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DanFraser
February 14 2013, 10:43:47 PM
This is partly an outpouring of emotions, a debate on how to actually deal with this and also for me to find out how to deal with this kind of loss. However this circumstance is different from what you're expecting though I will throw a *something* into the mix later.

To give you some background to why I am posting this thread here's a pretty long run down and there sure as hell can't be a TL;DR because of the information involved.

I met my partner in 2008 and soon found that her family was a little, um, lower class. Her sister had just given birth at 19, her brothers were stoners and her mum was a significant burden on everyone. The father of the niece was a stoner as well.

The sister and the stoner situation got worse. They were in a disgusting flat, then moved into a disgusting house even though my girlfriend and I did many significant things to help the situation such as fitting carpets, decorating and renovating. Social services got involved, unsurprisingly and after my girlfriends sister had had another girl it didn't take long for them to accelerate things. At the end of 2011 the girls were taken into care for quite good reasons. The reasons etc are not relevant to this though as are the points argued in court.

At first we just supported my girlfriends sister with reading some assessments and then moving to full participation to the court proceedings to try and have custody of the girls even after having two children of our own. I had to self-represent as we were over the threshold for legal aid and this limited things greatly so unfortunately the case was lost. It was sent to appeal though and even with glittering praise from the judge on my ability the appeal was lost on the children's mother's solicitor severely screwing up.

So the kids are gone. They're alive but they're gone. We (the entire family that is) will not see them until they are 18 and that's if the children decide to try and find us.

The kids are gone, once again, alive but to us they may as well have died. So how do people deal with the loss of children? Besides absolute meltdown of course. Though this is more of a unique case I would be seriously interested on multiple viewpoints on how to tackle this because my next thought is supporting my girlfriend who is very very attached to her nieces and her sister.

If you want more insight on any aspect then just ask. Do take mind of the fact I was drinking and typing in the dark...

Dorvil Barranis
February 14 2013, 10:55:49 PM
Not sure if this is any help, but at least they are alive, and the state will try to place them with a better home.

Are you seeking advice for yourself, your partner, or the sister? Seems like they would all handle things differently.

By the way, plenty of highly functional pot heads in the world, so being a "stoner" doesn't exactly equate negligent parent (although it might in the eyes of the state).

I have a sister/niece, who was the daughter of my step-sister adopted by my parents due to her neglect, so at least having family that can't take care of shit is something I am familiar with.

DanFraser
February 14 2013, 11:02:51 PM
Not sure if this is any help, but at least they are alive, and the state will try to place them with a better home.

That part makes it really complicated.


Are you seeking advice for yourself, your partner, or the sister? Seems like they would all handle things differently.

Could be for all of us I suppose.


By the way, plenty of highly functional pot heads in the world, so being a "stoner" doesn't exactly equate negligent parent (although it might in the eyes of the state).

I have a sister/niece, who was the daughter of my step-sister adopted by my parents due to her neglect, so at least having family that can't take care of shit is something I am familiar with.

I don't know how to convert this into real world Colorado terms (being in the UK), but imagine Kenny McCormick's home and family as real. Can't believe I just used that as a similarity.

Thanks for the start. I'm probably not going to post for a day or so because of *feelings*.

Jason Marshall
February 15 2013, 12:03:37 AM
Dwelling on what could have been, if not allowed to consume you, can be very helpful in determining how you are going to do things in the future.

After you are done thinking about the road not taken it is time to just boil it down to where you are today and what you are left with.

They are alive and hopefully in a good place getting all the care they need. Even if they were to come to you when they turned 18 it would essentially be like meeting a stranger, they weren't old enough to have fully developed into themselves and aren't going to develop under your influence.


You did all you could. Be happy about that.

Rakshasa The Cat
February 15 2013, 06:38:02 AM
The kids are gone, once again, alive but to us they may as well have died. ...

No, they may not as well have died.

They are alive, and to view it in any other way is simply egocentric. I've spent most of my childhood in a different country from my father, and even though we haven't been in communication I've always been aware he was alive and out there.

indi
February 15 2013, 11:44:51 AM
You know, I don't know that this is significantly different from dealing with any other type of (huge) loss. There is a lot of grief and there is no resolve forthcoming in the sense that the kids are coming back. So you have grief, lots of it and you deal with the grief in your own way.

Grief has its (documented) stages, anger, depression, etc. How long the stages last, what the preferred way of dealing with it is is dependent on the situation and the person/personality. There is no magic "do this and you will deal" approach, I'm afraid.

I would suggest that you and your partner, at the very least, seek some counseling if you can afford it. This should facilitate the process. It will not lessen your grief, but it may be helpful with the dealing with the grief aspect. What you should, at the very least, not do is pretend it never happened or that the girls were never in your life. That won't do anybody any type of good in the long run, including your kids. It's best to be very honest with them, if you ask me. Children understand more than you think, even though they often have their own unique interpretation/point of view.

Synapse
February 15 2013, 05:54:46 PM
This topic is completely beyond my abilities. I can only help in minor ways.

Keorythe
February 18 2013, 05:43:04 PM
Lost a nephew a long ago to a car crash. He had just turned 16 and got his license. Family was devastated over the incident. The first year was hell on them. The parents looks to family and their surviving children for support. Being on the support side was a shitty affair and we had to put up with some serious bullshit/outbursts/etc. But we weren't going to let family down over words. It took several years but they eventually came to terms with it. Support is the key factor when "coming to terms".

Also remember that support when the emotions start to overcome you. My aunt and uncle burnt some bridges that still haven't been mended.

http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx

Side note: Dan, I'm a former Child Protective Services investigator. I'm shocked that custody wasn't handed over to you or at least another relative. If you have a relative with a clean record and not-poverty-level income, then the option for them to take guardianship should still be there. If nothing else, visitation rights is another option to look at.

Nicholai Pestot
February 18 2013, 05:53:43 PM
The kids are gone, once again, alive but to us they may as well have died.

Unfortunately taking this metaphor to its logical conclusion, if the children are now effectively dead the parents effectively killed them.

Have they realised this yet? Your optimal course of action is going to vary based on that.

DrumWithMe2012
February 20 2013, 12:55:13 AM
Dan, I can only offer my condolences sir. I've never lost anyone close to me, other than my grandmother who died in the spring from Alzheimer's. I wasn't very close to her and I did feel a loss but not nearly as much as you. My comforting thought that I share with my mother who still grieves occasionally is that she is in a better place. There's not much more to ask for. The pain you're experiencing could be the same pain you feel with any loss.
My fiancÚ ended the relationship after 5 years, set dates, etc and never spoke to me again. The loss I felt (though different from yours) is still enough to cause grief and pain. Take solace in knowing that there's a better future out there for them now. You want the best for them and there is always more than one to obtain that.
As Indi said, seek counseling if you can. The both of you may really need it. Best of luck to you both.