My Family Expects Me To Take In My Sister’s 5 Kids; I Already Have 2 Of My Own

January 5, 2016  |  

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What would you do if the state found that your sibling was unfit to care for his or her five children? Would you take them in? A 25-year-old wife and mom is faced with this exact situation. The woman, who we’ll call “Jalisa” turned to Reddit’s relationships message board hoping to receive some advice after relatives suggested that she take in her older sister’s five children. According to Jalisa, her sister, who is only one year older, can barely take care of the children she has. Even worse, she is already working on getting pregnant with her sixth child. Jalisa explains:

My sister and I have the same dad but different moms (my dad left her mom for my mom. I know. It’s kinda sh-tty.) Neither of my parents have more than a grade 9 education, and both make just slightly above minimum wage. My sister (like every other woman in my family) got pregnant when she was 16, and moved out on social assistance. I wanted to break the cycle, and although I got pregnant at 20, I went to university, married the father of my child and am now working towards my Masters. I have a lot of pride in the fact that I broke a 3-generation teen pregnancy, high school dropout cycle.

My sister now has five kids ranging in age from 10-3. Normally, I couldn’t care less how many kids someone has because it’s none of my business, but this whole situation is impacting everyone negatively.

My sister and her husband do not work. They have to get Christmas hampers, borrow money, and live on social assistance. They also don’t take care of their house. It’s literally like an episode of “Hoarders” in there. There is cat and dog poop all over the floors, moldy food everywhere, dirty diapers, etc. My nephew was once so hungry I caught him eating a bowl of moldy Cheerios once when I visited (I’m tearing up just writing that). We have all gone there multiple times to try and help them clean up, and have gotten 2-3 dumpsters full of garbage out each time.

Every time my husband and I take the kids, we have to take them out and buy them clothes for while they’re staying with us. The clothes they come in don’t fit, reek like cat pee and are always inappropriate for the situation. For example, every summer we take one of them camping (they never get to do anything without all their siblings, and it’s something they each look forward to each year). It was a 6-day camping trip, and all that was in my niece’s bag were a pair of her older brothers jogging pants (he’s 10, she’s 5!) and a weird ripped fleece dress that was three sizes too small. This is a common occurrence.

Well, apparently Jalisa’s relatives aren’t the only ones who have noticed her sister’s inability to care for her children. Children’s services has issued a stern warning to the young woman and the next time that they’re forced to step in, they will take the children away. Jalisa’s relatives believe that she should be the one to take the children in when this happens. Jalisa and her husband currently have two kids of their own and adding five more to their household would be no easy task.

The fact is, children’s services are already very involved. If things get any worse, they will lose all the kids, and the general family consensus seems to be that I’ll take them in when that happens. I love those kids, but my husband and I have worked extremely hard to be able to give our two children good lives. I don’t want to sacrifice their happiness and well-being because of someone else’s mistakes.

On top of all this, my sister has been diagnosed with some sort of personality disorder and her psychologist straight up told her she should stop having babies because it’s negatively affecting her. I’m so saddened by this. I want to help them, but I’m honestly out of ideas and patience.

What should she do?

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