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Woman Wants 'Nothing To Do With' Her Nieces In Foster Care & Won't Take Them In Because They've 'Only Met A Few Times'

Photo: Catalina Carvajal Herrera / Pexels
woman with two girls in a field

A newlywed woman wondered what to do when her mother-in-law made a challenging request of her that she didn’t feel equipped to fulfill. 

The 21-year-old woman wrote into the subreddit r/AmITheA–hole, explaining that she’s been married to her husband for 6 months, although they’ve been together since they were 15 years old.

Her husband had a 26-year-old sister who was a drug addict and was the mother to two daughters, ages 6 and 9.

Her husband’s sister died three weeks prior to her making the Reddit post. Their nieces are currently in a foster home, as “no one knows who the fathers are.”

Her mother-in-law tried to pressure her and her husband to take their nieces, but the woman refused, despite having financial security and the physical space to do so.

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The woman wants ‘nothing to do’ with her nieces in foster care.

She explained to her mother-in-law that she doesn’t “have the sensitivity to be a mother, and it wouldn’t be great for us nor the children.”

Her mother-in-law responded by insisting that taking the girls into their home was something “you do for family,” and that she herself would take them, “if it wasn’t for [the] father-in-law’s failing health.”

Her mother-in-law tried to pressure her into changing her mind, saying that she and her husband have “potential to be great parents” and that the girls would “spend their lives in the system” if they refused to help out.

'I finally cut her off and said we want nothing to do with being parents to our nieces,' the woman stated.

Her mother-in-law got upset and hung up the phone, cutting off contact with the woman, though she sent her son articles about children in foster care, “telling him we could have prevented this.”

“We’re simply not parent material,” the woman claimed, stating that their nieces would “have a better life in foster care.”

Yet as Dr. Kimberley Offutt, the National Director of Family Engagement and Support for Bethany Christian Services states, "foster care should be a temporary solution to what should be a temporary problem." 

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Reddit commenters saw the woman's situation as one of inherent difficulty and sympathized with her for it.

One commenter said that she wasn’t being an a–hole, “because being a parent should not be pushed on anyone.”

“Kinship is tough in the best of times, I can’t fault a 21-year-old for not feeling ready to take that on,” said another commenter.

“This is a very tough situation,” said someone else, noting that the original poster and her husband are young and “have no experience raising children, especially children who will need “a lot of resources to help them work through everything that’s happened.”

“Being pressured into raising somebody you didn't want will obviously build up resentment, which will inevitably cause everybody misery,” another commenter said.

A commenter who’s also a foster parent said that the woman wasn’t an a–hole for setting solid boundaries, but did admonish her for justifying her decision “by saying they are better off in the system. They aren’t.”

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Others echoed that sentiment.

“There aren't many things that are worse than growing up in the system. A lot of kids get out of it completely destroyed,” stated a commenter. 

“Foster care is no place for children and they always do much better in kinship care. But you have to want them or it just won't work,” noted another.

“You have every right to say no, but do it openly and honestly,” advised one user. “Don't sugarcoat it so you can live with a clear conscience. They would not be better off in foster care.”

A different user brought up another side of the argument, saying, "it’s also not healthy for kids to be parented by people who don’t want to or don’t have the emotional capacity to be parents."

"Kids deserve a home where they are wanted," said that same user.

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One commenter pointed out that the woman's mother-in-law has “no place making demands or sharing information to manipulate them into what she wants."

"If it’s that important to her, she needs to take the kids in and figure out the logistics."

Another user commented that her mother-in-law’s actions were “emotional blackmail.”

“This is a reproductive justice issue,” stated a commenter. “Forcing someone to raise kids who are already born is not better than forcing someone to carry a child to term that they can’t raise.

Most users recognized that the woman was being put in an unfair position by her mother-in-law, as no one should be forced to parent if they don’t want to.

Users also understood that the overall situation was “sad and hard” for the woman, her husband, and their nieces, especially with the foster care system being as broken as it is.

The situation seems it has no simple solution.

No one should be forced to become a parent if they're not equipped to do so, and no child should go through the harm that these girls could experience in foster care.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.