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Women`s Issues/Don't want children (custody problem)


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?

Dear Janice:

I sympathize with your predicament but I am not trained to provide family therapy.  I  am a lawyer and an expert in women's rights and women's history. I am not certain where you should turn for help.  Perhaps a family therapist or psychologist. Perhaps you and your parents need to sit down with an expert in family relations and try to work this out. It would appear that if you can't work it out, your daughter/niece may have to go to non-family members, such as foster parents or an agency of the state.  Would you want that?

I wish you luck in securing the help you need.



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Sonia Pressman Fuentes


I am an author, public speaker, feminist leader and lawyer. I was the first woman attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) and a founder of WEAL (Women`s Equity Action League) and FEW (Federally Employed Women). I am an expert in the field of women`s rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex.


I spent eight years as an attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and worked for one year as a volunteer attorney with the Montgomery County, MD, Human Relations Commission. I have lectured all over the world and the U.S. on women's rights to be free of employment discrimination based on sex and had articles on the subject published in newspapers, magazines, and journals and on the Internet. I also spent 11 years with multinational corporations in the field of EEO and labor law.

I belong to NOW and the Veteran Feminists of America nationally and the Brandeis University National Women's Committee in Sarasota, FL. I am a member of the board of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State in Sarasota, FL.

See my Web site at for articles written by me, information on my memoir, "Eat First--You Don't Know What They'll Give You, The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter," and interviews of me.

I have an LLB from the University of Miami School of Law in Florida.

Awards and Honors
I received a superior performance award at the EEOC and was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame, among other awards and honors.

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