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How can I help,but not be completely taken advantage of??

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

My friend is having a hard time,and I feel she is neglecting her 7yo dd. :( She has cardiomyapathy and had surgery to put in a difibrulator a few months ago.Her heart isn't getting much better,and she may have to go on the transplant list at some point.Of course she is depressed,and she is not following her drs recomendations.She's diabetic and she's still eating piles of candy,not testing her sugar levels,and she's taking lots of vicodin or whatever she can get.She does get some by prescription for back pain,but she takes too many and then will buy more from friends,and she's still smoking at least a pack a day.I am so worried about her,but her dd is suffering too.She also recently started dating a man she doesn't know well,and she puts his needs far above her own and her dd's.


Anyway,she sends her dd away every single weekend,sometimes more than that,so she can stay at the boyfriend's house.She promissed me,and my mom(who is her dd's adopted grandmother,unfortunalty she has no living grandparents and doesn't know her father at all) that if her dd wanted to go home at any time,she would leave her bf's house and pick her up.The problem is,she won't answer her phone or her texts! If she does on the rare occasion,she acts like she doesn't want to be bothered.Her dd was at another friend's house,and she was crying that she wanted her bear(she's had him since she was born,he's her comfort!).At first her mom told the friend she was not going to go home and get it.So the friend called her again because she couldn't calm her dd down.So she went and got the bear,brought it to her dd,who was crying and wanted to go home.So what did my friend do?? Told her dd to stop being a little bitch and go to sleep,and that she was not taking her home!!How can you do that to your own child??She told me this like she was right and that her dd was just being bad. :( She wanted her own bed,her pets and most of all her mama!!


They just moved from their 3rd floor apartment to the 1st floor in the same house.She sent her dd to the other friend's house for the whole time,4 days or so.She spent Friday night home,and then she came to me Saturday.She was brought to me at 7pm.She was filthy.She smelled like b o and pee,her hair was very greasy and extremely knotted.She said she didn't eat dinner.So I fed her,and then gave her a shower.I helped her wash and condition her hair and had her wash herself(I didn't tell her she was dirty of course!).I helped her put on some deodorant and she brushed her teeth,then I gently brushed her hair.She was very happy to be clean.When I took her clothes out of her backpack,most of them were very wet!They smelled like laundry soap though,so I think they just weren't dried enough.So I just hung them up.She also told me she had been wearing the same clothes for days,even slept in them.


This is how she is always sent to me.Hungry and dirty,I've had to remind my friend to pack enough clothes for however many days I have her,plus an extra outfit just in case.I also remind her to bring her bear so she'll be comfortable when she goes to bed.My friend expects her dd to pack everything herself.She's 7,it's normal if she needs help or even just a reminder!She never has any food with her.I'm expected to provide everything,but I'm having a hard enough time providing for my own dc.We make do of course,no one goes hungry.


She's a wonderful kid,and I love her so much,which is why I agree to care for her so often.I'm just concerned for her.When she's here,she's always talking to me,climbing on me,everything to get attention.I give her tons of course,just like my dc.I've heard her mom tell her to get away from her so many times.She has to take care of herself,and her mother.She gets everything for my friend,soda,food,even her ciggs out of the car(even late at night down from the 3rd floor,alone!).I understand she os old enough to do chores and help her mom,I just think it's excessive.I also think it's too much to send her away every weekend,and now that school is out several days a week.I'm thinking it's because the boyfriend doesn't want her around(he's not very nice as it is,he treats my friend like crap,but she thinks she needs someone always).Her dd told me she can't play when he's at her house because he wants quiet.


I want to help my friend because I know she is sick,but I know she's taking full advantage of me.I wouldn't mind so much if she was trying to care for her dd.But she's not even giving her the basics,food,clean clothes,a bath at least every few days.She didn't even have proper shoes for a while,they were falling apart.It took her teacher telling my friend to get her shoes that she can run and play safely in to do so.I had actually bought the shoes that were falling apart when she started kindy.Either I or other friends provide her clothes and mostly everything else.It does upset me that my friend is buying ciggs and pills while her dd goes without neccesities.I'm very bad at confrontation and I have horrible anxiety(I am shaking just writing this!) so I just don't know what to do! I'm not going to call CPS,that would be an extreme last resort.They have no family,my family and the other friends are her family.Ugh.I just needed to vent,I can't talk to anyone irl while the kids are awake,I don't want them to hear this.Thanks.

post #2 of 26

These aren't totally random questions... but:  Does she have juvenile diabetes?  Is her heart problem caused by the diabetes?  Is her dd's dad involved at all?  Does she have a plan for what will happen to her dd if she dies?  Do you want to raise her dd if that happens? Is there anyway she can get into therapy?  Would she be so inclined?  


This sounds like a pretty miserable situation.  I'm happy her dd has you!


Oh, and...  umm, deodorant at 7 years old???

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

These aren't totally random questions... but:  Does she have juvenile diabetes?

No,she was diagnosed a couple of years ago,she's 35 now.

  Is her heart problem caused by the diabetes? No,the drs think it was caused by an infection.She was sick for months,and went in to congestive heart failure. :(

 Is her dd's dad involved at all?  No,he has seen her twice.Both times he tried to get money from my friend.He's a drug addict. :(

Does she have a plan for what will happen to her dd if she dies? Yes.We don't have anything from a lawyer,but she did write a will that she had notorized.I will raise her.

 Do you want to raise her dd if that happens? Yes.We're very close.

 Is there anyway she can get into therapy?  Would she be so inclined?  She could,I know her insurance would cover it as we have the same plan,but I don't think she will. :(


This sounds like a pretty miserable situation. It is.I keep praying things get better for them.

 I'm happy her dd has you! Thank you!!


Oh, and...  umm, deodorant at 7 years old??? My dd was wearing it by then too.Even with bathing daily she still had "taco pits" as my kids call it lol.Ds didn't start needing it until he turned 10,so I guess it depends on the child.

post #4 of 26

I understand your reluctance to involve authorities but the girl is not being bathed fed or cared for while her mom buys drugs illegally. I'm not sure what you could do for her aside from an intervention and have her taken to a rehab facility. I have a friend who treats her 8 year old similarly this is such a tough situation. Does the dad pay child support?

post #5 of 26

IMO the situation you describe already sounds extreme enough to warrant bringing in the authorities.

post #6 of 26

I guess I don't really understand... You've already agreed to raise this child in your family if the mom passes away?


I think in that case I would continue to take the girl and talk to my friend about guardianship. If she's not communicative about the situation, I'd probably just get myself licensed to do foster care b/c that's where this girl is going to end up if one of the other friends reports the mom -- then you can be the girl's foster parent/legal guardian and she'll be safe and taken care of. Why wait til mom dies to start taking care of her? She needs love NOW.

post #7 of 26
I agree that I would start taking measures to have her full time if that's what you really want to do. You can see where this is going, and I bet her mom would be open to it. Maybe if you planned on having her there for an extended period of time, it would be easier to take. Don't think of it as being taken advantage of by the mom. Think of it as helping out a child that you love. Her mom clearly has issues and is overwhelmed.

Oh- and deodorant at 7 is not unusual for a girl. Definitely depends on the kid. We just use something natural like Toms of Maine. DD is 8 and only needs it when she's been sweating, but yeah I was worried and did some research and found that it's perfectly normal.
post #8 of 26

FWIW, do you realize that what you said about the girl's dad (drug addict, just wanted money) could be said about her mom (your friend) as well?  I don't know how you get someone to realize they have a problem, but if she is neglecting her child and spending what she has on painkillers she is an addict as well.  I agree that if you would care for the child if she died, it might be time to find a way to start caring for her more while her mom is alive.  Because her issues are making her dead to her daughter in many senses already.



post #9 of 26
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

FWIW, do you realize that what you said about the girl's dad (drug addict, just wanted money) could be said about her mom (your friend) as well?  I don't know how you get someone to realize they have a problem, but if she is neglecting her child and spending what she has on painkillers she is an addict as well.  I agree that if you would care for the child if she died, it might be time to find a way to start caring for her more while her mom is alive.  Because her issues are making her dead to her daughter in many senses already.




post #10 of 26

I agree with everyone.  It seems like it would make sense for you to take over a bit.  It sounds like a very hard position to be in.  

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

I decided to care for her as much as I can.I had her last night,I would keep her tonight but we're going out tomorrow for ds's bday and there won't be any room in the car.I'll have her this weekend as well.I don't think her mom would be willing to give me guardianship right now.If she would I would gladly take her.As soon as dd finishes her bedroom we're moving the rooms around and there would even be a room for her.I do agree that her mom is also a drug addict. :( I just feel so bad.I've done a lot of thinking and I'm going to do as much as I can.I love this little girl so much.What really bothers me is that her mom fought so hard to get her back.She was taken away at birth because her mom smoked crack with her father early in her pregnancy.She ended up homeless with nowhere to go,and I let her move in with us.I helped her get services,made sure she had everything she needed for her baby.I was in the o.r. when she was born by csection.I stayed with her while her mom was being cleaned up and settled in her room.I was so upset when she was taken,but it didn't surprise me after what my friend had done.I helped her find a good foster home(my dad's side of the family has been friends with a foster mom for years,she's great,and CPS allowed her to be placed there).My friend went into treatment,got an apartment and a job,and her dd was returned to her at 7 months old.I babysat her while her mom was at work,often for a few days at a time while her mom did double shifts.I've had her almost every holiday.I treat her like my own.


I don't know if I can get a foster care license.Unfortunatly I have a CPS record as well.Mine is for medical neglect,because ds was born unassisted and was diagnosed with a heart defect a day after birth. :( I hope this doesn't stop me from getting custody if something were to happen to her mom.This really sucks.I hope she will turn around and help herself get better.Her bf dumped her the other day while he was drunk,and didn't remember it the next day.This has been happening a lot.He says horrible things to her,but then she just takes him back.I know she has very low self esteem. :( She was doing a lot better when she wasn't with him,although all her relationships have been terrible.I understand,my marriage was terrible,but I'm determined never to do that again,I know I'll meet the right person at some point.She feels like she always has to have someone,no matter how bad it is.I wish she would take her dd's needs into consideration.Her dd won't know what a healthy relationship is,and could end up like her mom.I'll write more later,the kids need me.Thanks.

post #12 of 26

It can't hurt to contact CPS (licensing office) now, so you know what to expect. Your "record" may not be a factor in getting licensed for foster care, and the stipend could help you out a little. Another good reason to call and ask questions now is that if your history IS a factor, your friend will have time to find a suitable replacement. I think if you are proactive and seek a home study/background check in advance, you will show that you are being proactive, care about this girl's safety, and of course the home study will cover in-depth whatever history you have with CPS. I have seen people with criminal records get custody of kids in care, but it takes a few months to do a background check. You wouldn't want your friend to pass away or the little girl to be removed to foster care and then have her have to be in a stranger's foster home while your background check is being done. Do it now, be open and honest about your CPS case, and swear that if you had to do it all over again, you would have given birth in the hospital and have learned your lesson that your children's well-being is more important than natural living, etc. YKWIM

post #13 of 26

I agree about being proactive.  They may also be able to give you advice about things that you can do to "rehabilitate" yourself with them if they are going to have a problem with your record.  Eleven years is quite a long time, maybe there is some sort of statute of limitations after which they wouldn't hold it against you?  It would be ludicrous if you were precluded from taking care of her.  


It sounds like a horrible situation with the mom.  :(  It sounds to me like a situation that a person couldn't get out of and/or recover from on their own.  I almost wonder if it would be calling CPS just for the mom's sake.  I would think if they get a drug-addicted parent they would get them services and, obviously, give them an incentive to follow through with them.  As a general rule, I feel that involving the "authorities" in almost anything is a bad idea, but maybe it could be helpful.  Did they help her get cleaned up when they took her dd as an infant?  

post #14 of 26

Ordinarily, I'd support calling CPS myself and explain the situation and hope they offer services instead of just removing the child immediately. But since there's no way to predict what would/could happen, AND (and maybe even more importantly) since the OP is targeted to be the guardian, it could look like the OP is trying to take this woman's daughter away from her. And if there's any question about that, the girl will end up with strangers and even if the mom passes away, the authorities may not give custody to the OP if it seems like there was a conflict of interest somewhere along the line. I would, however, support the mom in calling CPS herself and asking for help, if she's open to that.

post #15 of 26

If I recall correctly, you have written about this situation a couple of times over a loooong time. Call CYFS. The child is being neglected. That's what they're there for.

post #16 of 26

So, what would have to get worse for you to call the authorities? According to you:

  • The child is going hungry
  • The child is going without proper clothing
  • The child is dirty
  • Mother doesn't interact with her well at all, possibly verbally abuses the child
  • Mother sends her away weekly -- without seeming to care that the child is OK
  • The mother does not care for herself or follow doctor's recommendations, putting her health at risk
  • The 7 year old does the caretaking for the mother (a huge red-flag for abuse, by the way, making children take on adult roles)
  • The mother does drugs and prioritizes drugs above her daughter
  • Her mother prioritizes her bf above her daughter
  • Her boyfriend gets so drunk he doesn't remember things the next day


What's worse? Her mother is a drug addict who doesn't feed, clothe or care for her child. This child deserves better. Your CPS file is probably irrelevant in becoming a foster parent, assuming you got your son treatment and have followed through. Though honestly, if mom is still going to be around, it might be better for the child not to be near her. I feel sorry for the child and hope that some adult in her life will step up to make it better. Right now, no one is doing that. You're all enabling her mom.

post #17 of 26

i agree LynnS with what you have said. yes she is enabling the mom.


but i also disagree with you on the same realm.


because at least OP is there taking care of the child.


calling the authorities might mean a foster home. is it worth the chance that the girl might get a good or no different foster home?


i would say sure call the authorities if it was a given OP would be allowed to raise the dd. without that assurance i am not willing to advice going to the authorities.


the little girl already has a hard life. the only little haven she has it sounds like is OPs house. i would not want to take that away. 


however i also dont want to enable the mom. yet i dont know how not to without letting her dd bear the brunt of the suffering. 


if there is no legal paper anywhere already involving OP and her mom, then on legal grounds they are nothing but good neighbors. 


OP i would act like the child already lives with you. so if she did you'd have to figure out how to have DS's bday with an extra person in the car. i would try to figure it out now.


however that is a huge emotional investment. are you sure you are willing to do that when you dont have the assurance you will be allowed to continue with the care. are u willing to deal with your emotional state in case the worse happens and seh is taken away and you never see her again.


her mom should have a living will that in worse case scenario you will become the parent of her dd. 


And Learning_Mum thank you for pointing out. when i read the first few lines i looked at the date fo the post to see if it was an old one. 


why is this still an issue with you OP? you need to resolve this within yourself. the fact that this is still hanging to me says - that you do want to call the authorirties. 


and why do you feel you are being taken advantage of? why arent you looking at it as you are giving a little girl a better life. 


you have to decide where you want to stand in this case. i am with you that this is a v. v. v. hard decision to make and its heart wrenching but you cant go on feeling like this. something needs to happen. either change your outlook or go to the authorities. 

Edited by meemee - 7/18/12 at 12:16pm
post #18 of 26

Why would you call CPS?

OP, move the rooms around...and then say to the mother, nicely:

Hey, pal, so I've been thinking...things have been so rough on you lately and it gets you so stressed out when your DD is here...why don't we have her move in with me so you can relax and focus on healing? I've made space for her and it would be no problem, you know we love her and she really tries to be a good for us when she is around.

Now, obviously, you and me and everyone knows that this child desperately needs to be away from her mother and that she is an awesome little girl...but seriously, just make it seem like you are trying to help the mother out, not the daughter, you know? Just make it seem like you are worried about the mom being too stressed out or whatever....it really sounds like she would let you take her, no problem, right?

The mom has you watching her a ton...the girl loves you...you love the girl...no brainer. You get CPS involved and all of the sudden there are a whole lot of other elements involved that are completely out of your hands. CPS could decide whatever they wanted to. You know? I think the worst thing that could happen here is that CPS would stick her in foster care or something crazy like that...I know you don't want that, they could really just up and decide that, though. I would try just having the girl move in with you. If the mother won't do that...then I would consider other options.

GL and thank you for trying to help this baby girl. When I read that "...you little bitch..."...god, that just chills me. SO nasty. Who talks to a kid that way?

For the record: This advice is strongly colored by my personal (and possibly irrational) deep distrust of CPS. So...take that into consideration. The others who are saying "get proactive with CPS" seem reasonable...maybe they are right?


post #19 of 26
Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post

Why would you call CPS?




I'm expected to provide everything,but I'm having a hard enough time providing for my own dc.


And, unless she can get the mother to sign some legal documents, the OP has no way to get the child health care, schooling/school records (since she's on the books at a school, she'll be considered truant, even if the OP homeschools her), and no right to keep  her should the bio father or some other relative come and want to take her. You would have no ability to prevent her drug addict dad from coming to take her so he could get TANF, for example.


Furthermore, saying you're going to take the child "for awhile" gives the child no security. She needs to know, from one week to the next, where she's going to be. She needs to know who is going to meet her needs. She needs to be able to be a child again. She probably needs to be in therapy. If it's an informal arrangement, you can't do any of that. If you set up a room and are proactive about wanting to take her, there may be a good possibility that you'd get the placement. They often prefer to place kids with people they know, and since you've been doing a lot of care, it might be good. I believe it's called a 'fictive kinship' placement, but the people on the Adoptive/Foster Parenting board would know.


I do agree with the pp, though that you seem overly concerned about the mom. It's time someone advocated for the child, and it looks like you're it .

post #20 of 26

Yeah, Lynn, what you are saying makes sense...I just worry that this poor little girl, once CPS is involved, is not going to end up going to the OP. Clearly something needs to happen because this mom is out of control...but once you involve CPS things are completely out of your hands, you know?

The OP thinks of this child as "one of her own"....can you imagine how hard it would be, to see a kid you consider your own go to foster care? I would lose my mind if a child of mine were to go into state care/foster care. How would I even sleep at night?


But what you say about healthcare, etc makes sense.

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