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Need Advice Please: Sister, recovering addict, supposed to have four children live with us.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I hope this is the right place to put this.

This is a wonderful community, so I was hoping for some wisdom. Thanks in advance.


What's happening now is that my sister & her husband are trying to win custody back from her mother-in-law (She won temporary).

Kids get out of school on Friday, Custody hearing is on Friday. Today is Wednesday, and they are supposed to be moving here Sat.

About a week ago the mother-in-law said she didn't want to fight for custody anymore, and would let them have the kids back.

Also for about a week, my sister has been promising my mom that her and her husband would go to a sober-living facility, and the children could stay with us. Now Tuesday night, she calls and reports that they won't have anywhere to stay, and that MIL says if we don't let my BIL live here, she won't let the kids come here, to California. Now my sister and her children are welcome here, her husband however has wore out his welcome.


We found out my sister was abusing meth in Oct.2010. Her husband insisted only she was using, and that he needed our help to get her into rehab. Under this, her and her husband, and her four young children moved in with my mom & I. She was supposed to go to rehab immediatly after moving in. Long story short, she didn't, then she tried and quit. During this time living with us, she left all the time, he slept all the time, and I was watching the children. One time he was watching kids, barely, and I took a short (20min) shower, when I got out I found him asleep, and one child in the house. The three others were outside in the street! I was pissed. And embaressed too! He lied about having guns & bullets in the house, something we made clear we would not tolerate. After we found cases of bullets,I asked him if he was using too, and he said yes. He admitted coming into our home high on meth. So we let him know he was not welcome. My sister and the children continued to stay at my house this was until she let him have all the children because he was supposed to have Thanksgiving with them at his FIL's house. Instead he left the state. My sister never reported them kidnapped, and he said she said he could take them. They were both still using. Eventually my sister left to go up there to be with them, and as of now, claims to be clean, but she has lied so much.


So we have dealt with a lot of pain trying to be supportive and get her off drugs. But now we feel like it's "Take my son in, or else you don't get to see your grandchildren". We don't like being threatened, and I don't like feeling like the children are bargaining chips for him to gain entry into our house again. Also I should mention that just 9-6months ago she wanted a divorce, felt like he was stalking her (which he was), and proudly had boyfriends. Also, he left her several times in their years of marriage, one time stealing their family car for months. So as much as my mom and I love, and want to see these children and also provide a stable home for them, we don't want him living here.


I am highly stressed because of all this. I am not sure that my mom & I can deal with two supposedly recovering addicts, and the children also. My mom's biggest fear is that they will relapse while here, while to me, that's a reality. Like while my mom is scared it might happen, I feel sure that it will, I mean it's meth. Also we apparently need the children to live in this state for at least six months, for custody. With their father saying they can't stay anywhere he can't, I just don't know the best way to handle all this. We want to work something out, but I don't see a way to. And their threats of "He needs to stay there or else the children aren't leaving", make me feel like, "Well I guess they're not coming then". But then that sucks, because I miss them so much, and plus they don't want to live at that grandma's, they've said they want to live here. /sigh


Thanks for reading. What would you do?

post #2 of 6
First of all, you are approaching sainthood. There is NO WAY I could even think of allowing this man back into my house, but I do think its the best way. I would lay down some serious ground rules. I would let them stay, but:

#1. I would ask them to prove that they are clean upon arrival and once a month (or however often you see fit to afford to pay for the test)
I think they owe proving to you that they are not using to be allowed to stay in your home, and any reasonable, recovering person should be willing to agree to that. They would have to test in rehab after all.

#2: I would make it clear that while you are working to help them get custody of their children, they must agree that the children are in the care of you and your mother. This means more responsibility on your part, but I think it will be easier on you if you have NO expectations for them to be caring for their children. That is what you were going to do if they were in rehab, right? So, the children wouldnt be left alone in the house with them, the same way you wouldnt take them to an AA meeting and just leave them there. Sister is welcome to accompany you and all kids to the grocery and help, but kids will not be staying at home without you or grandma there.

#3: If you find any evidence of meth use, you call the police on them. Period. They have already used you once. They need to know that you are serious, and you are trying to help them get clean. Allowing them to continue to use is NOT going to help the kids have clean, responsible parents. If they go to jail, they will likely go to rehab, and since the kids would already be living in your house, you would likely be granted temp. custody. I know it sounds harsh, but meth is a nasty addiction and they need to stop for the sake of themselves and their children.

Good luck mamma.
post #3 of 6

I feel like I am missing something here, because how is it even legal for them to have physical custody of the children when they have lost legal custody?  Have the courts decided it was OK that the children are allowed to be in the custody of their parents again, and that it's OK for the MIL to give up custody like this?  This is the only thing I'm wondering about, and I'm thinking it's honestly not up to the father whether he wants his children with him or not.  

post #4 of 6

Its meth. They will use. I'm not hearing any evidence of a tight chemical dependency treatment program from them, or a realistic commitment to staying clean.


The children seem to be in a safe place now that they can continue to stay.


Monitoring their tox status is not a bad idea, but if they are dirty, they will simply refuse, and then you have the problem of getting them to leave, which I suspect will be very challenging.


I think you should say no, you are willing to take the children, but not the BIL. And stand your ground.


Things will change. It isn't "no" forever. Its "no" for now, and its "no" under the proposed conditions.

post #5 of 6
Oh, and HI! Welcome to MDC! Welcome.gif
post #6 of 6

wow. you are close to a saint. sending hugs. may the children be put in a safe enviroment.

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