Can I raise another child?

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LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/16/2008 12:37 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello everyone. I'm looking for some sage advice.  I'm new here and apologize for such a complicated and lengthly post.

I'm 51 yo bipolar on Soc Sec disability from work. Left brain functions shut down after reducing lithium about three years ago. Have been mostly stable off and on trying various meds, and most brain function has returned to some degree. I would say my brain functions like a beginning stage alzheimer's patient.

My 26yo son also has mental health issues... Sketchy medical evals range from adhd to bipolar. He has been married five years and has two daughters, 3 and 5. Herein lies the crux of the problems.

Due to the many many many problems brought on by unmedicated bipolar, specifically keeping a job, home, Child Protective Services has taken custody of these two precious girls. The wife's mother keeps the five year old, and I have kept the three year old off and on, with her mother keeping her when she can keep an apt. Since my son hasn't complied with their steps to take, he may only see the girls at CPS. Now the mother the same.

In less than two months, I will be asked to keep Hailey (3yo) permanently. This is where I need your help.

Problems

Money huge issue. I'm on SS and cannot work. I can't afford clothes for myself. Really.
In the last year, I have divorced my husband, moved south, and had to return when Hailey's mother couldn't keep her. My husband and I are reconciled.
My husband (legally ex) is adamantly against taking guardianship of her (as are my and his parents.)
I cannot raise Hailey without him for many reasons.
My husband has ptsd and without medication, absolutely no one can live with him. He takes neurontin for anxiety, but sometimes hit or miss. It is not time release but is the only thing he will take (point being, opportunities everyday for outbursts.)
I cannot talk to him about this right now.
I seriously doubt my ability to see this through. Seriously.
It may be possible for mother's sister to keep her, but they are not financially stable. The other granmother cannot handle both girls and is very manipulative to keep only the 5yo..
Hailey (3yo)has mental health issues and will have a very hard time in school, with discipline, all the stuff that goes with adhd/bipolar...
If I don't keep her, I believe she will go to foster care. I don't know about her sister.
How will she feel if she goes to foster care when no one in the family was willing to take care of her? Remember her sister is being kept at the other grandmother's.
I haven't discussed this with CPS for fear they will go ahead and take her. I mentioned it briefly to the case worker recently because the time is near for permanency. I used the term “mental health issues”, not “bipolar”. She was in a hurry so...
She has no one to play with and I can't afford day care.
Guilt of not keeping her. This is a biggie for me as I have already been thru this with my son when I turned him over to his Dad when I was first diagnosed and very sick. I suffer despression everyday for this.
My mental health is not great. At times, she may be at risk from my brain lapses. I cannot see myself putting her thru school at times.
My husband and mother-in-law say that I simply can't do it. I really don't know how my son feels. His answer will be according to circumstances. He says I can't take long term care of her now but when it's time to look for foster parents...

Advantages

No one cares about a kid more than family, esp parents and grandparents.
I am in tune with her mental health and am willing to work with all apects the best that I can.
The joy she brings.
Brings meaning to my life.
Companionship
Helping hand (that is, if I can get her to do anything!!)
She's really cute!!

I'm sure there's more, but I think you get the idea. Any thoughts?

Thanks for any ideas.... Maryann


loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/16/2008 7:58 PM (GMT -7)   
LuckyRose, I only have a moment to reply, but I had a thought for you. To be honest, as heart breaking as it may sound, I don't know that you are the best option for your young grandchild as a permanent placement option. However, depending on where you live, I would think if you work with social services to find a placement for her that would be close to your home and work to promote legal visitation, it may be a better option. Kids need consistency and it sounds as if that will be in short supply for you, plus, let's face it...kids are expensive and if you don't have money to buy clothes for yourself, how will you have it for a growing child. From what I understand...and I may be totally ignorant of the facts, social services will try to work with the family under special conditions like this. It sounds like she has a loving family, but no one in the position to take on her care for a multitude of special circumstance reasons. Therefore, it might qualify you for special considerations to keep her a part of the family, while fostering her out to a family that is willing to "include" vs. "exclude" her sister and many loving relatives. I don't think they want to deny a child her heritage or family. Again, I may be ignorant here, but under conditions like these...I think you may want to speak with a "pro-bono" attorney to help legally create a win-win situation with social services for all of you.

As to what to say that one child could stay living with family and the other couldn't...there will never be an easy answer. But if arrangements can be made to all stay a part of each others lives, then you may have a shot at minimizing the issues about it because she (God willing) will find an amazing foster family who will embrace all of you as well, and find a way to help her feel loved and always a part of all of you - as well as them - and she will grow up to understand the special circumstances that created the situation to bring it all about. Who knows, she may in the end be the one in a healthier, better situation, than her older sister! Only time will tell, and there is no need to only think all or nothing. This is a child, with a family, she is loved...but help is needed for all of you.

My best wishes for a positive outcome for you all. I will hold good thoughts in my heart that there IS a way to make this happen. LFW

LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/17/2008 3:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi. Thanks for writing, and with so much wisdom.  Your post called me out of bed the a.m. I knew something good was waiting for me on this post and I wanted to check.  Thank you.
 
I am coming to the same conclusion, esp. since I spoke to my son yesterday and he assured me he is willing for her to go to foster care.  I love your idea about finding a foster family close to me.  I hadn't thought of it, but I know I would like to get some sort of visitation, the closer to home the better.
 
It's really hard, she's so cute and loving and it just gets better everyday (well, most days of course!)  I don't have much time either now, the doctor calls me next.  You've given me much to think about, and I will return and re-read your words of wisdom.  The money thing clangs like a bell.  It's so so true.  My (ex)husband works some and that helps in general, but it can't be counted on.  We are reconciled, but still divorced, and he's always kept his money in his pocket.   And of course, the mulititude of other issues... well...
 
I'll be back when I have more time.  I wanted to respond now, your post was so thoughtful and I thank you.  I see you are a "veteran", maybe I'm in the right place. 
 
I will stick to your words... "there IS a way to make this happen."
 
Peace to you, Maryann

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/17/2008 9:59 AM (GMT -7)   
LuckyRose,

I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to welcome you to the board yesterday, let me do so now. I hope you stay with us while you're working this through. This is one of the stickiest, saddest situations I've heard of yet. I'm sorry that you have to be in it.

I have to sadly agree with LFW that one way or another, it doesn't sound like you can be the guardian for this girl. You are simply not equipped financially or health wise to take care of a toddler, and no one could blame you for admitting it. I have a daughter turning three next month and I can sympathize with how sweet and cute they are, but they are TONS of work and they need so much attention and help at this age.

LFW's suggestion that you try and orchestrate a foster situation with some visitation seems brilliant. I couldn't think of a thing to suggest, but she's got a great idea. She doesn't have to lose her family just because no one can take care of her right now.

I hope this all works out okay and she finds a family that's loving and nurturing for her. She will be alright, and you will too. There will be a tough time, but you can handle it, I'm sure of it.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 6/18/2008 2:02 AM (GMT -7)   

lucky,

if you have to ask if you should keep the child, then you have already answered your question.  the "little voice" in your head is telling you what you have to do but your emotions are getting in the way.  VERY understandable.  this is a very emotive issue.  the problem is that logic, reason, and common sense all say to find a solution as suggested by lfw.

my wife and i keep our 4-yr old great grandson from time to time.  i love him and enjoy his company and he is funnier than a barrel of monkeys.  but i am no more prepared to take care of him full time than you are to take care of your grand-baby.  i would guess that i am older than you, but i believe that the same considerations that you stated in your post apply to both of us.

i once heard a financial planner say that given a choice between building a college fund for your children and building a retirement fund for yourself, one should build the retirement fund.  your kids, if they want to, can make it through college.  when you retire you are on your own:  don't expect anything from your kids.  save yourself,  your grand-baby will be ok.

hope this helps.

warren


That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
 
 


thirstyforchrist
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 416
   Posted 6/18/2008 4:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Lucky,
Hey, I'm from the anxiety page but I'd figure I'd drop in here and see what this page was about. I really feel for you honey. It sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place. You seem to know all the disadvantages and advantages, so good for you for really going deep inside yourself to think about this. I think you are definately a very good grandmother because you are thinking about your granddaughters welfare over yours. I hope you find some guidence. I have a two year old son and I cant imagine what would happen to him in that situation. Anyway you seem to have alot of love for your family. Love conquers all in my book. Is there anyway you can get extra money from the gov if you were to take her permanately? Also, do you have other family members willing to help take the burden from you at times? I will be praying for guidence for you. Try and have a good day~ LOVE!!!
"There is hope for every man, a solid place where we can stand, in this dry in weary land, there is hope for every man... Jesus is hope for every man"  -Casting Crowns


LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/18/2008 5:25 AM (GMT -7)   
hi wmnak... "if you have to ask if you should keep the child, then you have already answered your question."... I actually wasn't sure wihich way you were going to go on this... I was hoping... But this is sooo true.  I have mentioned this to peiople a couple of times, but didn't think of it in my own situation.
 
This is a great reason for me to post on this board and I thank you all!!  and, is it Suze Orman?... I love her.  I like "people first, then money, than things."  Actually, interestingly enough, it is that phrase that steers me away from my own finaincial objections to this sitiation at hand.  People first.  I guess putting people first can mean a number of scenerios, inlcuding ones you don't want to swallow. 
 
and thirstyforchrist, I want to let you know that I am pretty much the end all in this situation, "personnel" wise and money wise.  It's not good as they say.
 
well, might as well go for the three-count... serefena, I thought I wrote back yesterday, but guess not!  Thanks for the welcome.  It would be hard for me to handle either side of the situation, but I'll try to believe I can handle it, I'll have to.  We all have to in our lives. 
 
I know what a lifetime of depression I will have over this, depression hard lessened with medication.  I've dealt with it from my son for years, and it is constant.  I know I need not say anymore about depression here!!  Keep the faith.. luckyrose
 
 

loving frustrated wife
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 865
   Posted 6/18/2008 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
LR, speak to a "pro-bono" attorney AND family/social services to see what options are available to you. Your family, due to all the financial and medical issues, should qualify for "special circumstances" consideration. Therefore, there may be - as I suggested before - a way to work it out where you have legalized visitation with your granddaughter, and she would be placed with a family close by. If it is a good family, they will help keep a solid family connection for the child with all of you - because that is what will be best for HER, and they will be "inclusive", not "exclusive" with all of you...and YOU with them. So it is like your family in not being splintered...it is GROWING as it now includes them back. Take the steps necessary now...don't wait until the last minute when the options will be too late to utilize. Be pro-active about it. Keep us posted. I'll hold good thoughts. LFW

LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/18/2008 1:16 PM (GMT -7)   

Well, oh my gosh, the county case workers were just here (by coincidence, she called last night, the first of monthly visits) and I brought up the concerns and issues we've been discussing, including "depression", her likely mental health issues, etc.  I brought up the money, and they assurred me the State of Florida would give me a stipind, (which I'm not getting now) of only a few of hundred bucks but it helps... I can buy her a prom dress...  (and I can use to bait my husband who was raised very poor and money is a big issue with him.  They also said they will get her into school (free) this year, she's three, and that would be the end of it!  (I live in a rural county, and they mean it!!  :-)  No talk of foster care here.

So I called my husband with these two little tidbits (money and school) and it loosened him up a bit.  He knows some of the pressure will be relieved from me and he was very positive about it.  Now, I must determine for myself the right thing.  I do worry about the faulty brain wiring and cognitive function as we all do.  But how bad is it and how bad will it get, how fast?  Ok, now I'm asking you guys to have crystal balls too.

Had I not written to you all, this outcome could have been much different.  There's a lot at stake and you have helped with in a great way and I thank you very much.  It has been a very timely discussion about a situtation that looked absolutely hopeless for a long time to come into one much more hopeful with quicker resolution.  Wow.  Pretty powerful stuff right there....  

Sorry about the typos on the prior posts.  "I'm bipolar, you know!"

Keep the faith, luckyrose

LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/18/2008 1:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh... they are also looking into getting her counseling which she could use (separation from parents) and have her evaluated for attention deficit. It seems, they will provide her with social, emotional, and learning disabilities too.... how could I forget???? LR

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 6/18/2008 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Well it sounds like they are trying to get you a lot of support -- well, as much as they can. I would feel better if you had some support yourself as well. Do you see a counselor or have a good psych doc who listens well? Could you run this by them and see what they think?

The school is crucial. Don't let them back down on that. If you're going to keep her, you and she will absolutely need that resource. Talk to the school you choose about scholarships or financial assistance for next year. Try to find one that can offer that for you.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/18/2008 4:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you serefena. I justed started a new doc, he is older and seems nice. I may start going to the county with her. My old doc said I was able but it wouldn't be the best for me. She's never had kids, so I'm not sure how much weight I can actually put on her opinion. But, she has known me for thirteen years and my husband for almost as many.

I'm also concerned about my lack of family, short of my husband. But the list goes on and on.

I haven't made up my mind yet. This afternoon came too easy (if you call months of agonizing too easy.) And, I have to verify what they have said, as you noted. If the school were to fall thru.... haven't you earned your chrystal ball by now (1247 posts!)

Must run off to household duties.... will check back. Keep the faith, luckyrose

wmnak
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1123
   Posted 6/21/2008 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
lucky,
 
sometimes (not often) i begin to believe that there IS a god!  my wife and i both are "rugged individualists" and, from our collective experience, don't expect help from anyone or anything.  i am gratified to be proven wrong in your circumstance.
 
with this help, and your "reality-based" mindset, i feel certain that, if at all possible, with this help you can make it work.
 
think maybe good thoughts, prayers, and determination may work sometimes?
 
i am relieved for you and very hopeful for a positive outcome.
 
warren
That light at the end of he tunnel?  It's an on-coming train.
 
 


LuckyRose
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 6/21/2008 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   

wmnak...

...and... your post just as I'm losing my guts!!... I'm trying to find some decent "inexpensive" meds to hold bipolar symptoms in check (including cognitive) and hopefully, a long  term solution.  I believe this is the key to finding a workable solution if I do keep her.  I took wellbutrin last night and this stuff spun round and round.. and round....  it's times like that that keep me in doubt about my mental capacities to tackle this job.

Thanks for your encouragement.  I have to learn to live a day at a time, sometimes a moment at a time in this situation right now and just do what I can.  I have received excellent feedback from you guys, and appreiciate your wonderful thoughts.  I have much to be grateful for.  

Keep the faith, luckyrose

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