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Man's sister demands child he raised back; he says her 'daughter belongs to him.'

Man's sister demands child he raised back; he says her 'daughter belongs to him.'


'AITA for refusing to give my daughter back to her biological mother?'

To avoid confusion, my daughter, Milly (14) is biologically my niece.

So what happened was, years ago when Milly was about 3, my sister/her mom, Laila (38) left to work in another country, leaving Milly in my (44M) care. Milly's father died before she was born. Laila had promised to send money for me to take care of Milly and that'd she'd call and visit as often as she could until she could take Milly to live with her permanently.

After she left, she called probably 3 times in the first two months and then went awol. For years I'd tried to find out what happened and assumed the worst, only to hear from one of her friends a couple of years later that she got married to someone else and has an entire new family.

I was heartbroken because Milly would ask when her mom was coming back and I never knew what to say except 'soon'. But even she grew tired of it and realized when she was about 8 that her mom wasn't coming back anytime soon, that's if she was coming back at all.

Because of this situation, me and my wife were granted parental rights to Milly and she couldn't have been happier that we were officially her parents.

Well, what do you know, after 11 years, Laila finally graced us with her long overdue return last week, along with her new very wealthy family and 2 children. Most of the family was happy with her return but me, my mom, dad, and my wife were nothing short of furious.

She tried to explain but all that we heard was ' I abandoned my own daughter and made a new family'.

As if that wasn't enough, she practically demanded her daughter back. Mom and dad weren't having it at all and told her Milly belongs to me and my wife and that she no longer has any right to her.

Welp, there she goes screaming at me about stealing her daughter because I was infertile and to hear that come out from her mouth hurt me in a way I've never been hurt before to the point where I cried and left. Me being infertile has always been my weak point and for her to casually bring it up like that despite being my sister broke me.

For the next days, I prevented her from contacting Milly and I haven't told her that Laila is back because I'm scared I'll lose my daughter. I'm a human being too, I get attached, especially to someone I've had to raise, that too out of my own pocket, not that I'm complaining. I believe Milly is my daughter and I can't let her go back to the very same woman who abandoned her. Does this make me TA?

Here's what people had to say in the comments:

lepetitgrenade writes:

NTA but your daughter doesn’t “belong” to you. She’s a person, not a possession. That being said, I really don’t think you have to worry about losing your child in this situation.

danOcarter1 OP responded:

I'm sorry for phrasing it like that. I didn't mean it like that

N_Ryan_ writes:

Firstly, I just want to say (and this is semantics as it’s clear you didn’t mean it) that she doesn’t belong to anyone.

Secondly, I would like to say that she’s your daughter. You’re the person that was there on her first day of school, you’re the person that was there for her doctors, dentist etc. appointments.

danOcarter1 OP responded:

I really appreciate that you guys made me realize it's imperative that she knows. I definitely do not want to lose her like that. So she'll have to make that choice.

missnewjulia writes:

ESH (except Milly). Laila for abandoning her. You for not asking Milly what she might think about meeting her mother (the child is 14).

danOcarter1 OP responded:

I never asked her because I've overhead her friends asking her the same thing and she said it wouldn't make a difference and she was mostly upset by the question. But I guess it might have been self deception as it's very difficult to maintain the same stand when something actually happens.

Prestigious_Nose6915 writes:

NTA. She did nothing to raise her for past 11 years and your parental rights are legal. With that said, Milly is about 14 now? So perhaps the better way is to ask for her opinion and who would she prefer to stay with.

danOcarter1 OP responded:

As much as this is my biggest fear, i guess it's only fair she gets to make the decision

hummingelephant writes:

The other problem would be that your daughter would feel betrayed if you don't tell her. Her mother (or her own mind) could use this to convince her that you also lied about how you became her parent. It's better in these situations to be open no matter what.

danOcarter1 OP responded:

I agree. The real main issue is how I tell her her mom has a new family. she's already upset how being abandoned but to this extent? She's not going to be okay.

DgShwgrl writes:

I was leaning towards E S H but this comment about letting your daughter choose make you absolutely NTA. Your sister is cruel and selfish. She will certainly go behind your back and I'd even bet she would lie to your daughter about you blocking contact for all those years...

Show that you're the honest parent, be approachable, and I'm sure you'll get the outcome you want. Good luck with it all!

Sources: Reddit
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