Child Abandonment

Debbie - posted on 07/29/2017 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My sister passed away and my pregnant niece who had just turned 15 years old came to live with my husband and myself. I got her back into school and we did our best to give her love, security and a solid foundation. My sister had on-going problems with my niece running away, drinking and drugs since she was 12 years old. Not long after my niece had our beautiful great-nephew she started acting up running away for hours, weeks, 3 months and February she left for good. She left her son with my husband and myself. I was attempting to get her professional help as mentally and cognitively she was not where she should be for her age, very immature, stubborn, anger management issues. When her son was born he was more like an accessory rather then her child. Once the positive attention subsided she didn't want the responsibility of being a young mother, even though she received so much help from the school we enrolled her in and ourselves. I did my best to let her come into her own with very few rules. Keep your room clean, go to school and help me with her son. but the disrespect my husband and I received was stunning. Within the first 6 months she was using profanities with me when she didn't get her way. She has punched me in the face and I cannot have that type of behaviour around her son. She made new friends as she was in a different province living with us. Once new friends were made the running away commenced. The school called the ministry due to her lack of attendance and by law being a minor after she is missing for 48 hours I had to notify the authorities making a missing persons report. I am in the process of gaining custody of my great-nephew.

She ran away for the last time when he was 28 months old. My nephew appears to have adjusted to her absence with no issues. I have been in his little life since my niece was 17 weeks pregnant with him. Therefor my husband and myself have been his family foundation.

My question is will he forget her? He calls my husband and myself mommy and daddy even though we back it up referencing to ourselves as Aunty and Uncle. We don't mind at all what he calls us. I just want to give him a loving and stable home. We are all he has that is stable right now. We have not been showing him photos or videos of my niece at this time as I don't want to confuse him any further or set him back. Then on the flip side I've been told its good to keep him connected by showing photos and videos. I don't want him to forget her.

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First off, I want to say I'm sorry for your loss when your sister passed away.. Secondly, I want to commend you in taking in your niece during that time.. What you did for her was purely amazing even if she may not be able to recognize that just yet. I'm assuming your niece is 18-19 years old(?) and although you may be right in identifying her behavioral issues, I'm sure losing her mom and then having a baby at a young age is probably exasperating whatever internal issues she has within herself that could be the root of all of her problems to begin with. I only pray that wherever she is, she is doing well and can think introspectively and come back around to be in her son's life, as well as be a part of your family since you have so graciously welcomed her in.

As far as whether or not he will forget her, I hope not.. I can recall some fleeting random moments from when I was around 1-3 years old so he may remember bits and pieces since she was kind of around until he was 28 months old.. I think it's normal if he calls you and your husband mommy and daddy since you have been his primary caretakers and at this age he may not understand why his aunt and uncle are taking care of him. BUT it may be helpful to also show pics and share memories he had with her so that if/when she comes back (and I hope ready to be a mother) then he will be able to understand a little easier. If he is comfortable with calling you mom, then maybe have him refer to pics of him mom as "Mommy-(niece's name)" and you as "Mommy-Debbie".. But if your niece decided to sign over her rights then I think that's a whole different story...

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