Selfish or Understandable?

[deleted account] ( 24 moms have responded )

I no longer want to be my sister's guardian...

She is my half sister we have different fathers. My dad past away but both her father and mother are still alive and in contact with us. She even visits my mom on the weekends! Her dad lives out of state but is engaged and apparently doing well. I am 22 an have been married for 3 years I am also 6 months pregnant with my 2nd child my oldest is 14 months. Basically I have had "temporary guardianship" for 3 years and was caring for her before that although i was under age... we had just been returned to my mother after 4 years in foster care when she went to prison for a DUI / leaving the scene of an accident. She was gone for 2 years and I cared for my sister during that time although her boyfriend had custody on paper. When I was 19 she was released and I had guardianship transfered to me (anything to keep my sister from returning to foster care) it was supposed to be temporary (2-3 months) while my mother got resettled now 3 years later she has no plans to regain custody and my husband and i are stuck taking care of a now 13 yr old in addition to our own kids even though she has two able parents now. I don't want to do it anymore. It would be different if they had past away but I talk to both of them almost everyday & they both have normal stable lives now (the dad better off than mom) I should have never ended up in this situation to begin with but now feel selfish for wanting to give up guardianship. I do not want her in a foster home (she always has a home with us) but I feel like her parents won't step up as long as they think I'm am willing to raise her for them. HELP! also if anyone has experience with such a unique situation please share. Legally I am not even sure how to go about getting her back with one of her parents. But if they are both around why shouldn't she be living with them? Like i said I am only 22 and my sister is 13 I am not ready to raise a teenager and I feel helpless like I was conned by my mom.



LET ME CLEAR UP A FEW THINGS...

I am not returning her to foster care I am only encouraging the idea of reuniting her with one of her parents. Of course she will stay with me if she cannot return to one of them. You people honestly thought I meant giving her up completely?

I have discussed this with her and she wants to pursue the possibilty of living with her dad. She actually felt bad telling me she would like to be with him she thought it might hurt MY feelings. I realize now I didn't need to ask this question I know my sister better than anyone and I would never want to hurt her and I haven't. She is excited to possibly be in his wedding and have a father and step mom (and be an only child lol) thanks for your opinions though it did help me. I appreciate any further comments as well. I feel a lot better going forward with this now.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Amanda - posted on 10/13/2010

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Sorry by the sounds of it you are the mother of 2 with one on the way. This may be gentically your sister, but you are also her mother. What if your children were teenagers and you were divorced would you ship them off to their fathers because you arent ready to raise teenagers? Protect, and raise this child as your own, she has had enough troubles in her life without her sister leaving her also!!!

C. - posted on 10/13/2010

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@Laura.. It's not rude. She is thinking of only how she feels and not how her sister would feel being passed around like a rag doll. Thus, she is being selfish. If you were referring to me, I didn't mean anything by it at all. She asked for our opinions and I was just giving mine. And if you weren't referring to me, then you can ignore this b/c there's no relevance :)

Isobel - posted on 10/13/2010

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I don't think it's selfish...and I think it is rude to say that it is. It's entirely understandable. That being said, I hope you will find it in your heart to keep her. Are you getting child support from both of her parents? Because you should be, and if not, can you see if there are benefits through the government for fostering your sister? Perhaps there are also support groups you can get involved with. I know one foster mother whose children go to a camp every month to give her a weekend off...maybe you can also look into that.

Like I said, the way you feel is entirely understandable. Being 22 and raising a 13 year-old isn't fair to anybody...but, unfortunately we don't always get to choose the families we are born into, and it sounds like you may be the only stable person in this child's life.

Good Luck.

Alison - posted on 10/13/2010

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Ashley, I am a bit surprised at the replies you have received so far. This must be very challenging for you, being very so young with such heavy responsibilities on your shoulders. From what I hear raising teenagers can be very challenging and a teenager with this kind of history must be even more difficult.

I totally agree that ideally, you should maintain custody of your sister (I don't believe there is a difference between half-sisters and whole sisters) as long as you are able. She really needs some stability and sanity in her life and it will not come from her parents.

You should really look into the resources available to you in your community. Find out if you can become her foster parents (which may entitle you to some subsidies). Find out if you can get help from a social worker. The social worker can give you direction to help manage all the demands of your family, but also to assess whether this really is too much for you.

My heart goes out to you. It is very unfair that your parents have been absent and that you have had their responsibilities thrust upon you. I often find comfort in knowing that other moms are dealing with the same circumstances or more challenging ones.

All the best to you and your family.

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2010

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I think you and your sister need to sit down with her dad and tell him how you feel. He may think that it is wrong to seperate his daughter from the only real stability she has ever known. If he knows you both are ok with the idea he might jump at the chance at getting his little girl back.

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Brandy - posted on 10/15/2010

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i think that you and your sister have an amazing relationship and it is so nice that such a terrible situation has possibly brought the two of you closer. she is lucky to have someone like you in her life.

C. - posted on 10/15/2010

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I like what some of the others have posted about child support.. BUT, I THINK you have to actually have custody of your sister to file for it (what I mean by that is I think it has to be on paper that you are the guardian). So look into it, and if so, get it changed and THEN file for child support b/c yes, they should be helping financially.

[deleted account]

I didnt take either of your posts as selfish- I think you have done a really difficult thing and I admire you. It's not selfish to want the people who brought her into this world to help you. SUPERHUGS!!

Louise - posted on 10/15/2010

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I think you have been a saint to do this for your sister. Ofcourse you do not want her to return to care nobody would want that but you have a family of your own now that you need to spend your time with. Maybe call a family meeting with your sister present she is old enough now to have a say in her future. Let her air her views and then talk about practicality of making her wishes come true. If she does go and live with her dad you will miss her dreadfully so be prepared for some really low moments. I think your great and I wish there were more women like you about. Big hug!

Kelsey - posted on 10/15/2010

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Hi, I can't imagine what you are going through. I am 24 and I have been married over 4 years and two kids already as well. Add a 13 yr old in the mix? WOW, what a strong woman you are for taking on this enormous responsibility. I know that you will be able to handle whatever come you way. May God Bless You and your generous, loving heart. I know that you will make the right decision whatever it may be (even if its a hard one). Good Luck! and remember for us moms its never wrong to be a little selfish now and then.

Katelyn - posted on 10/15/2010

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I don't think this is selfish at all! As her sister you have been looking out for her best interests for the past three years. As a mom you don't feel like it is your place to raise her through the teenage years ( i didn't want to say responsibility because it sounds awful and i know that isn't the angle you are going by any means). I am 21 now. I have a 13 month old son and he is a handful. I can only imagine having another one on the way. The way I interpreted your post when you said "not ready to raise a teenager" is at face value. Your barely out of your teen years yourself. How are you supposed to tell her no when she wants to do something and have her respect you when your not much older than she is. I'm not speaking for all teens, but i know when i was a teenager, I was always right and if i wanted to do something i did it. Having an older sister or brother tell you no just encourages it and I think that would be a lot on you with two little ones.

In addition, the goal of you taking in your sister was so that at some point she could be reunited with her parents once they were capable. Trust me a 13 year old girl needs a mother and a father. You might have been a mother figure and your husband might have been a father figure, but i see your point and agree that she should try to establish or build on the relationship she has now with her parents and eventually move in with one of them. She has gone through a lot already. A transition back to a somewhat normal life (i mean being raised by parents) could be a great opportunity for her and could give her the emotional support she needs to go far in life.

Nothing I have said was meant in a manner to offend anyone. I am not saying your sister is emotionally distraught or that she has had a bad life or anything like that. I just meant that maybe her moving in with her father might give her a boost of confidence she'll have two parents and plenty of attention...

Good luck and i hope everything works out!

Sneaky - posted on 10/15/2010

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It's not selfish to feel this way because it's not how you feel about your sister, it is just a frustrating situation with her irresponsible parents and I can totally understand why you resent THEM, not HER.

I can't speak from experience, but I have a friend who has five children - a 12 year old daughter and then 5, 3, 2 and a newborn. She has said more than once that she could not do it without her daughter, she holds the baby while mum is cooking, she helps with all the child care (bathing, nappies, cuddling) and of course loves to play with her brothers and sisters. I would be disapproving except that she genuinely loves to do it (she wants to be a child care worker). The point I am eventually going to get to is: having your sister live with you might turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to you. It is obviously really hard to have two under 2 and if she wants to help with the babies, then she might be a blessing in disguise :o)

I also agree with what some other posters have said which is an AWESOME idea - apply to get child support from her parents. They both owe you about three years of back pay!

Good luck, I hope everything works out well for you and your sister :o)

Brigit - posted on 10/15/2010

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It's a tough situation, and as you said, only you know your sister best. She's lucky to have you as her sister, since you were able to take her in and take care of her when she most needed it. At this point, my only advice is to try to help her- and YOU and YOUR KIDS have the most stable situation possible- if her father is able and (man he'd better be) willing to provide that for her, then fantastic. Like you said, you wouldn't want her to go back to foster care.

Anyway- good luck and your best option is to be open and honest with your sister- it's OK to do what it takes to get her back to her father (at her age a father is VERY important, fyi).

Iridescent - posted on 10/14/2010

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It's not selfish and it's up to you. In addition, both her biological parents still have parental rights. FILE FOR CHILD SUPPORT! They do owe it. It will make it easier to care for her. It may also make her parents realize they DO have a responsibility towards her.

[deleted account]

THANKS EVERYONE! AFTER I READ IT AGAIN I REALIZED I COULD HAVE WORDED IT BETTER I WAS WONDERING WHY I WAS GETTING SO MANY NEGATIVE COMMENTS. I HOPE SHE IS ABLE TO REUNITE WITH HER FATHER BUT OTHERWISE WE ARE GOING TO FILE FOR PERMANENT CUSTODY. HOPEFULLY IT MAKES HER FEEL LOVED KNOW THAT HER DAD AND MY HUSBAND AND I ALL LOVE HER AND WANT HER TO BE HAPPY :) I JUST FELT SELFISH CONSIDERING HER LIVING OUTSIDE THE HOME I FEEL SO PROTECTIVE AND ITS HARD TO PICTURE TRUSTING SOMEONE ELSE TO CARE FOR HER. I GUESS I AM MOSTLY PISSED OFF AT MY MOM AND FAMILY THAT THEY LET ME TAKE THIS ON BUT IF I DIDNT NO ONE ELSE WOULD HAVE.



I WISH THERE WAS A COMMUNITY FOR MOMS RAISING SIBLINGS BUT I GUESS THERE AREN'T MANY OUT THERE

Amber - posted on 10/14/2010

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Hi Ashley, I'm not gonna tell you if its selfish or if its understandable because I have NEVER been in that type of position to really make that decision. But if I were you then I would keep her she looks at you as a mom and I know its stuff raising your OWN kids let alone someone elses.
Glad she want's to reunite with her dad. Good luck! Hope everything works out!

C. - posted on 10/14/2010

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That was uncalled for, Laura. She asked for our HONEST opinions and she CLEARLY asked if it was selfish or understandable. The way she posted made it seem as if she was only thinking of herself (thus being selfish). I never said it wasn't understandable to an extent at all, but in that type of situation it's best to think of the other person.

Ashley, you did make it sound that way in the OP so you can't really get mad at people for thinking it :/

Tracy - posted on 10/14/2010

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Ahhh! The way your post read at first did sound like you wanted to send her bac to foster care. But, if this is a decision made with her to return to her dad, then that's awesome! I hope things work out well for her there, and you too. She's a lucky kid to have such a loving big sister.

Isobel - posted on 10/14/2010

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well it looks like you and I were just raised with an entirely different set of manners...but then, I think we've known that for a while. :)

Charlene - posted on 10/13/2010

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In my opinion, I think it would be pretty damaging to your little sister to be abandoned once again. I know that it's probably frustrating and challenging, but is making sure your sister has a loving stable home, not worth it?
Are your mom or her dad giving you any type of support financially? I know money won't solve everything, but it may help ease your worries a little bit. Maybe you should talk to someone to find out about getting some type of child support from her parents or, like Alison suggested, becoming her foster parents.

Tracy - posted on 10/13/2010

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Both. I can understand your position, but at this juncture its too late to back out without doing more severe damage to this young girl. She's essentially been abandoned by the two people who were supposed to be there for her, and now the one person who's been her constant stability wants to walk out. I can see why you're resentful, being shoved into a parent role at a very young age yourself. But put yourself in her shoes. No it's not going to be easy, but life isn't easy.

C. - posted on 10/13/2010

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Honestly, I do think it's a bit selfish. You wanted to take care of her so she wouldn't go to another family and now you're just tired of taking care of her.. You're basically her mother. It's no different than a mother wanting to give up her child to have another family, IMO.



If you give her back to her parents, who's to say this won't happen again and she'll have to go live with another family.. Again?



I think you need to put yourself in your sister's shoes. How would you like it if your parents didn't care enough about their family to stay out of trouble and had to go around to different homes during childhood? It doesn't seem fair, does it? Well think about how SHE feels. She probably hates it more than you hate the thought of it.



Saying you're not ready to raise a teenager is like a girl, 9 months pregnant and getting ready to have her baby, saying she's not ready to be a mother. Ready or not, honey.. Here it comes.

Nichole - posted on 10/13/2010

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I also am just short of 22 and have a 13 year old sister. If her parents aren't willing to step up, and you have raised her as it sounds...don't walk out on her. To her you are the only mother who's ever been thier for her. Don't be just another parent to walk out on her cuz she's a burden. Don't treat her like a burden either. She's your daughter now. You took guardianship, she's yours. Treat her like your other children....would you just get sick of them one day and try to ship them off??

Angie - posted on 10/13/2010

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Your sister has never had any mother but you. Your parents (at least your mother) are not fit to be parents, she shouldn't be back in that environment. I'm sure it's not easy for you; I can't imagine what you are going through. Try to stop looking at her as an inconvenience and burden and try to see her as your daughter.

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