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Family Relations/Don't want to assume custody of niece


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?

Hi, Janice, thanks for your question. Unfortunately, I do not have any answers for you. This is a personal choice. I would advice writing down all your considerations - the pluses and minuses of all your potential choices. Get it out of your head and onto paper, where you can look at it.

IMO, there's no easy answer. All possible choices in this situation have significant and long lasting consequences, no matter what you do. It may be something you have to live with for the rest of your life, so go into it with that realization.

Also, don't limit yourself to just 2 choices. There may be others, such as giving her up for adoption, or sharing her with other family members. Even if the choices are not something you would even consider, it may open up your thinking.

Talk to a counselor. Counselors are good at asking questions - the kind of questions that get us to think about things we haven't thought about before.

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.


questions framed similarly to 'what are some ways to respond when someone does/says X' are best. Questions posed in the form of 'why does my father do/say Y', or 'how would you diagnose my mother when she does/says Z' are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. I will probably reframe your question to fit the first question (what do I do). Nay question regarding any family member is fair game. Some of the most difficult are in the area of step-parenting and divorcing families.


I've been a licensed psychologist in Florida since 1994. I've evaluated and/or treated thousands of patients.

American Psychological Association Florida Psychological association National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology


Psy.D., Miami Institute of Psychology, 1993 M.CS., U. of Dayton, 1984 B.A., Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978

Awards and Honors
Award for Years of Dedicated Service, Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society, 1999

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