Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Brother Married a Crackhead”

I just found out my brother and his wife are expecting their second child. To give you some background on why this situation is not as normal as it sounds, last year (before they were married) they broke up because she was doing hard drugs and cheating on him. It was very messy. “Horrific” may be a better word. They already have one child together (my niece), who is 2 1/2 years old. After the breakup, my SIL moved in to a crack house, continued doing drugs, filed a domestic violence restraining order against my brother in an attempt to get custody (which the judge promptly dismissed), and tried to break in to my brother’s house in the middle of the night (presumably to take the child). A temporary 50/50 custody order was secured, but my brother got back together with her shortly after that (which stunned us all). A few days later, he caught her with drugs again and he was given full custody of my niece (per drug/alcohol stipulations in the temporary custody order).

Everything calmed down for a bit, but the situation was still difficult because a permanent custody hearing was looming in the future. The whole ordeal was unimaginably hard, and the family grew very close over it (or so I thought). My dad and I handled most of the financial and logistical aspects of the legal work (finding a lawyer, filling out custody documents, paying legal fees) as well as childcare responsibilities because my brother worked a lot. My heart broke every day for my niece (especially when she was living in the crack house and being jerked around from home to home). I didn’t sleep well for months.

Then, right before mediation for the permanent custody case (while the then-ex-girlfriend was engaged to her drug-dealer), my brother took her back. A couple weeks later they got married in a church wedding which none of our family was invited to or even told about (I found out on Facebook). My brother quit his job and they live in a camp trailer. The wife does not talk to anyone in our family, and my brother is barely even allowed to call or come over. Despite having been the primary caregiver, my dad rarely sees my niece now.

My brother and his wife’s relationship has been tumultuous for the entire three years they’ve been together, and, after they got married, I decided I was washing my hands of all the drama and staying detached, even if that meant getting to see my niece a little less (not that they allow it much anyway). Fast forward about 1.5 months to today and they’ve announced they are having another child. My heart breaks for my niece who lives in a trailer, surrounded by the wife’s family (who have never had jobs, are alcoholics and drug addicts, and do not even have high school educations), and will never be encouraged to read books or get help with homework, or be exposed to anything outside of their backward lifestyle.

Is it wrong that a big part of me doesn’t want to pursue a relationship with this new niece or nephew because it’s already so hard to watch my niece, whom I was so close to, grow up in that environment? I’m not even sure how much I’ll be able to see the new child even if I do try, given the wife’s unwillingness to let even my brother visit family. — Hicktown Escapee

You ask whether it’s wrong to feel hesitant about pursuing a relationship with the new niece or nephew, but what I’m really hearing is you asking whether you’re normal for having mixed emotions regarding this extended family. And, yes, it’s absolutely normal to wish your brother hadn’t married and impregnated a crackhead. It’s normal to wish your niece’s mother wasn’t a drug addict. And it’s normal to think that a new baby in the family is more bitter than sweet. You’ve already been through a lot supporting your brother and, by extension, your niece. It must feel like a betrayal after your investment of time, emotion, and money, to have, in a sense, lost your brother — to to mention your sweet niece — to this drug-addicted woman. And I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your father’s heart break after his granddaughter, whom he primarily cared for, was given back to her crackhead mother to live in a trailer with a bunch of other derelicts.

So if you want to protect your own heart from more aching, you would not be a bad person to avoid a relationship with the new niece or nephew. But in doing so, you will almost definitely cut your niece, whom you’ve already grown attached to, out of your life, as well as your brother (whom you may be hurt by now but may want to know later down the line). Also, if you avoid meeting the new baby and don’t try to keep the lines of communication open, you will essentially be slamming the door on these people, your family — at least two or three of whom you’d love to have in your life if the circumstances were better. That may not sound like the worst thing now when you envision the kind of drama you’d be keeping yourself open to by staying in touch with them, but consider how quickly things change, and how much you may yearn for a relationship with your brother and his kids some time in the future. Think about what your support might mean to him — not to mention his kids — one day (a day that may come sooner than you think) if he decides to leave his wife again. If nothing else, think what effect having access to a healthy, happy, sane person like you might have on your brother’s kids. You could very well be the only shining light in an otherwise pretty bleak life.

Of course, it’s understandable if that’s a responsibility and a can of worms you don’t want to open further. But you already know your niece. You’ve already started loving her. I can’t imagine you’re going to stop thinking about her now. And I doubt that not ever seeing her is going to keep your heart from breaking when you do think about her. More likely, you’re going to wish there was something — anything — you could do to make things a little brighter for her (and her sibling). And there’s a better chance of that happening if you try to remain cordial and on as good of terms as possible with your brother.

You may not be able to save your brother, and you may not have much power or influence to save his kids or expose them to things like books and art and education and whatever else you might wish for them. But you’ll almost surely give up what tiny influence you might have if you cut this family out of your life completely. If there’s any hope that you might say the rights words or be the right person at the right time and place to plant a seed of something good in the lives of these children, you have to remain present — even if remaining present simply means a phone call here and there, some birthday gifts, a few cards, and maybe, if you’re lucky, some visits together when you can express your love for them and let them know you care.

And if you decide that’s too much for you and your heart can’t handle it, that’s OK too. It’s not your job to try to save these people. But it would be nice if your presence in their lives could at least be something they might look forward to and hold as a fond memory as they grow up.


You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

47 comments… add one
  • GatorGirl April 11, 2013, 9:06 am

    Um, call CPS.

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  • Jenny April 11, 2013, 9:10 am

    If you suspect they are exposing your niece to substance use, you should call child protective services. Even if your brother is not the one doing drugs, he could stil be charged with “failure to protect”. As his father, it’s his job to keep her in a safe environment away from drug use. I’m not sure if your brother is using but the whole situation sounds very suspicious. It will be difficult to report your either and his wife, but once you have kids you lose the right to make horrible decisions like doing drugs and living with crack heads. Someone needs to be an advocate for those kids. If your brother won’t do it, please let it be you.

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    • Jenny April 11, 2013, 9:11 am

      Whoops, that should read brother and his wife. Stupid iPhone.

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    • MMcG April 11, 2013, 2:09 pm

      That’s what I wonder… if the brother is on drugs as well and that’s what has sucked him back in, otherwise it just reaks of an abusive situation where the wife controls him.

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  • Fabelle April 11, 2013, 9:17 am

    I like Wendy’s advice for this. To me, it’s almost like an abusive spouse situation—like, show support to the “victim” & children in order to remain a lifeline, kind of thing? (Victim in quotes because I don’t think it’s necessarily the right terminology for this situation)

    But I get that after you & family’s original support, LW, that you’re hesitant now. So I’d say to take heed to Wendy’s “if your heart can take it” advice.

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  • ktfran April 11, 2013, 9:27 am

    Wendy’s response nearly made me cry.

    I’m really sorry, LW, that your brother has allowed this woman into his life. I agree with Wendy, I kind of think you should try to be a presence in your niece and new niece or nephew’s lives. Maybe, when they’re hanging out with you, they’ll get to see a glimpse of a better life that they didn’t know existed. And maybe they’ll reach out and want to get a education and make something of themselves. And wouldn’t that be wonderful if you were there to help them? It might be worth the heartbreak. Although it’s a crapshoot and maybe they’ll continue the cycle. You don’t really know.

    But I’m really convinced it only takes one person to change a child’s life.

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    • lets_be_honest April 11, 2013, 9:39 am

      I believe that last line too, wholeheartedly. Even by someone who the child rarely sees.

      Have any of you seen the movie Matilda? I’m reminded of her teacher when I think of this for some reason.

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      • MissDre April 11, 2013, 10:13 am

        I had a teacher that changed my life when I was 11, and he was the person I reached out to for help when I was very depressed at 22. Now I’m 27 and I still talk to him. He came to my University graduation, we email, meet for coffee once in a while and he’ll definitely be at my wedding. It really only does take one person.

    • csp April 11, 2013, 9:58 am

      I totally agree! Everytime you hear of someone rising from a terrible beginning, it is because of a teacher or family member. You can send books for every birthday. Ones that show a world beyond this.

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    • Alecia April 11, 2013, 5:17 pm

      I agree this breaks my heart. I’ve seen drug abuse up close and personal. There’s no easy way about it. And since there is a minor child involved there is no easy way to deal. But I think Wendy has a point about remaining open especially if something should change and your brother leaves her again. Best of luck to you.

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  • theattack April 11, 2013, 9:35 am

    Build a relationship with these kids as much as you can. When they’re eventually removed from the home (because mom’s drug problem isn’t going away), you and/or your father are likely to be a safety placement with the children if you remain in their lives.

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    • j2 April 11, 2013, 11:07 am

      I agree, and would note that it will be really tough for LW to involve herself enough to be a credible and positive part of their lives w/o compromising her own. It would be all too easy for LW to let the children’s plight damage her, as evidenced by her comment: “I didn’t sleep well for months.”

      She needs to live her own life, even as she involves herself enough to be ready to help them – if the opportunity arises – to live theirs.

      My heart goes out to her. It really does.

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  • katie April 11, 2013, 9:35 am

    well, my first thought was that you are blaming all of this on the wife… and your brother has at least a 50% stake in this new situation too. so maybe shift the blame on them equally? your brother and his wife are shitty people, there is no denying that. i feel bad for their kids too.

    ultimately, i feel like you can wash your hands of the drama while still being there for your neices/nephews. and who knows- maybe if the two parents spiral badly enough, the whole thing will repeat itself and you/your father will be granted custody again. like, i feel like their situation is very volatile and this whole trailer thing isnt forever. so, personally, i would try to still be there, as much as i could be/was allowed to be for the kids, because sometime something will probably change or get worse or who knows, even get better, and you will still get to be there. maybe when they become teenagers they will come live with you or something. you just never know what the future holds, so i wouldnt close that door.

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  • lets_be_honest April 11, 2013, 9:37 am

    Beautiful response, Wendy. I would only add what GG added, which is if that kid is in danger or you believe your SIL is still using while pregnant, please report them.

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    • GatorGirl April 11, 2013, 9:43 am

      I was pretty surprised Wendy didn’t mention that. The response was so beautifully written but some birthday cards and visits aren’t enough here, in my opinion. Children living in a camper with multiple drug addicts is clearly across the line.

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  • elandonne4 April 11, 2013, 9:46 am

    Would calling CPS be out of the question? If the living conditions are really as dire as you say they are, it’s a threat to the child’s well-being and they may remove her and maybe even place her with family.

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  • Something Random April 11, 2013, 10:06 am

    If the grandfather was a primary care provider, it might be worthwhile to investigate whether he can obtain visitation rights in your state. I think Wendy’s response was good as it took in account long-term perspective. I think the letter writer should emotionally distance herself for a period of time before burning any bridges. This might put her in a better position to draw up boundaries regarding these family members that feel emotionally safe. Maybe a birthday card, christmas card, and a congratulations on the new baby card are all she can do for a while until the situation seems more stable.

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    • lets_be_honest April 11, 2013, 10:14 am

      There are grandparents rights in many states now. I’d definitely look into that. Good idea.

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  • FossilChick April 11, 2013, 10:12 am

    LW, let me summarize your letter from an objective standpoint:

    Your SIL has had her custody reduced by a court once already due to drug problems. Your brother quit his job and there’s no mention of how this family is earning any income to support themselves. They’ve moved into a trailer where your family’s access to the child is restricted (read: no way to check on her welfare). Your SIL is now expecting another child. This family will continue to live in a camp trailer with a new baby, no money, and a pile of drugs.

    IF your SIL is still using drugs, you need to call CPS. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, someone else needs to. I see issues like this in my job all the time, where something terrible happens and then everyone admits they *sort of* knew something was wrong but didn’t think it was *bad enough* to warrant getting CPS involved. The niece is too young to self-report and her father is checked out. The SIL’s extended family seems involved in the perpetuation of the problem. This children have no safety net. You need to sort out your feeling on the matter from the facts. Obviously you’re hurt and you miss your niece and you’re concerned for your brother, but is there something illegal and/or neglectful going on? If so, please be the responsible adult your niece so desperately needs.

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    • BreezyAM April 11, 2013, 3:48 pm

      People shouldn’t worry if it’s “bad enough” to call CPS. That’s for CPS to decide. Call CPS and let them check if there is a problem. You don’t have to be 100% certain to call. That’s their job.

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  • Turtledove April 11, 2013, 10:27 am

    This situation is heartbreaking, and I don’t think you can protect your heart from it. It will break for your niece and it will break for the new baby you haven’t met, even if you turn around and walk away completely.

    That doesn’t mean that you have to accept the drama into your life. You can refuse to engage if someone tries to start something– be calm and act as you would with a small child throwing a tantrum, even with the adults. And I really think it would be helpful for you, and probably your father as well, to look into a support group for the family of drug users. You might get some insight into why your brother is behaving in the non-sensical way he is and the manner in which his wife is twisting him up. You may also get some insight into how to be a lifeline for the children without getting sucked into the problems of the adults.

    I have very little doubt that there is more abuse going on in this situation than just the drugs– verbal, emotional, maybe even physical. Drug users often have a very special way of twisting their partners up in a way that is almost like a drug itself. Reading up on drug use and co-dependency might be useful to you. I hope that one day your brother is able to walk away. But in the meantime, I think the focus should be with the children– they didn’t ask for this and they don’t have any power to stop it. I’d call CPS in a heartbeat if I suspected they were being exposed to something they shouldn’t.

    Now, you may decide that you haven’t the strength for this, and I don’t think it makes you a bad person. Because it is going to hurt and it is going to make you mad and drug abuse twists up and eats at every single person it touches, even distantly. I don’t think you are a bad person if it’s too much and you need to walk away. But for the children’s sake, and for the future you who may wish you could have done more, I hope you’ll look into getting some support for yourself to lend you the strength to be there for the kids before you walk away completely.

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  • Sue Jones April 11, 2013, 10:28 am

    You may be able to call CPS to have the children removed from the situation and into your father’s care. ( I have not read previous posts so do not know if this is a repeat). I think that drug problems such as this warrant that. Hopefully she is not still using while she is pregnant. If she is, then CPS definitely needs to be involved so that both the children can be assured a safe and secure future. Your father might win custody sooner than he thought.

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  • Lemongrass April 11, 2013, 10:51 am

    I agree with others, if she is still doing drugs call social services. I imagine that they probably already have a social worker assigned to them through the previous court issues. Other than that I urge you to still be a presence in your niece & new one’s lives. It will be hard and you don’t have an obligation but it gives those children hope, more realistic expectation of life, an extension through you to the outside world, someone to talk to. It will only be more important as those children grow older. Your presence may help break your sil’s family cycle.

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  • Amanda April 11, 2013, 10:53 am

    LW, neither your brother or his wife are people worthy of being parents. That may change in the future, but you have a responsibility to your niece to help remove her from this toxic and likely dangerous environment. As others have said, please call CPS immediately.

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  • meadowphoenix April 11, 2013, 10:54 am

    Well, it sounds to me like your brother and sister-in-law are drug dealing. Maybe I went too far, but your brother quitting his job seems like he’s an addict too, and they’re supporting themselves illegally.

    If you’re already ready to resign yourself to seeing you niece never or rarely, then yes, call CPS. The sister-in-law already has a record about her drug using so there should be some type of flag on her. Your father and you having been a caretaker at one point means that perhaps if CPS feels the situation is serious enough, you two might be viable alternatives. However, if CPS doesn’t do anything, and your brother and sister-in-law know you called CPS, then you’re probably not going to be welcome.

    However, if you don’t want to resign yourself, and you honestly think calling CPS is less helpful than staying sporadically involved (and that’s you knowing how effective CPS where you are is), then make sure you stay sporadically involved and keep an eye open for abuse of any sort where you can take legal action.

    Otherwise WWS

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    • misslisa April 11, 2013, 2:33 pm

      Re: your first paragraph – You’re right on, I thought the same thing.

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  • Meg Murry April 11, 2013, 11:06 am

    You mention that your brother “is barely even allowed to call or come over” – but this means he still occasionally does. If you live nearby, why don’t you offer to regularly babysit for your niece (and new baby when they come)? Offer to take her every week on a certain day or night (Friday night dinnertime, for instance) so you and your father can still see her, and that way you remain part of her life and an adult that she would hopefully trust and confide in if things get out of control at home. You could even offer to have your brother meet you somewhere with her if you don’t want to go to their home to pick her up and potentially see the SIL. I suspect your brother and SIL might appreciate the offer of free babysitting, and if you make it a standing occasion you could involve your father as well. Maybe even a Friday night dinner and sleepover at Grandpa’s then you could take her to storytime at the library or similar on Saturday? Especially when the 2nd baby comes, they might appreciate some help with the older niece.

    Also, to play devils advocate – is there any chance your brother took her back and married her because she went to rehab/cleaned up and now is not in contact with you much because you still see his wife as a crackhead even if she is clean now? I know you feel bad for your niece living in this situation, but if this is how your SIL grew up, she may feel that you are judging her and her background (not everyone who lives in a trailer is automatically “trailer trash”) and resents you for judging her background/situation.

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  • Grilledcheesecalliope April 11, 2013, 11:13 am

    Call cps, seriously. How are they even going to support the children?

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  • cdobbs April 11, 2013, 11:20 am

    god if i could have one wish it would be that every child grows up in a stable home with parents who love them…but unfortunately that is not reality and anybody with genitalia can have a child, no matter how big a train wreck 🙁 …LW just try to be there for the children as much as you possibly can…i know its hard to see them in that environment…but at least they will have you to look up to as a stable role model…keep your chin up

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  • bittergaymark April 11, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Yes. Echoing what many others here have already wisely said — Call CPS. Frankly, the ONLY explanation for your brother’s own erratic behavior is… well… drugs. I am so, so sorry. Also, as convenient as it is to hang this all on this awful drug addicted mess who is presently probably fucking up her baby right now even as I type this as she trips the light (not)fantastic — the real culprit and the one truly responsible here for this complete and total fiasco is your incredibly messed up brother. He’s making ALL the bad choices there. He has had more than enough opportunities to get his shit together and leave. Instead he is WILLFULLY throwing his daughter’s life away. And now another child’s as well. So, um, yeah, pin this on him. No, more than that — fuck him. Go to court and take away his kids. That’s what I’d fucking do.

    Wendy? Sorry. But you are wayyyyyyyyyy out to lunch here with your softball advice. Drugs an involved. Many drugged out parents wind up severely abusing their kids. Or worse.

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    • theattack April 11, 2013, 1:03 pm

      Not to mention that doing drugs around your kids is abuse in itself. But yeah, I haven’t ever met someone with a hard drug addiction that is capable of taking care of their children. Like with meth, it’s physically impossible NOT to neglect your kids on meth. The binges are so long, and the high is so mind-altering. Drug exposed children go without meals, baths, clean clothes, a safe place to sleep, etc. They live in homes with strange people going in and out of them and no one watching what those people are doing around or to them. It’s scary.

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      • bittergaymark April 11, 2013, 1:08 pm

        Yes, indeed! So true, theattack! Thanks for pointing out the even more obvious, casual day to day abuse that I forgot to mention in my absolute rage at this LW’s brother…

    • findingtheearth April 11, 2013, 1:43 pm

      i watched a documentary shortly after having my daughter about women who abuse pain medication while pregnant. THEY GIVE DAY OLD BABIES MORPHINE TO HELP WITH WITHDRAWALS ONCE THEY ARE BORN!!! The mother often has to stay on the medication because taking them off of it while the baby is in utero is more damaging. It is horrible.

      I was outraged. I called my mother and multiple friends sobbing. (Mind you, some of this may have been due to the post partum hormones).

      I still am outraged. This messes babies up for life. It’s not just about getting high – the mothers are, to some degree, giving their babes a life sentence.

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    • AKchic April 11, 2013, 6:23 pm

      Mark, I am in complete agreement with you. I see it too many times. We have multi-generational problems with drugs/alcohol here in AK. An individual is the product of his environment, who was raised in an environment that was pro-drugs/alcohol. The individual didn’t have a chance. of course, the parent(s) didn’t either, because that person(s) was raised in the same kind of home.

      Break the cycle before it becomes multi-generational. Before you find out your sweet niece is being pimped out for drug money (yep, it happens).

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  • findingtheearth April 11, 2013, 1:10 pm

    As someone who works in the legal field- you NEED to call CPS. She could be exposing the child to drugs while pregnant and exposing the already alive child to drugs.

    You also need to have your father look into grandparent rights. If he has already been the primary caregiver, he needs to stay on top of this.

    You may want to look into completing a fostercare placement course so you can take the children (if this is an option for you.) Or your father should. Or some close, trustworthy relative.

    DO NOT give up on these children. Your brother needs to be responsible and not led around by some deranged drug addict. His choices are his, do not let these kids suffer. I would contact the attorney who represented him thus far and let them know what is going on. Raise hell. Raise it high.

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  • Lindsay April 11, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Like everyone is saying, call CPS. I realize that it hurts you to see this happening to your family and to these kids, but the children really don’t need to be abandoned by the only decent people in their lives. The deserve to have someone looking out for them. I know that you don’t technically have an obligation to help them, but I personally believe that adults do have a moral obligation to help children who are in bad situations.

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  • AKchic_ April 11, 2013, 12:34 pm

    There are so many things wrong here.

    Someone needs to be calling social services. If things are still that bad, then the child should be removed from the home until the mother (and possibly extended family) are clean and sober. No child should have to live in that kind of environment.

    Your brother wants to make it work because he probably feels guilty for bringing a child into the relationship and doesn’t want to break up that “family”. The thing is, he does nobody any favors, especially the child(ren) involved, and makes it worse when he yo-yos them in this kind of situation.

    He’s an idiot, but that’s his perogative. He needs to get his head out of his ass, get to parenting classes and an AA/NA support group for spouses/family members in order to help him cope. He’s enabling the cunt, and the next child may very well be hurt/”damaged” by drug use/abuse/addiction, especially if she doesn’t stop using. Especially if the child isn’t his and she got pregnant before she went back to him (always a possibility).

    It doesn’t hurt to keep your distance, but from what it sounds like, it sounds like they are staying away from your side anyways. Everyone needs to be polite around her when in the same room. Don’t badmouth her around the kids (if ever around them). Document all of her issues, and call child welfare. They will want to be involved in this. She may need treatment.

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  • pants April 11, 2013, 2:43 pm

    LW, as a human being and a childcare worker, my heart breaks at this letter. PLEASE be a saving force for these children. Right now, I think that means calling CPS. If things havent changed by the time they are school-aged, CPS will get called then because their teachers will be mandated reporters. But they dont have to live this way in the meantime. If your father was a previous primary caregiver and it is decided that the kids have to be removed (which seems likely, based on your description of conditions and past legal issues) they will likely be placed with him.

    After that, and before, and even if it doesn’t happen (I think it will), follow Wendy’s advice. Be the best you can be for these kids. If that means staying mostly away so that you are at your most sane when you do see them, thats fine. If it means staying in touch as much as possible, all the better. But please do what you can to break this cycle. And let us know how it turns out.

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  • mylaray April 11, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Take this from someone who once was a child in this situation: call Child Protective Services. I had an adult relative stay close to me throughout my life and she tried to be there and support me, but she never called CPS maybe because she felt like she was overstepping her bounds. And as much as I love her, we barely have a relationship anymore because it sickens me that she knew what was going on and didn’t try to do much to stop it. Do what you have to do to make sure this child is protected. In my case, CPS was called by a neighbor early on and when they intervened, they found nothing wrong. I’m not particularly fond of them, and it can often take a lot of work to get them to do the right thing, whether that is taking the child away permanently or temporarily. But don’t give up.

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  • sobriquet April 11, 2013, 3:33 pm

    Holy hell, CALL CPS! You’re still holding on to a vision of your brother of how he once was. You think that he’s a good guy who is just caught in a bad situation and that may have been true at one point, but all bets went out the window the moment he married her and moved his child in with a bunch of drug addicts. This is not simply a question of looking the other way and forgoing a relationship with your nieces. You do not look away when a child is potentially in danger. Can you imagine if your aunts and grandparents had done the same to you? You’re worried that this will damage your relationship with your brother- and it will, temporarily- but if he’s the good guy you deep down believe him to be, he will eventually understand that you’re only looking out for those poor children.

    This situation is not unique and CPS can help. It is not at all unusual for children to live with their extended family members while the drug addicted parents attempt to get their shit together.

    Good luck.

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  • This LW April 11, 2013, 4:05 pm

    LW here. I am really appreciating all the supportive comments. You guys are awesome.

    With regards to CPS, they have been called several times. They said there is nothing they can do, unless the child bears physical signs of abuse or someone actually witnesses something illegal.

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    • MMcG April 11, 2013, 7:23 pm

      Bless your heart LW, this is such a sad situation but all the more reason for you not to detach… you might be just the witness to describe behavior that the children need to get help.

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    • mylaray April 11, 2013, 7:59 pm

      Oh and LW, even though I mentioned above how I barely have a relationship with my aunt anymore because of the lack of action she took when she very much knew a good deal of what was going on in my house, I still count her as one of the few reasons I made it through to the other side and actually have a normal life now. Just her being there for me, and knowing I had someone to trust, to confide in, and to teach me basic things no one else would do, made a huge difference in my morale and gave me enough hope to change my own circumstances. I think that’s even more reason for you to not detach (and I know it’s not easy for you either way) because even if CPS can’t do anything right now, you might be that person to make enough of a positive difference in your niece’s life. Anyways, I really feel for you.

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    • Miss MJ April 11, 2013, 8:28 pm

      Ugh! That’s such BS from CPS. I get that they don’t want to take every child who lives in a trailer with uneducated and unemployed parents out of their homes, but when drugs are involved, that’s a recipe for disaster. Accidents happen when negligent, drunk and high parents neglect toddlers, even if physical abuse does not.

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    • Taylor April 11, 2013, 9:20 pm

      That sucks. Good luck LW, I hope your brother can sort his shit out. If this continues when your niece is older, would there be avenues her school would be able to take?

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  • Miss MJ April 11, 2013, 5:49 pm

    I’ll echo the statement to call CPS, especially if your father is wiling to have your niece placed in his care. She is much less likely to get shuffled around or simply overlooked that way, and you will be assured that she is in a safe and loving environment while your brother and his wife either short their shit out or, well, don’t. And, it will hopefully get the expected baby on someone’s radar, too, so that someone can start trying to look out for its well-being. Best of luck to you, LW.

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  • kare April 11, 2013, 9:01 pm

    This is heartbreaking. Please keep trying to get your niece out of that environment. It sounds like your brother is an addict too. That would at least explain the appalling lack of judgement. I doubt it will be long before your brother and SIL have legal issues anyways. Maybe the lawyer you worked with previously can provide you some additional legal advice. Good luck to your family. It’s very difficult to see the actions of someone that is just a shell of a person, and that no longer has the ability to love anyone since they cannot love themselves. I’m grateful that I can cut my brother out of my life, but I worry every single time he’s in a relationship that he’ll bring a child into the hell he’s created.

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