I have searched high and low for a support group for someone who is trying to raise their sibling's children. Thus far... I have found nothing that fits the bill. So I am making my own, online support type group. I can't be the only one in the world trying to fill the shoes of a mother that is no longer there! These shoes aren't easy to fill, as the children I am trying to raise are 3 years old (the Vampire) and 5 years old (the Drama Queen). They were both neglected in their early years, but their individual personalities also have a lot to do with the various issues that they struggle with. I have had complete custody of them for a little over a year now, it has been that long since they have seen their biological mother, my sister. Their biological father has had supervised visitations since January of this year, but is in no way stable enough to handle being the primary care giver of these precious babies.
Before I became their custodial auntie, I was a childless woman trying to buy a home of my own. I was in a very negative, abusive relationship for 8 years prior to my new life, and at this point, I was still trying to get on my feet and find out exactly what I wanted to be doing. I am stubborn by nature, and was enjoying being in a long distance relationship with a man whom I had been good friends with prior to my divorce. One weekend, my sister asked me to watch her kids for a little while. I asked her how long a little while was, and she said "I don't know." I told her, "sis, I'm trying to buy a home of my own right now, how can I keep your kids for an unknown period of time, and provide schooling, medical care, etc?" She then tells me that she has to leave the state to get a better job. I tell her you can find a good job here, then proceed to help her locate a job. She clearly has her heart set on leaving the state with her boyfriend.... and without her kids, but tells me to never-mind. Two days later, she tells me that since I am so (expletive) perfect... I can just raise her (expletive) children. I have not seen her since, and have spoken to her on the phone a handful of times. That was June 29, 2009.
Since then, I completed the purchase of my very own house, and have done my best at making it a home for us. My long distance boyfriend became more of a steady boyfriend, and has made it clear to me by moving closer to the girls and I, that he wants to help me raise them. I have managed to keep my job, although at times, the odds are stacked against me with that - but thankfully I have an amazing set of employers. My parents have worked hard at having custody of their 7 year old autistic brother. I have become more of a "mother" and less of the "favorite aunt", but above all else, I have come to have a new appreciation the the trials and tribulations that every parent goes through with children.
The Vampire is our adorable blond haired, blue eyed, obstinate, 3 year old cannibal. OK, so she doesn't really eat humans.... but she can't seem to stop biting them. The first time I saw her bite was shortly after she started walking, around 1 yr old. She has used that as communication pretty much ever since. No one believes she is a biter until they see her do it. They tell me, "that angel? she couldn't hurt a fly!!" I am currently using every method legally possible to reign in her biting, including therapy, redirection, time outs, etc, and am now avidly trying to get her involved in speech therapy. She is in danger of being kicked out of the only daycare I can afford to have her in right now. We have been dedicating so much time to her right now that the Drama Queen has started to act out. The Vampire loves the acrobatics class we have her in, and to watch anything animated or kid associated on T.V.
The Drama Queen is our beautiful brunette, with the clearest green eyes I have ever seen. She is strong willed and doesn't like to share or be told that she is wrong. She has developed her biological parents knack for lying, and a mouth that no 5 year old should have. If you tell her it's white she will argue until bed time that it is indeed black. She just started kindergarten, and 4 weeks into the school year, I received the dreaded "call from the teacher". I was shocked, cause I thought that the Vampire was more our problem child. The Drama Queen loves ballet, tap, and is learning now how to crochet (she insisted I teach her).
This blog will be a public record of our adventures, misadventures, trials, tribulations, and successes. You may laugh, cry, think I am crazy, post your feelings of outrage to something I have written, or just read and feel like you aren't alone in being a custodial aunt or uncle of some incredible kiddos that push you to your limits. I welcome feedback, and hope you can enjoy!
- Aunt TT