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Special guardianship of my step granddaughter

(53 Posts)
Tipper Thu 06-Aug-20 08:05:32

Hi everyone,
I’m new to this only becoming a Nanny very recently. My dilemma is very sensitive but I’m completely torn.
My husband and I married 6 months ago, we are both 50 and work full time. My husbands daughter met a new man last year and VERY quickly was pregnant. It turns out the father is not a very nice person has been in jail several times for domestic abuse etc. Social services got involved and as soon as the baby was born she was taken into foster care. Social services has said that there are three possible outcomes
1. Baby goes back to parents (this doesn’t seem likely as they are not working well with S.S.)
2. Baby goes to responsible family member ( we are only option for this)
3. Baby gets adopted

My step daughter asked if we would take temporary custody of her daughter until she sorts herself out. I agreed wholeheartedly. Family is family right?
Anyway on having a viability assessment with social services it transpires that it won’t be temporary, we will be given special guardianship and parental responsibility until the child turns 18.
My dilemma is, I’m not sure I want to give up my whole future plans, my job, my financial security, my life for the next 18 years. I have been a mum for nearly 25 years and my youngest is 13 and very independent and I have just got to the stage where I can have some me time, I have got a job that isn’t the greatest but I enjoy going out to work. I’m being pressured to do it by my husband and my step daughters wider family but it’s only me that will be making all the sacrifices.
A big part of me feels like the baby would be better off adopted to a family who desperately want her. But if that happens none of us will ever see her again.
I want to do it because she is my husbands flesh and blood and I think if I don’t do it he will resent me and it will cause problems in our very new marriage but what if I do do it and I resent him for making me do it and that causes problems in our marriage. I tried to tell him how I feel but he can only see what is best for his relationship with his daughter (his only child). I need advice PLEASE!!!

Lucca Thu 06-Aug-20 08:10:06

Would you and your husband be sharing childcare with you ?

Davidhs Thu 06-Aug-20 08:23:35

What sacrifices you make will depend on what his daughter does, if she settles down she will want to take care of the child so there may well be little impact on you, that is the best outcome.
Other outcomes are she might get custody herself at some time in the future, or the father might win visitation rights and cause a great deal of trouble for you.
So a lot depends on the daughters attitude, maybe you don’t live in the U.K., special guardianship may not mean total care, in the way adoption would.

Gingster Thu 06-Aug-20 08:28:19

Sorry I would say no way. Youv e only been married 6 months and you need your future together. I can only see trouble ahead

SpringyChicken Thu 06-Aug-20 08:32:49

Isn’t it for your stepdaughter to step up and make a hard decision? She needs to choose between the baby and her man.
You must consider your thirteen year old. It’s hard enough having a new stepdad without a baby too. I wouldn’t do it.

eazybee Thu 06-Aug-20 08:41:11

This is a huge undertaking for you to agree to; you are only recently a member of this family, and although I can understand your husband's feelings I agree that it is unfair for you to be expected to change your whole life to care for his grandchild. Social Services do like to move fast in these cases; it doesn't sound good that the baby was removed at birth from the mother, and that none of her family are able/willing to help.
Don't let Social Services bully you into agreeing before you are absolutely convinced about what you want to do; long-term fostering should be an option and I would press for that; it may help to find out the legal options open to your step-daughter, independently.
Ultimately, your husband should take responsibility for the grandchild; you are not a blood relative and it is very wrong if the family is trying to pressure you. The daughter has the option of leaving her partner, unless she is deemed an unfit mother. A horrible dilemma.

Jaxjacky Thu 06-Aug-20 08:44:26

Where is the step daughters mother? And if your husband and the wider family are ‘keen’ they need to step up to help, really help.
My personal instinct would be no; your daughter is still young too, I think you need a long, difficult talk with your husband, best of luck.

Grannynannywanny Thu 06-Aug-20 08:46:09

That certainly is a dilemma Tipper and you’re clearly a very kind hearted person to be considering it. The baby’s father and his history of domestic abuse is ringing the alarm bells loudest for me.
This violent man could be on the periphery of your life for a long time to come. Social services don’t make these decisions lightly to remove a child from the parents.

sodapop Thu 06-Aug-20 09:00:33

I agree with other posters Tipper it would seem that most of the child care will fall to you at least initially and/or supervision of your step daughter with the child.
This is a huge commitment to make for someone you hardly know. It's strange that none of the mother's relatives are helping.
I think you should talk frankly to your husband about your concerns even though it may cause problems between you, there is a child's future at stake here which is more important. I agree with all eazybee said, don't be pressured. My feeling is that it may be better all round if the child is completely removed from the situation and adopted.
I hope you can resolve this awful situation.

Cabbie21 Thu 06-Aug-20 09:04:20

You are very kind to have taken this child in already, but long term is a completely different matter.
Step relationships are rarely easy and in your situation I think your 13 year old daughter ‘s interests should take priority.
As for giving up your job, your independence, your life, really, it is hard enough when it is your step child, but this is another generation, with other people, notably the child’s father, in the picture. Your new husband should not pressure you, nor should Social Services. You will be 68 by the time the child is 18. I am sure there are foster parents who could take this child long term, and you could remain in contact but not bear the burden full time.

Susan56 Thu 06-Aug-20 09:04:30

I have to say I agree with Gingster.

You have only been married six months and I feel whatever happens with this situation there is going to be resentment from somewhere whether your husband if you say no or his daughter if you are given the care of her child until the baby is 18.Also the father could be around making waves.

I think you need to think about yourself and your teenage child.I am not saying this in a selfish way but I think you have been put in a really difficult situation.

If you have doubts,it is not being selfish to air them but honest.We all want to do our best for our adult children and support them but they are adults and have choices.We see time and again on gransnet where people’s lives are in turmoil because of a partner prioritising and enabling their adult children.Obviously your husband wants what is best for his daughter but this shouldn’t be by you sacrificing your future.

I wish you all the best,you really have been put in a terrible situation?

Bibbity Thu 06-Aug-20 09:25:29

You are absolutely not being unreasonable.

I am in the throes of child rearing and the number of children I have had is my limit.

I will never ever return to this stage permanently for anyone. I have made sacrifices for my children because I chose them. Nobody else is my problem.

I would sit your husband down and tell him this is his GC and he wants her. So he needs to make everything work.
He needs to find the money but also take 100% of child rearing responsibilities.
He needs to do all the research and all the nights/ mornings.
Lay it on thick. You are done.

Tipper Thu 06-Aug-20 09:33:57

Unfortunately my husband works away during the week so he will only be helping at weekends. My step daughters mother has her own issues, and there are no siblings.
Social services has told us that we have to take full custody and in order for the baby to have stability we will have to have her until she is 18. My step daughters partner is a really nasty piece of work but my step daughter has chosen him time and time again over her baby. It is breaking my heart because we were so looking forward to being grand parents but unless I step up we won’t have that opportunity.

Illte Thu 06-Aug-20 09:44:06

I agree with Bibbity that if as a couple you decide to go ahead, the child rearing is your husbands responsibility. He is the one that must give up his job or arrange child care.

If you do go ahead tell social services that you wish to foster. You will then receive some financial support.
A friend took in her sisters four children and social services were very keen on the Guardianship route because the children then ceased to be their responsibility. She insisted on a fostership because financially it would have been impossible.

It also meant that when things started to go badly wrong with the eldest child social services had a responsibility to help.

They would be responsible for arranging any contact with the father, not you.

This is if you decide to go ahead. Personally I feel that your own family (especially your 13 year old) has had to cope with a lot of upheaval already at a sensitive age.

Illte Thu 06-Aug-20 09:49:49

Oh I've just seen that your husband is away during the week.

In that case No. I think adoption with a loving family is by far the best option. We do have experience of adoption in our family so I'm not just throwing that in without thought.

Grannynannywanny Thu 06-Aug-20 09:51:46

I really feel for you Tipper. Such a heart wrenching predicament. You say unless you step up the baby will have to leave the family and be adopted. But it’s not you who needs to step up it’s the baby’s mother and she has chosen to be with a violent man who has served time in prison for his domestic abuse.
She has chosen this man over her baby. Now you are being expected to take responsibility for her little baby regardless of the impact this will have on your own family life. She sounds controlled by this man. It will be heartbreaking for you to make the decision not to have the baby but I can’t help thinking it would be the best outcome for her to go to adoptive parents.

harrigran Thu 06-Aug-20 10:01:36

I am sorry Tipper but you seem to be in a no win situation.
To my mind it would be kinder to the child to allow it to be adopted, either way I can not see much of a future for your marriage.

wildswan16 Thu 06-Aug-20 10:06:00

You fear you will lose your husband if you don't take this baby on. Your husband is asking an awful lot of you - is he really taking your feelings into account. If he isn't listening to you at this early stage of your marriage is there a chance in the future that your own relationship will break down? Where does that leave this little child?

If your relationship with husband is strong enough, and he really understands how much HIS life is going to have to change then your love for this baby can overcome all difficulties.

Sadly this might be make or break time for your own relationship but what is best for the baby should come first.

SpringyChicken Thu 06-Aug-20 10:50:53

Tipper, there’s no guarantee stepdaughter will stop at one baby.

spyder08 Thu 06-Aug-20 11:30:49

Tipper. You have my sympathy. It’s a hard decision to make SS are involved they will be looking at what is best for the child. That has to be their prime concern. It would seem that the three options you have listed, in my experience, are correct. Unless you commit to the Special Guardianship Order fully SS won’t place the child with you. The problem would be that without the SGO the parents would continue to have shared parental responsibility with you and your husband over such things as schooling, vaccinations etc etc.
They want total commitment for the sake of the child.
If you can’t/won’t give that commitment the only path is adoption.
Sorry to be so blunt but that is the way the system works.
I would guess the only contact you would have with the child if adoption went ahead would be “letterbox contact”
Also consider what SpringyChicken has rarely stops at one child...if another child were to be born SS would approach you so that siblings could be kept together.
It’s a hard decision. My thoughts are with you...I am sure you will make the right decision.[flowers}

Susan56 Thu 06-Aug-20 12:07:59

SpringyChicken is right.A young family we know adopted a little boy,then they were asked to adopt his sister which they did willingly.Now there is a third baby on the way and they have been asked to adopt this baby too.They know it isn’t right for them or the children they have to do this but it is still causing them much upset.

I feel for you.I have been thinking about you since I first read your post?

V3ra Thu 06-Aug-20 12:23:15

What a nightmare.
Your stepdaughter isn't willing to put her baby first but the whole family expects you to?
That's just unbelievable.
Please find the strength to do the right thing for you and your thirteen year old.

Bibbity Thu 06-Aug-20 12:34:35

Unfortunately my husband works away during the week so he will only be helping at weekends

So how is he going to provide 100% childcare?
It’s not up to you to provide solutions. He needs to.
If he uses that as an excuse just bat it back to him.
How will you raise a child when you’re not here.

If he brings you up be straight. Zero grey area.

I have raised my children. My baby days are done. I am living my life and your daughters failings are not my problem.

25Avalon Thu 06-Aug-20 12:41:47

Thinking what’s best for the child I would say adoption. If you take the baby in what happens if you are unwell or even, heaven forbid your dh should die? Where is the stability for the child there? On top of that there is an abusive father who can turn up and cause you and the child trouble at any time. If all the relatives love this child then they will want what is best for him/her and adoption with a family who would love to have a child seems the best option.

Bibbity Thu 06-Aug-20 12:44:03

Also pp have raised an excellent point.
This will not be the last child.
It just won’t be.

So how many are you willing to do this for?