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Worried about nieces (a broken home story)

Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
Hi guys, me again :?

This time I'm asking for your feelings when it comes to supporting young nieces whose parents have just split.

Background:
Parents in question are my brother and his ex.
There is a nearly 10 year gap between them (34 and 24)
Relationship was toxic and, by his own admission, he never truly loved her.
My family and I believe that they went ahead and had kids either to curry support from our parents and/or somehow thinking that would draw them closer to each other.
Both are irresponsible and have demonstrated that they are incapable of supporting themselves (my parents handle all of their finances, which they resent).
- they are thieves and he is a racist/bigot/homophobe who has already been charged with assault once, though he beat the charge because his victim didn't show up to court.
They have now split, each have their own place, and they have not sought legal advice in this matter, currently sharing custody of the girls week to week.
I am terrified that this is going to blow up and fall apart.

Last night, I had a nightmare that my brother got himself jailed or killed (both of which are not impossible outcomes for him) and that my wife and I would be forced to take care of the girls, which we are in no way equipped to do.
I stay up at night worrying about the two young daughters (2 and 4) and can't help but feel that their lives are going to be shit through no fault of their own.

I want to be the supportive brother/uncle, but I have a family of my own (my own 2 year old) and don't have the resources to fully support them, plus I can't reconcile with the fact that I think my brother is a complete asshole and this entire situation is of his own, thoughtless, doing.

You've helped me before PA, and I'm turning to you again.

3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    That is a real shit sandwich, man. :|


    I hope that this does not sound cruel, but you need to mentally absolve yourself of the responsibility for taking care of the nieces if you're not in a position (either legally or financially) to take over custody in the event of a (further) disaster. It's not their fault, but at the same time it's also not your own fault & sorting-out blame / responsibility will not be very useful in any case at the end of the day.


    Do you have state resources like Child Protective Services in your area that you could contact? It know it can be hit & miss with that kind of thing, but it's certainly where I'd recommend you start.

    With Love and Courage
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    It sounds like they're split and handling it, regardless of their respective maturity levels/ability to cope, so if you don't suspect abuse of the girls it's a lot better for everyone if you don't let your nightmares dictate your freakout level.

    If your parents are handling their finances, they probably won't let their grandkids go homeless if they can possibly help it.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    Yea, you can't really live the next 16 years as if both of the parents are going to suddenly wind up dead or in prison at any moment. While they're not in a great situation, expecting that you're going to have to suddenly adopt them sounds like paranoia.

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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    I guess what it comes down to is that I'm angry at my brother for this reckless thoughtlessness, and I'm just worried that his inability to consider the consequences of his actions is going to lead to disaster for his innocent children, and I can't help but feel some degree of responsibility for them. :(

    3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
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    King RiptorKing Riptor Registered User regular
    I mean unless they have a will specifically saying you get their kids and I'm guessing they do not you don't have to take them. Your parents or their other Grandparents are typically who the state will go to first

    I get feeling responsible but you're not doing anyone any favors by taking on a responsibility you cant afford to or stressing out about "what if" .

    I have a podcast now. It's about video games and anime!Find it here.
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    GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    I mean unless they have a will specifically saying you get their kids and I'm guessing they do not you don't have to take them. Your parents or their other Grandparents are typically who the state will go to first

    I get feeling responsible but you're not doing anyone any favors by taking on a responsibility you cant afford to or stressing out about "what if" .

    Varies by state. Mostly the ask around and see what relatives can help out and place with them. Who gets primary in terms of a dispute is beyond my knowledge, but I do know there are attempts to reach all family members at first as a rule.

    As for the original question I would say just take some deep breaths and step back. The kids probably aren't in a measurably worse position than before and quite possibly are better off now than they ever have been. It is much better for parents to split than just stay together for the kids pretty much every time.

    Truthfully it sounds like they are growing up at least somewhat. They have recognized a problem in their lives and are taking active steps to solve it. Wait and see how this plays out. Currently what you have described is a pretty amicable split for the right reasons which speaks well for the chances the kids have.

    Also don't contact CPS without m first hand confirmation of neglect and/or abuse. They can't help you. Short of a clear and present danger to the children states will largely defer to parents keeping their kids.

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    Romantic UndeadRomantic Undead Registered User regular
    Yeah I guess I'm letting my anxiety get the better of me here. We all read so many broken home stories and about the damage it does to children, I just feel angry when people give no thought to the well being of the children they bring into this world when they decide to procreate. I might be projecting too, as my wife and I took years to decide to have a baby, trying to make sure we did everything "right" while it feels like my brother just knocked up the first 20 year old to cling to him and expected the world to support them for him when he should have known damn well he was incapable of doing it himself.

    3DS FC: 1547-5210-6531
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    GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    There are plenty of good ones as well. I came from a broken home and will begin working towards a PhD this fall. I have also had a tremendous career up until now with a fair amount of success. If I could change one thing it would be to get my parents to divorce much earlier. Staying together did more to scar me than any divorce. Constant fighting between parents is not something kids can really adjust to. Parents not being together is just something it takes time for kids to adjust to with not a ton of negative impacts if everything else is handled well. You being there as a stable loving figure will do wonders on its own as well.

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    So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User regular
    You could consider talking to your brother or your parents about child therapy or counseling. If your parents are willing to pay for it, that might be nice for the kids.

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    deestardeestar [E]nforcer PAXEast Vermont Registered User regular
    The best thing you can do for your nieces and nephews is not financial support- its emotional support. This is critical if you have even the slightest inkling that they are being physically, emotionally, or sexually abused or physically or emotionally neglected by one of their parents (if you suspect any of this report the parents to social services-your nieces physical, and psychological wellbeing is more important than sibling bonds). Maintain contact with them and let them no that no matter what the split is not their fault. Most of all let them know you love them and they can trust you even if none of the other adults in their lives are trustworthy right now.

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    CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If the worst happens and you do have to foster them, you can get a stipend from social services. There might be other help too. Social services wouldn't just dump them on your doorstep and say "you pay for them now." Do some research on this in your state and discuss with your parents so you are prepared if something happens.

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