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Tell me I'm wrong (long)

Admittedly, my family is hyper-protective of my niece. My sister, her mom died when DN was 6. Her father was around, but an overgrown man-child, who smoked pot and had no real job. He showed no interest in DN, and didn't really try at all to step up as a father. So without hesitation, our family raised her, gave her as much stability and love as we could, and gave her a strong support network.

A judge actually gave us child support, which only lasted for a couple of years before man-child decided he could take her back and pay less. He showed up in the middle of the night with police, and took her. She was screaming and crying, barely knew the guy. He proved in court that week that he was clean and had a (part time) job. So the judge gave him custody for a child that probably spent less than 40 hours with him all her 8 years.

Now (she's 12), I'm hearing things about them going without power and running water. She told me that she doesn't take showers because she uses too much water. She comes over smelling awful. We bought her $2k in school clothes, and I just found out man-child's mooching g/f is wearing the clothes. Meanwhile, he sends her to school in HIS gym clothes...baggy workout pants, boots, shirts too small without bras (which we buy her), and her hair always looks a hot mess.

We've been walking on egg shells with man-child because he gets pissed off at our "judging" and keeps us from seeing DN. But recently, we took our chances and made another offer to keep her if things were too financially difficult. We'd take her to school, feed her, everything. He could focus on getting on his feet financially. He said no.

And I just found out he moved her out of yet another apartment, and they are currently staying at a guy's place that he's friends with. OMGWTFBBQ. Certain family members think I'm overreacting...but seriously? Putting a 12 year old girl in a house with a single guy who is friends with man-child (and must therefore be of the utmost quality character ::eyeroll::) and leaving her with this person that she doesn't even know at night when you go deliver pizzas? F'IN REALLY?!


Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long)

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    ~~Busy.~~~~Busy.~~ member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I really wish I didn't read this post.

    She's in danger with her father as her care giver.  End of story.
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    **O-Face****O-Face** member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Um no.  This is not in the best interest of the child.  AT ALL. 
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    SposatiSposati member
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    edited December 2011
    We've gone back to court twice, and both times the judge said it was "in the best interest of the child to be with her natural father".

    All of this type of stuff has been brought out, but ignored in court. It kills me, and I feel like the rest of my family just feels resigned about it all.
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    Butter CookieButter Cookie member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Can you get DSS involved? Gah! You are not overreacting.
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    **O-Face****O-Face** member
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    edited December 2011
    document, document, document. 

    Unfortunately it will take an actual incident before something is resolved.  Her "father" sounds like he's keeping her to spite your family.
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    SposatiSposati member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Butter, I called CPS. They started an investigation, but so far nothing has come of it.

    O, it has definitely always been about spite. It all came down to him feeling "disrespected" that we had his child and were taking his money to care for her. Ever since he started paying child support, he resented us and our "over-bearing" presence in her life. Granted, we are definitely sticking our nose in his business a lot. But that's because he's proven that he doesn't make sound decisions about her care and safety.

    Up until she was 8, she was a sweet, well-adjusted child who had a lot of energy and smiled all the time. She was always clean, looked neat, and was involved in a lot of different activities. Now, she is lonely, doesn't have any friends, is defensive all the time, and never wants to go anywhere or do anything. So frustrating to feel like there's nothing I can do to get her back to where I think she honestly belongs.
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    **O-Face****O-Face** member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Hopefully CPS (DHS-whatever you call it where you are) actually comes through.  I've seen how they handle stuff, and sometimes it takes lots of documentation to get anything.  Founded/Unfounded, etc. 

    I really hope it gets resolved soon though.  What a tough time for the girl.
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    dharmabunnydharmabunny member
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_tell-im-wrong-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:47Discussion:5180a893-a3aa-446d-93fe-07e43b486903Post:c98f4903-d7ea-483e-b9a5-be8d39e21b32">Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Butter, I called CPS. They started an investigation, but so far nothing has come of it. O, it has definitely always been about spite. It all came down to him feeling "disrespected" that we had his child and were taking his money to care for her. Ever since he started paying child support, he resented us and our "over-bearing" presence in her life. Granted, we are definitely sticking our nose in his business a lot. But that's because he's proven that he doesn't make sound decisions about her care and safety.
    Posted by Sposati[/QUOTE]

    Crummy as this is, have y'all considered requesting custody for neice from man-child without petitioning for child support at all? 

    Yeah, he'd be completely bucking his responsibility as a parent.  But he's already doing that anyway by not being a parent.  And if the resentment is based on child support payments, sadly money may talk the loudest for him. 
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    SposatiSposati member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_tell-im-wrong-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:47Discussion:5180a893-a3aa-446d-93fe-07e43b486903Post:d685d2b9-4133-4b5b-abeb-e2e885dbb728">Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long) : Crummy as this is, have y'all considered requesting custody for neice from man-child without petitioning for child support at all?  Yeah, he'd be completely bucking his responsibility as a parent.  But he's already doing that anyway by not being a parent.  And if the resentment is based on child support payments, sadly money may talk the loudest for him. 
    Posted by dharmabunny[/QUOTE]

    Yep, we got to that point about a year ago. At one point, my aunt was begging him. Said she'd require no child support and he could still claim her on his taxes. We just wanted to make sure she was taken care of and were worried about how his finances were affecting her.

    He just wasn't interested. And now he's coaching DN not to tell us certain things. When stuff slips out (like not having power or water), she freaks out and covers her mouth like she just betrayed her father.

    I offered to bring her out where I live (an hour away) to have her live with me. His response was that I've never been a parent, so I wouldn't even know how to take care of her. So many things I wanted to say to that, but I have to watch my mouth or he'll keep us from seeing her again.
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    dharmabunnydharmabunny member
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    edited December 2011
    Got it :(

    What about offering him a huge bale of gasoline soaked weed, rolling papers and a lighter? 
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    SposatiSposati member
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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_tell-im-wrong-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:47Discussion:5180a893-a3aa-446d-93fe-07e43b486903Post:5c784796-8cc7-4dd4-b7ab-cf88c9ef2f8e">Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Got it :( What about offering him a huge bale of gasoline soaked weed, rolling papers and a lighter? 
    Posted by dharmabunny[/QUOTE]

    Oh mah gah, I love it. Too bad he'd never light up to spite me and my pity gift.
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    notamrsnotamrs member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_wedding-woes_tell-im-wrong-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:47Discussion:5180a893-a3aa-446d-93fe-07e43b486903Post:a0f97170-0819-4228-953f-a58fe0793367">Re: Tell me I'm wrong (long)</a>:
    [QUOTE] I offered to bring her out where I live (an hour away) to have her live with me. His response was that I've never been a parent, so I wouldn't even know how to take care of her. So many things I wanted to say to that, but I have to watch my mouth or he'll keep us from seeing her again.
    Posted by Sposati[/QUOTE]

    Oh, man.  What a terrible situation all around.  I'd have a hard time keeping my mouth shut about that as well, but understand about having to watch what you say to keep him from cutting off all contact.  what a d*ck.  I hope you guys are able to work something out, for her sake. 
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    edited December 2011
    This might be a stretch - but have you tried getting her school involved?  If the school raisies concerns with CPS it might be taken more seriously.  If it is even suggested to a teacher that there could be neglect/abuse, they are required by law to report the issue.
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    6fsn6fsn member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its Name Dropper First Comment
    edited December 2011
    You aren't wrong.  Your poor niece is in a bad spot and you are doing what you can.  It's a tough call between keeping what small lifeline you have with her and keeping her safe.  All I can say is good luck.  That poor, poor child.  Let her know she can say anything to you.
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    edited December 2011

    I agree with mermaid-- if someone who isn't family gets involved, CPS is much more likely to respond quickly. I can tell you from firsthand experience that something is much more likely to get done if it isnt just assumed that its a family dispute- as a teacher, I saw that stuff all the time.

    As for what that dude said about you not being a parent- seems to me that actually taking care of and loving a child is what makes a parent!

    "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."- Emily Bronte Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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    edited December 2011
    This whole thing blows. I feel so badly for your DN. You are not wrong. At all. I would be scared out of my mind to be living with a random man at 12 y/o. I am scared for her.
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    edited December 2011
    If you are getting child protective services involved please ask for a gaurdian ad litem representative. This is a person who is soley interested in the childs needs and will make visits to the home, go to court and speak on the childs best intrests , and report any kind of neglect (not showering, unsafe living conditions). My family has gone through the same thing with my oldest sister and luckily my middle sister was actually a supervisor for the Guardian Ad Litem program so we knew our way around the system quite well. It is hard and unfortuantly the court will always side with the natural parents whenever they possibly can. The final straw was my sister moving in with a woman who had an abusive boyfriend who would watch my neice and nephews when they would both work. Luckily the court saw that as unsafe and gave us her children.

    I am sorry your family and your niece has to go through this awful ordeal and I hope it doesnt take something really bad to happen before the court steps in.
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