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I am in desperate need of advise
My sister recently lost custody of her 3 children and I have taken custody of them.
They have been living with my family and I for 4 months now. The intention was to have them restored back to their mum after a period of time but the decision has been made that they will not be going back to their mum and they will stay in the system.
this has caused a great deal of stress on my family and my partner and I are completely on opposite sides of the fence.
We have 3 children of our own, so all up there is 6 children - 1, 2 , 3 , 3 , 5 & 9.
the youngest of the 3 children that is not ours will go and live with the material grandmother , leaving the older 2 with no where to go and the father is in jail.
I grew up in the system and know what it is like. I therefore want to give the 2 children a forever home. My partner however does not.
We have been together 7 years and before all of this happened we were quite stable - due to get married in May 2022.
My partner does not want to take on the children permanently and is willing to leave if I choose to keep them.
I am so torn because this is my life that has now blown up. My wedding that I have been planning and saving for is 4 months away and unlikely to go ahead, I cry every day over the real possibility that I will either lose my nieces or my partner and I just have no idea what to do.
it’s important to also understand that this has been a very trying 4 months. The 3 children have very real and intense behaviours/trauma . It certainly has not been easy and we are only just starting to adjust
I feel lost , I have no one other than my mum or my partner to turn to . My mum took me in as a child and has a very strong opinion about what I should do and my partners opinion differs from that.
please offer me your advise , it would be greatly appreciated
There are so many things for you to deal with at the moment. I agree with you the system is not good and it must be extremely hard for you to take care of the six, meanwhile your partner is not on the exact same page and your mom cannot always support you the best way. Is there any possibility that you can communicate with your partner and your mum that they can share your burden at this moment? Is there no one you can really turn to besides your partner and your mom?
I know your opinion about the system, but this is too much for you to take on. don't know if agencies ( department of family and children, Centrelink etc) that can make their contributions. and for the three children that to support them dealing with childhood trauma, that's also another lot of things to work on.
You are doing great and you love these children, but you need more support financially, emotionally; And your disagreement between you and your partner and mother, I think Relationship Australia probably can help you with this one.
Let's see the other's people responses, they may offer relevant and practical advice regarding your situation.
Hi J, welcome
"On the road" hit the nail on the head. Support is what you need but first-
It isnt the end of the world to postpone indefinitely your wedding, that will release some stress ATM otherwise it will be a sombre affair and that isnt ideal for a wedding. Please try and accept that it isnt the time.
Next (I've spoken to my wife at length), your loving nature for these 2 children (and the youngest might come to live with you later) is massive and due to that there is no compromise that would be reasonable with keeping them. I feel sorry for you and your partner as you both have to make sacrifices but your "meat in the sandwich" situation has led to a ultimatum from your partner and that is unfair.
Your partner has also been met with a situation that he didnt expect. It has rocked him to the point where he is willing to leave you and his 3 kids over which astounds me. As a single father he'd be up for high child support for many years, his children losing their full time dad and so on... I cant help but feel his bond with you wasnt what is should have been for a guy getting married. An assumption on my part but I'd expect a teamwork mentality in the least to overcome problems. That's what couples do right?
So, I would have a meeting with your partner (no distractions) and pledge to him this- that you cannot compromise on those 3 children, they need a home, stability and love. That you are prepared to do anything required to make life as easy and happy as possible which will include seeking all help from all Government agencies to obtain regular respite to allow special times alone with him say weekend trips or with your own children without your sisters kids. It might include the kids spending weekends at grandma's house just overnight once every 3rd weekend etc.
Then leave his decision to him. At that point I wouldnt pressurise him for an answer, if he isnt willing to agree then he has chosen his path. Such a decision however would leave you high and dry and not in keeping with the man you would have wanted to marry- IMO. You might disagree with that conclusion however.
If you both decide to not care for those children based on your partners stance, and down the track the kids have more trauma or are separated etc then you might have a dim view of the pressure your partner placed upon you and have regrets. I would be avoiding such regrets and give those kids a home and a family.
PS- you are a magnificent role model to all 6 kids.
Hello JEMTWNM, this is not an easy comment to reply to, as the father is in gaol and the mother has not been granted custody of the children's so it's a divided decision and what you need to do is decide between the children or your partner staying with you and to marry in May.
Is there any possibility that your sister may after a certain period be able to apply to have the children returned to her and under certain circumstances, this may help you decide on an answer.
To try and raise 5 children is an enormous undertaking and your support has to be taken as caring, a decision you may need to think about is whether you and your partner have other issues that you can't find a common ground and whether your sister is allowed to visit her children and if this worries your partner.
Thank you so much for your reply!
I have other friends I can turn to for help/guidance but I choose not to because no amount of words can make anyone understand the enormity of the situation and I really don’t want to burden anyone unnecessarily with my drama.
My expectation in this situation is for my partner to support my family and myself through this particularly difficult time and stand by me no matter what decision I make. I do feel as though he is putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on me which has resulted in some resentment building, which I know will continue to build over time.
I agree with everything you’ve said! The wedding needs to be postponed, I don’t feel as though I would be able to enjoy it any way.
I know what decision I need to make, it’s just a matter of actually having the Will power to do it.
I feel like I either have to pick my nieces or my own children as they will suffer as a result of their father potentially leaving and that makes me feel sick.
but then I am faced with the trauma of trying to explain to 2 little girls that they can no longer live with us and not hate myself for it. They would also have to deal with the loss of their little sister who will no longer be living with them regardless of whatever decision I make as she will be living with her maternal grandmother who is not related to the older 2 girls.
Unfortunately there is no amount of talking I can do with my partner to solve this situation. To him, everything has been said and the only thing left to do is to make a decision.
thank you all again for your advice , it is greatly appreciated!
Hi Geoff, thank you for your reply!
My sister is able to apply to the court to have her children restored back to her, it is called a section 90. She has to prove that her circumstances are different and she is able to care for her children without posing any further risks to them. It’s a lengthy process but definitely doable and a positive in this horrible situation.
My partner has deep resentment towards my sister for putting us in this situation. At the moment she only sees them once a fortnight for 3 hours and it is done away from the house by a care worker. We have no involvement in it. The girls also speak with her via FaceTime 2 times a week from home.
maybe what my partner and I need to do is find a professional who is able to work with the both of us to work out if it’s something entirely different we should be working on as a couple
Hi, did you get to read my reply. It might have been missed.
Hi Tony ,
I got your reply and I replied back but I can’t see it there. I am wondering if I pressed send. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote but I will try again haha.
I appreciate everything you’ve taken the time to write, so thank you!
My partner and I decided today that getting married really isn’t the right thing to do for right now.
The ultimatum really bothers me but I also try and remind myself that this truly isn’t his fault, nor is it mine and that is where I find myself being so caught between how he feels and what I feel. I want to be respectful of his wishes but also find a way to compromise where both parties have a final say and can live with the outcome.
I have tried talking to him, assuring him, reminding him of the positives and anything else I can think of that may sway him. I offered just to keep 1 child (the oldest 1 as she could remember this and be more traumatised. She also starts school next week and I would love to keep things as consistent as possible for her. It’s not fair for her to have to change schools when being at big school is already a huge adjustment for her).
He has asked me to stop asking him because his answer will not be any different. No amount of tears or pain will change how he feels.
I now need to determine whether I take everything he is saying and believe that he will leave or call his bluff and keep the 2 girls regardless of his reaction and hope he stays.
As much as I love him, I feel I could live without him. It’s my children that I worry about. They don’t deserve any of it and it breaks my heart to think that their close bond could be destroyed but 1 decision.
I 100% agree that my regret and guilt would eat at me if I choose not to keep them and it’s likely I would feel resentment towards my partner and maybe even blame him for forcing my hand.
Finally , my expectation of my partner is that he stand by me, support me and guide me through this rather than add extra pressure. Unfortunately that is not the case and I am definitely left questioning our relationship.
OK we'll the wedding date off will receive some stress.
We're here if needed.