When the Original Poster (OP) is approached by her former mother-in-law with a plea to adopt her ex-husband’s child from an affair, tensions flare. The family ties are tested, with accusations and emotional outbursts reaching a fevered pitch. Yet, as the possibility of the child’s entrance into foster care looms closer, the decision weighs heavy on all.
A Painful Past
OP’s ex-husband and his new wife passed away six months ago in a car accident. They had been divorced for three years, following a long six-year secret affair he had with another woman, who later became his second wife.
Three Shared Lives
OP and her ex-husband shared three children: a 17-year-old son, a 16-year-old daughter, and a 15-year-old daughter. Co-parenting was the only tie connecting OP to her ex. Other than that, they no longer had a relationship.
During their marriage, the ex-husband got his then-girlfriend (later second wife) pregnant. This shocking revelation was how the affair came to light. It was this event that drove OP to end the marriage.
Distancing From the Past
OP decisively severed ties with her ex-husband, resorting only to semi-civil co-parenting. She had no interaction with his daughter from the affair, who is now three years old. She had never seen her picture and asked her children not to talk about her in her home.
An Ailing Guardian
Following the death of OP’s ex-husband, the three-year-old daughter found a temporary home with her grandmother. However, she’s in declining health, and her son (OP’s ex) was her only child.
Seeking A Solution
The mother of the three-year-old had no family willing to take her in. The grandmother, hoping to prevent the child from entering foster care, approached OP with a request, pleading with her to raise the child.
A Difficult Proposal
OP’s former mother-in-law emphasized the child’s shared blood with OP’s own children. Taken aback, OP firmly declined the proposal. Hoping for support, the grandmother spoke to OP’s children.
A Plea for Understanding and Family Ties
The grandmother believed the siblings might want to raise their half-sister in the family. However, they collectively showed no interest. The grandmother persisted, reaching out once more to OP.
Family or Not?
OP reiterated her decision, firmly stating that she would not raise the child. In a desperate plea, the grandmother tried to argue that the child was family to OP. But OP countered, asserting she had no ties or obligations to the young girl.
The Impending Decision
The situation grew more dire as the grandmother disclosed the nearing deadline. She would soon have to inform the case worker that the child required a foster home. There was no way for her to continue caring for the young child with her failing health.
Amidst pleas and emotional appeals about the innocence of the child, OP lost her patience. She sharply retorted, suggesting foster care might be the best solution if the grandmother couldn’t raise her.
Words that Sting
The grandmother’s final words were of deep resentment. She labeled OP as cruel and cold-hearted, condemning her for the perceived indifference she and her children showed towards the young girl.
Reflection and Judgement
Conflicted by the events and her own decisions, OP sought external opinions. Was she in the wrong for her words and stance? Was OP obligated, morally or otherwise, to take in a child she had no direct connection to?
The Weight of Decision
With the looming possibility of the child entering foster care, the weight of the decision pressed heavily on all involved. Family bonds can be strong, but boundaries are essential. Where does one draw the line between duty and personal boundaries?
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts her story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Yes, the child is a half-sibling to your children, but that does not create an obligation on your part. Some people can take on roles like your ex-MIL is suggesting, and some people can’t/won’t. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “It’s sad for the child- she will pay the price for the poor decisions of her parents, but you are under no obligation to take responsibility for the child.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “You are completely within your rights to say no, and I don’t blame you. At the same time, I cannot fault a grieving mother for fighting tooth and nail to try to protect her grandchild from being abused in the foster care system. This is an awful situation all around.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “If she wants to take her granddaughter in, she may do so. She doesn’t have the right to bully you into doing so or try and go through your children to persuade you.”