When a mother of 3 was confronted by her former mother in law, she said some things that could damage the family forever. So, she came to Reddit to ask:
My ex-husband and his wife/aka the mother of the child died 6 months ago. It was a car crash.
We were divorced for three years prior to that after he cheated on me for about six years with the woman he married after our divorce. Ex and I share three children together. A 17 year old son, 16 year old daughter and 15 year old daughter.
Ex got his second wife pregnant while we were married, which is how the affair got revealed in the first place. I kicked him out and cut ties except for semi-civil co-parenting.
I have never had anything to do with his daughter who is now 3.
After my ex died, my former MIL took her in temporarily. She's in poor health and my ex was her only child. The mother of the child had no family who was willing to take her. So she wanted to try and keep her out of foster care.
My former MIL asked me about two months ago to consider raising her granddaughter seeing as she is the half sibling of my children. I told her I did not want to do that.
She spoke to my children and they refused to ask me on her behalf.
She suggested that my children might want to keep her in their family and how could I deny them that chance. So I asked my children if they had any thoughts or plans to take her on once any of them were 18.
They all said no. My son said his grandma had mentioned that to him but he didn't care. My girls share a similar sentiment (though she did not ask them directly).
Former MIL reached out again and I told her my answer was still no.
She suggested that her granddaughter is my family and I cut her off and said that is not true. I told her I am not the child's mother, stepmother, aunt or anything that would imply family.
She told me she will need to let the case worker know in the coming weeks that she needs a foster home if I can't take her. She told me to do it for her granddaughter, that she's innocent, how can I not love her (and rambled on a lot about that).
I lost my cool, snapped at her and told her I don't want to help her granddaughter and foster care is the best place for her if she can't raise her.
Former MIL told me I was a horrible evil woman and that it was no wonder my children didn't care about their sister when I had that attitude about her, and she hoped one day it would come back to bite me in the ass.
AITA (Am I the a-hole) for the way I spoke to her and for what I said about her granddaughter?
And it was mostly NTA (not the a-hole).
NTA. Yes, the child is a half sibling to your children, but that does not create an obligation on your part. Some people are able to take on roles like your ex MIL is suggesting, and some people can’t/won’t. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your EMIL needs to back off. This was her choice, now she can deal with it.
And how great of a life would the child even have being raised by the person who was cheated on, and her being a constant reminder of the infidelity? Seems kinder to give her a clean slate with a new family that can love her without baggage.
I agree that OP is NTA, but as someone who volunteers with foster kids, I really wish people stopped viewing the system this way. There is no clean slate for foster kids, and there is no “new family without baggage”.
Foster kids experience trauma on a deep level being in foster care, even if there is no abuse or neglect. These kids inherently understand that their life is completely out of their control, and their foster families are temporary placements.
Adoption will likely be an option in this kids case and it may happen, but not before several foster placements and a long court case of the adoptive parents jumping through hoops. When/if the adoption is finally settled, the child will still have to process the massive shifts and changes they were put through.
Foster kids can and do thrive, and being a foster kid does not mean you’ll be a traumatized individual incapable of leading a healthy life. But it’s also true that foster kids carry that experience with them the rest of their lives, and they never get a “clean slate” from their past.
Apparently she's choosing the path were she loses ALL of her grandchildren too. Raising a 3 year old when your youngest is 15?? Even if it was a good friend's kid is a lot to ask, and depending who, too much to ask. I would definitely cut contact if she's trying to guilt the children because of this. NTA.
Can't blame the grandmother for trying to keep her grandchild out of foster care. In a way it is not always that unusual for people to take in 'reverse' step children. I'm sure I remember reading about a couple of celebrities who have done that Including Eminem who adopted his daughter's half sister. I remember some rock star took in their ex's child after they died too or something.
I wouldn’t take in the child if I were OP, mainly because I wouldn’t want to raise the affair child who would be a constant reminder of the betrayal, even though she herself is an innocent child. But honestly if I had 3 kids aged 15-17, I wouldn’t want to start over again with a 3 yo, especially one I myself wasn’t related to.
This comment made my perception change. I was the child who was given up and my grandmother begged my step mother to take me. It took five years for her to say yes.
But I never realized that she probably struggled deeply with that decision. And like you said, some people are able to take on roles. They have the right to accept or deny since it’s their life as well that’s being impacted.
You are NTA for saying, 'no' but you are the ass hole for yelling at a desperate old woman and the little girl is 3 and her parents are dead due to a car crash. Let's maybe not snap at a desperate old lady as policy. Especially in this situation.
If this were to come up once one of your other children was already 18 I wonder what would have happened. Also, f*ck your kids. They are the a-holes. If I had children with similar ages and if my 18 year old abandoned my 3 year old after I died in a terrible car crash, I'd do everything in my power to haunt him/her.
You are being selfish but you are within your rights. Your kids should step in as guardian if they had any empathy but they don't so. Go do your thing and send another innocent child to the system when you could have prevented it. Reddit seems to approve.
My kids have no relationship with the girl really. Their relationship with their father wasn't even great in the years before he died. So if he haunted my kids I would say he was an even bigger a-hole than the one for cheating on me, seeing as he's the reason our kids found out the truth about him in the first place.
He had a six year long affair. It only came out because the a-hole got her pregnant. He wanted us to stay together. As if doing that behind my back for six damn years was forgivable. Then to add to that he not only let me know, but our kids, and he didn't give a damn about them finding out. His lack of apology or remorse was something my kids never forgot.
I would never be able to love that child. I know that. I have always known that, since the moment I learned she was going to come into the world. It's why I have always done my best to keep my distance. Better for everyone that way.
I truly believe foster care would be better for her than me. It would also be better for me. I see no positives to taking her. I think if you can truly love and enjoy raising the child, then yes, there are positives. Not all of us can.
While we can absolutely feel terrible for the child's position, we can't blame OP for it.