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Adoption Issues/Don't want custody of my niece (my bio daughter)

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Question
When I was 20 years old I got pregnant. At the time I didn't want a baby and was going to have an abortion. My sister who was 27 years old had been having fertility issues. She was looking at the option of adoption. So I agreed to have the baby and she could have it.

The adoption was finalized. Everything has been going well over the next twelve years. I got to be an aunt, and still have a relationship with her without having to give up my life goals and dreams.

A couple weeks ago my sister and her husband were in a car accident, unfortunetly he died on impact and my sister has been in a coma. (I really miss her) My neice is currently staying with my parents. The problem is my parents want me to take on the parenting role of her because they say I am her birth mother.

I told them I didn't want to take her in because I really don't want to have children. I have a full time career and I had plans in July to go on a three month trip through out Europe. They called me selfish, and that this was my daughter. Out of anger I said that I wish I just had an abortion when I had the chance. I didn't mean it and I feel bad. I love my niece and call me selfish I don't want to be a parent. Now my parents won't talk to me, and they don't know how much longer they can take care of her because they are in there 70's and Im the only family they have left.

What should I do? I want whats best for my neice but being with me isn't whats best. Any advice?

Answer
Dear Ja-
I am sorry to hear about your sister's injuries and the loss of her husband.  Rather than tell you what you should do about your niece, I would recommend that you find an experienced social worker or psychologist in your area with whom you can speak regarding the situation.  That same person might also meet with both you and your parents in order to determine the best plan for providing a good home for your niece as she continues to grow up and become an adult.
It strikes me that there are probably a number of issues that you and your parents should address regarding your 12 year old daughter.  For example, has she ever been told that you are her birthmother?  If she has not been told, it way be that she will learn this fact in the future, if you and your parents don't tell her yourselves.  Since your niece's father has passed away and her mother is seriously injured, you also should address the question of the help and support this young lady needs to deal with her losses.  
While I would not recommend that your niece go with you to the counselor that you choose, it does make sense that you and your parents speak with your niece about where she would like to grow up if her mother can no longer care for her.  Perhaps she could attend future meetings if more than one is held.  At 12 years of age, she definitely should have some input into this.
If your niece would like to live with you or your parents and you do not feel that you are able to take the full time responsibility for her, perhaps you and your parents can share the responsibility for taking care of this child or there are other family members or close friends who would like her to adopt her or assume guardianship.  In any event, this is not a simple matter and I can only lay out some of your options.  I would strongly urge you to meet with a counselor in the very near future so that your niece is provided with a good home.

Adoption Issues

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Peter C. Winkler, CSW

Expertise

I have experience with adoption subsidy, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and variety of other adoption related matters. I hope that I can be helpful to those who are considering adoption or would like to adopt a child.

Experience

I am a social worker with an MSW and I have over thirty years of experience in family and children's services. I have worked as Director of adoption services and of the Interstate Compact in a large state agency. I have also provided direct services to children and families in a preventive services program. I currently prepare adoption studies for those who are adopting domestically or internationally.

Education/Credentials
Masters in SW

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