having reservations, then the answer is NO!! do not let him go. He is very young, and hasnt spent much time with them, let alone from you. Go with your instinct you are the mother, and say NO! If they don't speak to you and respect your wishes then tough for them. Explain that he is too young, hasnt spent much time away from you, let alone with them. If they dont accept it, then tough for them!! Stand up for yourself, he is your child, and go with your gut instinct. I have older children, but I am in a similar position as you. Just say No!! simple as that. Best of Luck X

Inonge Limpo - posted on 12/04/2010

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I think your baby is still young. Atleast if the holiday destination is near you so that u can atleast be nearer just incase of anything & u can even just pop up by to check. He can atleast visit when he's older, why not ask the grand parent to travel instead. I wish u luck in this as you try to have a good relationship with your partners relatives & at the same time trying to protect your little one.

Lynnette - posted on 12/03/2010

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I think he's way to young to fly that far alone. I know the airlines will accompany him, but can you imagine how scared he will be on the trip all alone? Very scary to a little one and it's an extremely long flight without you there

Laura - posted on 12/03/2010

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Why dont you and your partner go and take your son. Holidays are for family and you two are the first two most important people in his life.

Leona - posted on 12/03/2010

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No way in hell would my 4 year old be going anywhere without me or his Dad - never mind to another country with people i'm not sure about!! You've answered your own question I think if you just reread what you've written. Yes ok - you could do with some quality time with your partner (couldn't we all ;) But seriously, it wouldn't even BE quality time because you'd both be worried sick every minute. You'll only get quality re-connection time if you are nice and relaxed. Just say no. Sorry.. don't want to offend anyone, thanks for the offer etc etc.. but he's too young. If they get bent out of shape about that - well, too bad. Then they're not the sort of people you'd ever want to leave your kid with anyway.

Diane - posted on 12/03/2010

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take to your mate and issue them an invite to come see you, your son is to young and i feel it would be traumatic for him to be separated from mom and dad that long and to also be away from his security of home and family. if they were going to supply his airfare, then they should have no problem with flying here theirselves, we have no idea how much longer they may be with us, and this is an opportunity for them to spend time with all of you

Shelly - posted on 12/03/2010

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I would not send my child under those circumstances. If there is any animosity still you may have a hard time getting your kid back from another country.
If someone went with him I would make sure it is you. If there is animosity still then they could fill your child's head with lies.
Why don't you invite his family to come see and stay with you? This opens the door to the family- you aren't shutting them out you just simply don't want to put your 4 year old on a plane by himself to a strange (because he has never been there) country to see strangers (family or not he doesn't know them).
It is not unreasonable to say no to their request.

[deleted account]

2 weeks is way too long for a 3 year old to be away from his parents (or a 4 year old...any young child) ...especially OUT of the country and especially to be with strangers. For what you've described, maybe when he is a teenager would I even consider it (& even then it would have to be under the best of circumstances). If they want to spend Christmas with him, then they should come to him. I think it's very selfish of them to even ask you. Then what if they tried to keep/kidnap him? We've all heard about these types of stories in the news. Not sure why this 'additional' topic was brought up, but as a parent you are suppoesd to take care of your kids without expecting help. If help is offered and available, then great. But if not and you'd like a break, then hire a babysitter for a night and go out with your sig. other. NO WAY - NO HOW would I even consider this trip and arrangement.

Nichole - posted on 12/03/2010

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I would not send a child out of the country alone until they were a teen. And if there was a history of animosity with the relatives, not until they were an adult. I wouldn't want to send them into a situation where they have to deal with people who don't like mommy and talk awful about her. That's hard on a kid.... I grew up with divorced parents...I was in that situation alot.

Meilan - posted on 12/03/2010

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Well, I advised a big NO NO!
I'm Indonesian, my husband is Scottish and we live in Belgium.
Sending your child to Australia is completely different as sending your child to Congo (for which Europe still has a travel warning out!!!)

Heather - posted on 12/03/2010

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@Lauren, I agree, you could never compare Congo & Finland :) However the cultural situation I well understand.

Jean - posted on 12/03/2010

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I think your son should spend Christmas with his Mum and Dad to be honest. I could never imagine not having my parents around for the holidays when I was little, and I would never send either of my children away at this time of years now because Christmas isn't Christmas without children at home. Two weeks is such a long time without his parents in a foreign country too, definitely not accetable in my opinion.

I would politely decline with the excuse the you want a family Christmas with your son at home with you, but maybe you can arrange something in the new year and one or both of you go with him, but give grandparents as much space to be with your son as much as possible, maybe you could get a hotel and spend a couple of quiet days away together.

You're so right, your family can't demand that your son not spend that time with your in laws, and vice versa, the relationship your son has with both sides should be equal and unbiased. I live in a country away from my family too, I know how hard it is not having anyone to turn to when things get difficult, or if you just need an evening to yourselves. But this is too far, too long and he's too young to be away from you. Hopefully they'll understand and be happy to see your son in a few weeks, otherwise just steer clear for a while...

Blessed - posted on 12/03/2010

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Never let your son go please, my friend lost her son the same way. What is wrong with Congolese they never want to leave anything behind,since the father took the son 2years ago she hasn't seen him since. as you said its his family too you cant deny him to see them, it will be better if you were also going

Heather - posted on 12/03/2010

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I’ve only read a few replies, and the majority appear to be saying no. I wonder how many are in cross cultural families or living in a country that is not their homeland. I’m going to say yes, send your son. If I was in your exact situation, this is what I would do:

COMMON SENSE STUFF:
Make sure that you sign documents that the guardian (aunt?) has with her that gives permission for your son to travel with her, include dates and flight numbers.
Make sure that the flight tickets cannot be changed, cancelled, extended and that this is for two weeks only.
Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for him.
Make sure his vaccinations are up to date.

EMOTIONAL STUFF:
Of course he will miss you, send him away with pictures of you and your husband, also of you doing things together, so that he can talk about you with his family – this is my mum goofing in the kitchen, this is our favourite park, this is where my dad works, mum studying hard etc etc (don’t forget that they are just as curious about your life as well)
If you can, buy a small memo recorder and tape some messages that he can play when he’s feeling homesick – short, sweet stuff that he can hear your voices and know that he’ll see you soon.
If possible Skype them, if they have video even better – you can see how things are where he is.

FAMILY & CULTURAL STUFF:
I think it’s great that your MIL is prepared to work at a relationship with you. IMO MIL’s can be your best ally (and yes, sometimes your worst enemy ). It takes a mature person to admit they’ve made a mistake and work on making things better.
Your family vs his family: it’s always going to be about compromise. Certainly when you are both away from your families it becomes so much harder. Are your family perhaps jealous that your son is going to his father’s family first? If so, then perhaps make an arrangement that your son can go and spend time with your family.
Your homeland cultures are in all likelihood vastly different from the place you are living now. Help your son understand where he comes from and build a few bridges with the families

It’s a great opportunity for everybody, grab it with both hands. Good luck

(PS: I’m Australian, living in Finland. I know all about cross-cultural relationships  As a mother, one of the more difficult jobs I have is helping my son relate to his Australian identity. Life here is sometimes similar, and other times worlds apart. I would like that he will feel comfortable where ever he is. I know it’s not easy, especially living a long way from MY support network. Even though I can call on my husband’s family for assistance, it’s not the same.)

Mandy - posted on 12/02/2010

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Hello there, as a mother I do not recommend that you let your son go under any circumstances. He is too little. When he can make up his own mind this is when you can agree to this situation. My suggestions keep him close, love him dearly. Mandy

Barb - posted on 12/02/2010

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FIRST your parents have no say in this. If you decide and they get angry, so be it. I am certain that you will make a well informed decision. Don't worry what they say...you can NEVER satisfy everyone. Now as for should you send him to Africa...I have been married 38 years now. My mother-in-law never accepted me until the day she died (5 years ago). She had someone (better yet anyone else) picked out as a wife for son. After many years of her apologizing and then more fights, I realized the only reason she ever apologized was to get her way with something. I myself, wouldn't trust her yet. Have them come and visit you. They can always get a motel and keep your son over night giving you and your significant other time with just each other. If you feel comfortable and she gives you enough reassurance, you might even think about letting him spend a couple of days with them. Sending him to Africa is NOT a good idea. Their laws on who should have custody are very different. You may even loose custody just by sending him there. So if you decide to send him to Africa, I'd get a lawyer to make sure you can get him back. Best of luck with the Grandmother. I know how difficult a position you are in.

Jody-Maree - posted on 12/02/2010

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I have not read all posts, but many seem quite concerned. I would not send my 4 yr old (only teenager with suitable maturity). What would happen if a major accident or illness while away? If he has spent nearly all his time with his parent so far, wouldn't he miss you alot. Two weeks is a long time for a young child. It could take quite a long time for him to get over it if it were to be an upsetting visit.

Go with your gut instinct.

Patricia - posted on 12/02/2010

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Hello there,
I would NOT send my son to Africa. They might have other intentions with your son. Maybe your partner's mother still wants to separate you from her son. I have a 5 year old boy and my husband and I also do EVERYTHING by ourselves, we get no help from anybody, and yes a little break would be great, but it wouldn't be worth it. I would miss my son so much and Christmas without my son wouldn't be Christmas anymore. Also, I think your son will miss you a lot, 2 weeks is a long time for a little one. It seems that you have doubts in your heart, so follow your heart, and Don't send your so Please!

Jeanette - posted on 12/02/2010

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Listen to your gut instinct. If you are terrified, why would you send him? Just say no.

Raksha - posted on 12/02/2010

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Talk to your parents about it and explain them the importance about your partners parents in your childs life. They will understand. It's a good opportunity for your child to spend quality time with your partners parents. They will definitely take great care of your child. As a parent I understand you will be in a dilemma. But trust your instincts and prepare your child and send him. It will be a memorable trip for him. Trust me , you will not regret it.
Raksha

Dina - posted on 12/02/2010

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BEING A GRANDMA WITH A GRANDCHILD THAT GOES TO SEE HER DAD IN TEXAS EVERY SUMMER,I KNOW HOW U R FEELING.IF U DO DECIDE TO LET UR SON GO SEE HIS GRANDPARENTS,MAKE SURE U GET SOME KIND OF LEGAL PAPER STATING THAT U GET UR CHILD BACK WHEN U DECIDE U HE SHOULD COME BACK HOME.MAKE SURE U STIPULATE EXACTLY WHAT IT IS U WANT,THAT'S JUST TO PROTECT U AND UR LITTLE BOY.HOW WELL DO U AND UR PARTNER GET ALONG?U NOT BEING MARRIED MEANS NEITHER ONE OF U HAS LEGAL CUSTODY OF UR CHILD AND BY LETTING HIM GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY WITHOUT PROTECTING U AND UR CHILD LEGALLY COULD MEAN THAT U MAY NOT SEE UR CHILD AGAIN.I DON'T WANT TO SCARE U JUST TRYING TO HELP U OUT.AS FOR UR FAMILY,I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE A SAY IN WHAT U ALLOW UR CHILD TO DO OR NOT DO,HE IS SOLEY UR RESPONSIBILITY AND NOT THEIRS.I HOPE I'VE BEEN OF SOME HELP TO U.AND FURTHER MORE,I AGREE WITH DANIELLE McCULLOCK,REGARDLESS OF WHETHER UR PARTNERS MOM LIKES U OR NOT,I THINK U SHOULD ACCOMPANY UR CHILD,ESPECIALLY IF HE'S GOING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY.HE IS WAY TO YOUNG TO GO ALONE.IF UR GUT FEELING TELLS U NOT TO LET HIM GO,THEN FOLLOWING THAT FEELING OR U MAY NOT SEE UR CHILD AGAIN AND I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHAT U WANT.GOD BLESS.

SINCERELY.......DINA!!

Danielle - posted on 12/02/2010

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If you have to ask if it is a good idea, then it probably is not. You don't seem comfortable with letting him go. And I have a question...Isn't it odd that the family in Africa did not invite you to come as well? Regardless of the mother-in-laws dislike of you, you are still the mother of her grandchild which means you are part of the package. If you have any feelings that your son might be kidnapped by your partner or his family listen to your feelings.

Tammy - posted on 12/02/2010

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I don't know how you can be away from your son for so long! I have trouble being away from my daughter for the 2 hours she's in school every day! Why do you need a break from your baby?! I don't understand that! Sending him away from home and everything he knows as this young an age is wrong! I would also be terrified that your husband's parents won't want to give him back. There are so many cases of this kind of thing happening. Maybe your mom-in-law is kissing up to you, so you will send him to her and then she could just disappear with him. DON'T DO IT! Hire a reliable baby sitter and go out for the evening with your husband. When you get home, your son is asleep anyway and you have the rest of the night to yourselves.

Kary - posted on 12/02/2010

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I think he is too young especially for 2 weeks. Is he familiar with the grandparents in africa????Are you going with him either of you?

Hope - posted on 12/02/2010

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If you and your partner need the break, then you should get one by hiring a sitter for an evening or 2; you'll see that it doesn't take very long and you're feeling anxiety about getting home to your child. Imagine that anxiety when there is no way to get back home to your child or get him to you? And you're thinking of doing this for 2 weeks? I can hardly believe this question is legitimate. If you really need the break, then please find a healthier way to get it! Blessings!

Emma - posted on 12/02/2010

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I believe that your son is too young to spend that amount of time away from you, in another country or not. ESPECIALLY with 'family' who are effectively strangers to him. At least one of you should go with him, if at all. It sounds like there are many 'cons' and not enough 'pro's' to sending him away. He could feel abandoned, no matter how good the grandparents are to him because 2 weeks is an eternity at that age, with no concept of time. A 4 year old's place is with his parents, especially at the holidays. You have a hard decision to make. Good luck.

Jill - posted on 12/02/2010

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I have to change my answer, I misread it and thought dad was going to Africa with him, I would not send my 4 yo by himself anywhere. Goes with a parent or the grandparents come to your home.

Cat - posted on 12/02/2010

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Hi Dezra.
My son was 2 in July. In August, he went on holiday with his father's parents for 10 days to another country. Although it was difficult for me to be without him for that time, I equally wanted him to be able to spend time with his Grandparents.
I have to say, though, that they only live 1 and a half hours away from us and he has spent weekends with them so he knows and trusts them and equally I trust them.
If you can say hand on heart that both you AND your son trust them, then it might be ok to let him go for a short time to start with.

Also, my son is quite a laid back child - not too demanding; good sleep pattern; no temper tantrums etc. You need to take that into account too. If your son is, shall we say, more demanding than others then will they be able to cope with him?

Maybe suggest to them that they come over and stay with your sister-in-law for a week, and let your son stay with them for a couple of days - away from you. That way, he will be able to spend some time getting to know them without you and your partner there - but you will be close enough if anything drastic happens. You can also suggest to your parents that he maybe spend a weekend with them too - so that they do not feel left out and shouldn't get angry with you.

If they do not live in the country - maybe get them to spend a weekend at your house - and you and your partner get away for the weekend. That way your son is spending time away from you, but in an environment he knows and feels secure in.

At the end of the day - we can give all the advise in the world to you - but the ultimate decision is down to you.

I hope this helps a bit.

Cat. x

Tina - posted on 12/02/2010

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You need a lot of prayer, and guidance. If you know the Lord Jesus Christ you need to ask Him for wisdom on this matter. If you don't you need to come to Him so He can help you with this decision. It is not easy I am sure. If you will believe in Jesus and accept what He did on the Cross for your sins, and ask Him to help you with this, He will do so. He the Lord Jesus knows what is best for you in this situation. Read in the Bible, in the N.T. in the book of Romans, and also in John, and know that God has a guardian angel over your son, and you and your family as well, but you need to come to Him if you don't already know Him. He will help you and your son. Does your son, know Jesus ? Does he know that your partner's family loves him ? or are you in need for confidence there ? Seek God's help in this matter, for He knows what is best for you. Christmas is the Season that He is recognized for coming to earth as a Baby, and I recognize Him in that and all that He did as much as I can do so. I had to let my little girl visit her grandma and grandpa, even though we were out of state, it was a long distance for her to travel so far away from us, I know that distance for you is greater, and the time frame is a concern too. See what you can do to stay in touch, i.e. do you have use of computers there, etc. to stay in touch that way ? Will they keep in touch with you when they do have him,if you do let him visit ? Pray for your own family too, if you can do so. God will help you there too. I have family over seas as well, and haven't seen my son and his wife and son, since before they left, and it's been a long time for me to see them. The only way I do see them is on the web. I can talk to them though and I am so grateful for that !!! Do hope that you will be led to do the right course of action.

Trecia - posted on 12/02/2010

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I am a single parent and I would be terrified sending my children away from me for two weeks aspecially on his own. Another thing he is too young to be travelling alone. I wouldn't advise it at all, I think your family is right, I understand you and your partner need some alone time but I would sacrifice alone time right now until he is older. Africe is a huge place whatif they never send him back, not trying to scare you but it's possible. Good luck and God bless

Vicky - posted on 12/02/2010

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wow, I feel your pain. 4 is too young to travel. I think you should accompany him and stay too.

Anne - posted on 12/02/2010

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I had five children - the eldest now in his fifties and my youngest in her forties. It is very difficult to give advice on a matter such as this, but I do not think that I could ever have sent my children away (so far) at such a young age. Mine went on a plane flight (only 1000 miles away when they were 10 and 12 and they were together so could watch out for each other). I think it is more difficult these days as so many children get abducted etc. If it was me, I would tell my Mom and Dad-in-law that I feel he is still too young (unless you had a friend taking him there and back). I love my grandchildren dearly and love to see them but I would never suggest that they do a journey such as that on their own. Maybe your in-laws could come to you sometime for a visit or you can go once you are qualified and have saved some money - make that a goal! I do not think that your parents should get angry with you - they can give gentle advice - but you are the child's mother and must make the decisions for him and you appear to care very much for him. They have brought you up so should trust your judgement.
I hope you come to a happy decision that will please you all or at least meet with understanding. May God bless you and all your family. Anne

Cristina - posted on 12/02/2010

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No way. It is too long of a flight for a 4 year old that is never away from his parents. you don't know how he will react on a flight alone. It's bad enough when you are there with them & they act up/ get antsy on a plane, but ALONE? think about it

Carol - posted on 12/02/2010

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HOW IS HE GOING TO GET TO AFRICA?? ALONE?? I HAVE A 4YR. OLD GRANDDAUGHTER & I THINK SHE IS TO YOUNG TO BE AWAY FROM HER PARENTS FOR MORE THAN A DAY. WHY DON'T THEY COME TO YOUR HOUSE??????????
NONA

Giileh - posted on 12/02/2010

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Your mind seems to be made up about sending him to Africa, you are asking us, but stating the case for why you should send him. I understand your concerns and fears, as a married woman myself who understands the intricacies of dealing with in-laws i can tell you straight up that the right thing to do would be to send him, but you have to go with him or your husband. Yes you both need the break, but from what you are telling me your son is not used to spending time with others. I have kids and had to deal with them travelling to Africa, even thou we travelled with them each time, we dealt with many challenges, of other people not relating to their spoiled personalities, dealing with their sleeping habits and feeding habits, but the most important their health. The care you would take with your child in a foreign country is completely different from another person. We took care of our children and they still got sick. Children die in Africa for the wrong reasons I am not wishing that but I am telling you the reality. No matter what, I advice that this first time go with him and get a first hand experience of the challenges the person looking after him will be dealing with. At the end of the day you don’t want to blame that person for anything that may happen to him when you did not do your leg work. Have you even seen or understand the housing and living environment he will be in?

At the end of the day even if you go with your child you and your child will need prayers. Believe me prayers are the ultimate healer and protector

Jody - posted on 12/02/2010

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From my experience a couple of things you should consider.
First: it doesn't sound like you are familiar with how the grandparents conduct themselves in their home environment. My guess is you have seen them during a visit, which is different. We all act differently in a social situation. I'm also guessing, you have not stayed or lived with them even for a week. If that is true, NO WAY would I put my child in a situation where I was not fully aware of what goes on. People change behind closed doors. The sweetest person can turn rude and mean. I'm not saying that would be the case, just that it's possible.
Second, If your son has not been away from you for more than a couple of nights, he may wake up the first night away and cry for you, then what?
My grandchildren know me, have stayed with me and even with that they sometimes wake up and cry wanting "Mom". One time our granddaughter (5yrs) had a nightmare of her Mom in trouble. At midnight we called her Mom (my daughter in law) to let her hear her Mother's voice to confirm everything was okay, then she went back to sleep easily. We live within an hour from each other so if it gets bad I can do something about it. Your case, you couldn't.
The important thing here is for you to be the protector of your son. You would never purposely put him in a situation where he could be harmed, so don't leave that up to chance.
Third, kids are fast and being older your reflexes are a bit slower. Our 2 yr old grandson is fast and busy, I would ask myself, are they physically up to that challenge.
As a suggestion, if I were in your place, I would plan a trip to go see them for a week. Stay back a bit as if not being there and observe how things get handled. They won't love or handle situations just like you but letting them love your son and sharing the joy he brings to life is the greatest gift a grandparent can receive.
Good luck to you....remember, your the Mom, trust your instincts!

Lauren - posted on 12/02/2010

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Here's a list of recommended vaccinations for the Congo:
Hepatitis A
Typhoid
Yellow fever
Polio
Hepatitis B
Rabies
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
Tetanus-diphtheria

Some of them can make you feel quite ill!

Renee - posted on 12/02/2010

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At 4 yrs old.....they would be with me on Christmas. Hell at any age !!!! NO way would I sendthem any where else, weather they wantd to go or not !!!!

Julie - posted on 12/02/2010

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Maybe you can plan a trip after the holidays as family, or invite the family to spend the holidays with you. This is hard subject to advise on I am trying to visualize sending my four year old to another country without me and I just can't imagine this. It is the decision of the two of you as parents as he is your child. Either way this does not make you a bad mother, it shows your passion as a mother for the well being of your son.

Barbara - posted on 12/02/2010

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I'm a grandmother of 17. There's no way grandparents should even make such a request. they should be more concerned about the child's safety. Who would put a 4 year old on a plane for such a long distance, except for an emergency? Tell the the grands they are welcome to visit your home.

Judy - posted on 12/02/2010

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Dear X, let me start by noting your misperception of the African culture. In the African culture, no grandparent can hurt their grandchildren. If anything, the moment their sons get children, i.e. their g/children, more of the love goes to the g/children. So, am afraid that you are worried for nothing. Secondly, remember you are married to an African man. For us Africans, going home to the man's parents is just so so important and you will be loved and respeceted even more once your parents in law know that you love home. If you are going to have some time off, why then cant you go with your son and husband? Why do you want to spend time alone with your husband in the Carribean and then say you are terrified to have your son alone with the g/parents? I do not understand you. Please try to balance out and get the sense out of the holiday you are planning. That is the time you can have more time even with your mum in law that has never liked you before!...there is no other right time.

Am an African Gal....and that is my advice....
J

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