Sage Advice: Daughter Leaves Baby with Parents
What's better for a child, responsible grandparents or an irresponsible mother?
Dear Amy: I have a 21-year-old daughter. She has a little boy (my grandson), who is 2-1/2.
My husband and I have given my daughter so many chances to be a mom to her boy and have encouraged her to get a job.
While my daughter was living with us, she refused to get a job, and I was taking care of my grandson.
We gave her an ultimatum that she must get a job or move out and grow up. Well, she chose to move out. Then she lied about where she was living.
She left her son behind and my husband and I have been taking care of him.
I just found out on Facebook that she is living with a guy. Not once has she asked about her son.
Suddenly, last month she asked my husband on Facebook if she could come back. But recent pictures on her boyfriend’s Facebook page show that she is having a good time.
I don’t know what to do.
My grandson is thriving without his mother, and is very happy with us. He doesn’t even seem to know that she is gone. He doesn’t mention her at all.
She has lied so much that at this point I don’t trust her.
Should I let her come home, or should we let her live out in the real world?
– Unsure Grandmother
Dear Unsure: I have news for all of you. Your daughter living with her boyfriend while you raise her child is not the real world. Your challenging daughter living at home with you while the three of you clash over raising this child is as real as it gets.
This is tricky. Your daughter seems to have abandoned her child to your care.
However, she is his mother. She may bounce in and out of his life while he lives with you, and then, very suddenly she might decide to take the child to live with her.
Millions of heroic grandparents (and other family members) are currently raising children, and yet the legal assumption is that (unless the situation is extreme) children should be with their biological parents.
My opinion is that you and your husband should continue to raise this boy without his mother, until she shows a consistent intent (beyond a Facebook message), that she wants to come back. Ultimately, however, her being with you would probably be best for both her and the child.
However, understand that if she moves home and you clash again and kick her out, she may take the boy with her.
You MUST research your legal rights. See an adoption attorney – or meet with a social worker at your local Family and Child Services office.
Your daughter might be willing to sign over temporary guardianship to you, so that you can legally make decisions on the boy’s behalf.
In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068
© 2020 by Amy Dickinson