Are they her parents?


My dh and I have an ugly situation with his mother and her granddaughter. I have written about this before, but this question is new. My MIL and her husband are guardians of her granddaughter. They have taken care of her medically and in all other areas. They are the only parents this little girls knows, but she does know her dad, my dh’s brother. This brother and his mother don’t get along at all and both are hot heads. The court is believing my MIL and her husband, both cops, and stopped visitation of the child with her dad. They are now trying to terminate his parental rights and adopt her. My dh is against this. The dad, his brother, is a immature, immoral man, but still the father. He use to visit his daughter until him and his mother don’t get along. My dh just called his mother, who abused him in childhood, and tried expressing how he disagrees with terminating his brothers’ right to his child. She was very upset and said that they are the parents of this little girl. He corrected her and said they are the guardians appointed by the court to take care of her. She yelled at him and said, “No, we are her parents, the ones who sat up with her when sick, the ones who take care of her…”

I realize that they are the only parents this girl does know, but they shut the dad out, for he is hard to get along with. My MIL has even called him “white trash.” They hate each other. My BIL has disowned his mother and is so angry with her. He has a terrible temper. When my dh tried to tell her that they are not the parents and that they are guardians and knew that some day they would have to give the child back, she denied it completely and said they are the parents of this child. She kept saying it would not be fair to this child to take her away from them for they are all that she knows. This is why we said no to the judge when he asked us to take this child. We knew first that we would have to deal with my dh’s mentally ill brother and that we would some day have to give her up. My MIL doesn’t see it this way and says this child is hers and over her dead body will she ever allow the dad to have her. This worries me. She is unstable in my opinion also. She freaked out when my husband was in the monastery. She thought that was the worse thing in the world to have a son studying to be a priest. She hates the Church. My dh brought this up to her tonight and said she can be “neurotic” and she got really angry at that and said that she drove him crazy by studying to be a priest. She also blamed all other abused on my husband on her ex, his father. She took no responsibility for her part.

This is all going to the court next month. My husband doesn’t want to step in and help his brother for he is very selfish man. He loves his daughter, but has not seen her since Christmas. He can visit her at a visitation center and says he refuses to do that and rather not see her at all. Personally, I don’t think that neither party should raise this girl, but she is more familiar with her grandmother who she calls mommy.

Is my MIL crazy in thinking and really believing that she is the parent of this child? If she believes this, why is see trying to terminate her son’s parental right and adopt this girl? She must know they are not the parents, but I heard her tonight and she truly believes she is entitled to this girl and she is hers forever. My MIL is 60 years old and her husband is 41 years old. My BIL thinks that his mother wants to give her husband a child, his child. What a mess???


Wow, that is a mess. It sounds like a very sad situation.
I’m sure your MIL knows she is not the biological mother of this girl. Her point is that she is the one who parents her so she is the parent. I think she’s right. This girl has never know any different. I think it’s best for her to stay in the most stable and secure environment possible. If her biological father really wanted to be a father to her, he would have stepped up and done so by now. Your MIL wants to protect the girl from being taken away. I see nothing wrong with that, it would be very traumatic for all involved. While she may not be perfect,she seems like the best option for a loving and secure home for this girl. She is blessed to have a grandmother that loves her so much.


Yes, my niece is blessed to have her grandmother, but as my MIL said, “she was forced on us.” My MIL was so angry at my husband and I for not taking the child when the judge wanted us to take her. She complained for months when she had this little girl, on how old she is, how this child has changed their life completely, how this child is ruining all her plans of retirement. Even now, about three years later, she complains how they have had to change their entire careers to go with this child’s school schedule. I just find that she loves this girl as her own, but also really resents her. I know she can be very verbally abusive and mean, for I have heard her in action with my dh and he is an adult. I just wonder about how she treats this little girl. I have heard my dh and my BIL tell me that when I am around, their mother behaves real nice to all there, but when I am not she is a different and mean woman. I know that some day the guardian ad litem will contact my husband and I. I really don’t have anything to say about the abuse, for I have never really seen her abuse this child. My husband can comment on it for he lived with her. The only thing I can say is that around Thanksgiving time 2006, we went to my MIL and this little girl was crabby and whinny. She was very upset. I tried to cheer her up and asked what was the problem. These were her words, “I miss my daddy. Where is my daddy?” I mentioned this to my MIL and her sister who just arrived and they didn’t believe me and said she would never say that, that it was impossible. I can’t believe they were calling me a liar. Then my MIL’s husband just said that since we were all gathering together, she wondered where her dad was. They said they never mention her dad to her at all. They want her to forget him totally. I will agree that this man is not the best father, but he does love his child in his way. I saw him take care of this child her first 2 years of life. He had to work, but when he was home, since his girlfriend was a lazy mother and person who had three other children taken away from her, he did everything for this child. He fed her, dressed her and really did a good job in taking care of her. I will have to mention this to any guardian ad litem for my MIL is painting a very different irresponsible man and father to everyone. I will agree that he needs to grow up and is now 41 yrs. old and never will, but it loves her. I don
t think he should get full custody of her, but my MIL did know that when she said yes to the judge that it was temporary for the judge did tell both of the parents that they could someday come back to the court and prove that they are better parents.

I feel for my MIL and love her very much, but she if “fake” around me and different or her true self to her husband and her sons. I found a hole in her bedroom door and asked about it and she ignored the question. I went to her husband and was joking when I asked if he did this when he lost control, and he immediately defended himself and said it was her, my MIL who lost it one day and he went into the bedroom and closed the door. She punched a hole in it. She tells me that she is very happy in this marriage and that she has no temper. My dh lived with them when they were 5 years in their marriage and he said that his mother gets real angry still. My dh and his brothers all have an anger problem. They got it from someone for it was learned. They all say their mother. I just don’t want another child, this little girl, to also grow up with so much anger and also have some sort of mental illness.

I do want what is best for this girl and I really wanted to raise her, but I did need my husbands consent and a better back also. I really hope she is happy with her grandmother. She is 5 years old, but is developmentally slow and at the age of 3, otherwise she would speak herself and talk. I do know that she is very afraid of her grandmother and witnessed a time when her “grandpa/dad” said he would say something to “mommy” and she ran and hid.


If you believe that you mil is in any way abusive to that little girl then you MUST tell the guardian ad litem.


I am not sure how to answer your post as I am uncertain as to what your question is?

Do you think you are being called to take this little girl into your home? Your words just sound like you are in agony over this whole thing. I will pray for you and your family. Maybe that is what is happening here.

As to what “title” your mother in law has, really it probably has little bearing on this mess. There are so many issues going on here that it seems to me bickering with your mother in law on whether or not she calls herself “mother” or “guardian” or “grandma” is utterly useless.

I am sure you are praying much about this. Not only pray for your niece, but pray for guidance as exactly what God is calling you to do here. God bless you.


Oh Nana this is so sad. Tell me what would happen to this child if neither you or your MIL were to take care of her. Would she be put into the system for somebody else to take care of.

This child has been through so much and she needs a stable home filled with love, care and attention. And people that have time to sit with her and teach her things. In my heart I feel that you and your husband can give this child the loving family that she needs.

But there is alot to consider. Think about it and pray about it and ask for guidance. It is a big resposibility over and above all the other responsibilities that you already have.

Take care and God Bless.


I did not get the message via email that someone responded to this thread. Here it is in March and I was just looking at old thread and saw the Robaynne, you responded.

I would love to take this child. I would home school her if she was mine to take care of. She is still a hand full. I think she has ADD upon other things. My MIL tells me that we can no longer have her as a guardian, but I think she is lying. She has lied to me to many times. She told me that the judge canceled our guardianship, but I read the court papers from my BIL and it doesn’t even mention our guardianship which means it is still in effect. If we should want to take this child, I think it would end our relationship for she would fight us bitterly as she is fighting with her son for his child. I just talked to her two days ago and before that our last talk was in December. She called my cell to ask if we were home this weekend or if we had plans. I told her we did and why. She said that her son is trying to get visitation of his daughter at our house. I told her that Sunday would be fine to see what she would say for she was making it seem that she would have if we could have. She immediately, said no and that she will tell her attorney no to her son’s attorney’s question. How sad! The judge ordered supervised visitation at a center, but my BIL is stubborn and doesn’t want to go to one so he mentioned our house and we told him that we don’t have a problem as long as he informs us early enough. He didn’t do this. HIs mom lied yet again on the phone with me and said that her son has no interest in his daughter for it has been one year since he has seen her. This is not true. The order was just given prior to Christmas. It has only been four months. She said other things against her son, which I didn’t believe. I don’t think either party should have the child, but I do believe that the dad really loves his little girl in the way he knows love to be. He was also abused, just as my husband by his mother and father. He doesn’t take responsibility to well, but I did see him take care of his little girl when she was an infant. He was more attentive to his daughter than my husband was to our daughter. I mean my BIL did what most dad’s don’t want to do, like feed their child and change their daipers. Well, my husband didn’t want to do this or get up in the middle of the night either. He did help some though, but my BIL helped more than he should have to with his girlfriend not working and being home all day long. She was really lazy.

My MIL also is really to fire her attorney. She tells me that it is because of this incident, but I think it is because she doesn’t have a good chance to adopt this girl without the father’s consent.

I wish I could take this girl, for she would be like a sister to my daughter and are only two years apart. I don’t know if hubby would ever allow it though. He hates dealing with his immature brother.

The court date is coming up and I don’t know if hubby or I will be testifying, but pray the Lord will allow for what is best for this little girl and her name is Kristina.


The little girl does have one, but I don’t know if they will contact us to speak to us. I keep asking for the lady’s name, but my BIL doesn’t know if his daughter even has one, but my MIL tells me she does and hasn’t given us the name of this person.


Yes, I am in agony, but I don’t think I could ever get this child without cause major problems in my husband’s family. The reason I mention the title is because I am trying to get my MIL to understand that she knew she was going to be the guardian and it could be for a long time, but now she is totally convinced that she is this girl’s mother and therefore the law should make it possible without making any considerations to the parental parents. She believes that since she took this child at age 2 and have been the primary care giver, this entitles her to be the parent. I disagree with her and told her that if my husband and I took the child, even though we feel like her parents, that we would know that she was not ours but only are taking care of her until dad could. She fought so bitterly with my husband on this and she herself, I believe, has mental health issues, but she really thinks that she is this little girl’s mother.

This is the same woman who forbade her son from seeing his daughter, just because he bought a python and she is really afraid of snakes. We tried to tell her that she could not do this and she said she could do whatever she wanted for Kristina is hers.


Does your husband realize it isn’t about his brother, it’s about his niece. It’s about what’s best for his niece, an innocent little girl. From what I have read, her father is too unstable to care for her, her grandmother is a whiner and complainer (understandably so, she SHOULDN’T be raising a young child at her age), and your husband is sitting in the sidelines doing nothing because he doesn’t want to deal with his disfunctional family and would rather sit on his hands instead of providing a stable and loving home for his niece. YOu seem to be the only sane one (I’m sure your husband is, but here is where your wisdom must be made LOUD and CLEAR to your husband). I personally would be furious if I knew of someone who wouldn’t step up to the plate knowing he could provide the most stable home for his niece. If your husband was abused by his mother (his niece’s grandmother, who is her guardian at this time) why in the h*ll is he not fighting to have custody of his niece? It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense:confused:


I feel for you. I surely do. For the past 15 months my beautiful 7 y/o granddaughter lived with me. I did it because my daughter needed help and this was what I could do. Then just over 2 weeks ago, Chloe’ was gone. One day her mama didn’t send her to CCD and didn’t tell me she didn’t send her. She “decided to keep her”. Never said a word. All because I wouldn’t take a week off from work so she( my daughter) could go on a “much needed vacation”. My daughter picked my grand daughter up from school and kept her until I came home from work. She made no other arrangements for Chloe, but expected me to be responsible. So in the past 2+ weeks I have had all of 10 minutes phone contact with my grand daughter, who doesn’t understand why “Nanny doesn’t want her” (my daughter’s words). There was nothing legal between my daughter and I, just a verbal agreement. In a million years I never thought she would do this. But, I have put it in God’s hands and trust that in His own time He will do what is right.
It’s a darn shame that children are put in the middle. And needless to say I am furious. But, I know that for 15 months, Chloe’ was the sparkle in my day, and I was blessed. If her mama decides that she “can’t handle things” and “allows” Chloe’ to come back, you’re damn straight I will have things legalized, because no way is it right to take a child from a stable environment. Biological parents aren’t necessarily always the best answer for kids. And I think grand parents should have rights too.



Oh, Kathy, that is just awful!

Nana, aren’t you concerned that, given the abuse DH and BIL received, your neice might fall victim to the same situation?

IMO BIL and DH need to come forward about how they were abused. Based on MIL’s behavior, there is little evidence supporting her as a stable, rehabilitated, competent guardian.


Kathy you are a brave woman…hang in there…I have a funny feeling Chloe will be home in no time…


Dear Nana,
Why don’t you talk it over w ith your husband? If the choice is between a mentally unstable father, an abusive grandmother, and your family, it seems clear that yours would be the best choice. You can contact the court and get the guardian ad litem’s name.
The child’s welfare is the important thing, not anybody’s feelings.
God bless.


Thanks to all who replied and I have talked to my dh until I am blue in the face. He tells me that I, “don’t know his mental brother.” He said that if his brother doesn’t get his way that he will yell and cuss at us and also my husband also suffers from some mental issues as well from the child abuse he received. He has to be on medication or we would be divorce by now. I don’t know if he could handle the stress for he can’t handle normal stress. He has to take Xanax to help him. He is pretty normal while he takes his medications, but lately he hasn’t been doing that and he becomes angry easily again. He also has Parkinsons disease and I have a mess of medical problems. I say I want to take my niece only because I would provide her with a lot of love and I do believe my dh can too if he takes his medication as ordered. Another problem would be my MIL!! She will have all her friends tell the judge that she is nice and kind and all that. Her own husband would also stay on her side and not mention her temper. I know he would for he does with me all the time. The only reason I know otherwise is from my dh and BIL who tell me that their mother is totally different with me or around me. I think it would be hard to prove that she is the same woman that my dh and BIL had when they were children. She tells me, when I ask about the boys upbringing, that her husband was terrible and abused her verbally and physically all the time. She became an angry bitter person and didn’t care about the boys for they were on their dad’s side. It all seems hopeless.

I will call the guardian ad litem to see if Kristina does have one appointed and if not that they should get on very soon. If I can’t take this little girl, I do think she is better off with a foster family that is very loving, but a guardian ad litem should check on her offend. I know of a GAL now who said she has a 5 year old that they took away from the mother and is in a foster family and never has been happier.

I know that if my BIL did cause problems for us in our marriage, we would complete the attitude of my dh’s side of the family. NO ONE other than us are talking to him. He has offended everyone one to many times and they don’t want him calling them or visiting them. His own dad doesn’t tolerate him but than again, that side of the family are all pagans. It is a miracle my dh stayed Catholic and lived his faith.

Don’t get me wrong, as immature and mental that my BIL is, I still think he can see his daughter. He did today for the first time in four months finally go to the visitation center. A Department of children and family person came to my MIL’s and picked up Kristina to meet her dad at the visitation center. I would think that the GAL would do that, but I am not sure. I wouldn’t doubt it if my MIL lied and told me that she has a GAL. I hope and pray that I do get to testify and that the judge awards us Kristina. Maybe, if the judge orders it, my husband will say yes for it will be the second time. The first time he refused for she was still to little and I had back surgery and could not take care of her and her needs. Maybe, he would see it as God’s will that He wants us to have his niece. The other problems, we can work it out and just put ground rules for my BIL.


I too believe that sometimes the grandparents should have the rights to raise their grandkids if they can. I am not against this at all. I am so sorry that this happened to you and I will keep you and your granddaughter in my prayers. Yes, I agree too that the biological parents may not be the best choice either for the children. I know that in our situation, the mother and father are incapable of taking care of their child. They are not good parents or mentally able to care for a child. I know that some laws really need to change to protect the rights of children. I think the laws protect more the parents than the children. I do think it is wrong that your daughter tells your granddaughter that you don’t want her anymore and it will come to haunt her and back fire on her. My MIL did this with all three of her sons and would speak horribly of their dad after the divorce. They all resent her for that and treated her horribly for they did not respect her and still don’t. The only one who respects and “tolerates” her is dh. I think having God in his life helps.

Don’t dismay for if you daughter couldn’t handle and care for Chloe before it will most likely happen again and when it does have some paperwork ready. See a lawyer and see what paperwork can get drawn up. See if your daughter would give up her rights as a parents so that Chloe would be with you forever, but if not, become her legal guardian.


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