DEAR CAROLYN: Two years ago, my wife and I took in her two half-siblings, ages 5 and 8. It was an emergency situation, her mom had real problems I don’t want to get into, and their dad was overwhelmed and we really had to step up.
Now my mother-in-law is completely out of the picture, and the kids’ father would like to resume full custody.
I was so relieved at the news. I was glad to help when we had to, but we’re still in our 20s, and I would like to get back to the carefree life we had before. We only have a couple of years before we start trying for kids of our own.
My wife wants to have the children “visit” their father on weekends until she’s sure he can hack it as a single father. It will help to have our weekends back — but we’ll still be dealing with the drudgery during the week.
Carolyn Hax: She asks why our friendship changed. It’s because of the man she adores.
Carolyn Hax: They say no gifts, I don’t bring one, then I feel terrible
Carolyn Hax: Life isn’t a fairy tale, and that’s why I settled for my husband
Carolyn Hax: The kids damaged my heirlooms, and I was berated when I objected
Carolyn Hax: I need this young woman out of our house
And what really worries me is that my wife can’t explain exactly what will signal the dad is ready. I understand her reluctance to let go, but I say let the dad take full custody now and if he can’t handle it, then they can come back. None of these custody arrangements were ever made legal, so who are we to deny him, right? Isn’t my plan a reasonable one for all concerned?
DEAR WORRIED: I’m sorry, no, it’s not — and your plan almost lost me entirely.
I’m with you fully on what you agreed to do and what you’ve given up. You are young. You are cleaning up someone else’s mess, and it does sound as if you had no real say. You were an utter champ for these kids.
Nothing takes away from that.
But the “let the dad take full custody now and if he can’t handle it, then they can come back” isn’t “reasonable for all concerned” — it benefits no one but you and could re-traumatize the kids. And it could even hurt you in the end, if the father gets overwhelmed and walks away.
That’s for later, though. For now, you have two fragile kids. The best thing for them is to ensure …read more
Source:: The Mercury News