A Reddit user asked the community if they were in the wrong for not wanting to give their niece back to their sister after taking care of her for years.
She Raised Her Niece
The Original Poster (OP) has been caring for her niece (now 7F) for the past five years. The child was abandoned at OP’s doorstep by her sister (32F) who was experiencing mental health issues and unable to provide a stable environment for her daughter.
OP took her niece in without hesitation and has since provided her with a loving and secure home.
After OP’s sister left her daughter with her, she did not provide any contact information, making it impossible to reach her. Despite searching for her, they were unable to find any leads. Left with no other option, OP took full custody of her niece and has been her primary caregiver ever since.
She Has Full Custody of Her
Over the past five years, OP has witnessed her niece’s growth into an incredible young girl. She has given her niece a stable and secure environment and has been present for all of her milestones.
OP has taken her niece to school, assisted her with homework, taken her to doctors’ appointments, and celebrated her birthdays with her.
Recently, OP has been contacted by her sister, who has shared that she has improved her mental health and wishes to regain custody of her daughter.
Her Sister Wants Her Daughter Back
While OP is pleased to hear about her sister’s progress, she is not yet prepared to give up custody of her niece. The child has become an integral part of OP’s life, and she loves her deeply, akin to her own child.
OP’s sister has been issuing threats of legal action if OP does not relinquish custody of her daughter. Despite her sister’s threats, OP remains unafraid. She has a close friend who is a custody case expert and is prepared to fight for her niece’s best interests.
While OP acknowledges that her sister is the biological mother of her niece, she believes that she is the only mother figure that the child has known over the past five years.
She’s the Only Mother She’s Known
OP is torn between her affection for her niece and her loyalty to her sister. She wonders if she is in the wrong for refusing to return her sister’s child.
Many Redditors believe that OP is not the jerk for refusing to give her sister’s daughter back to her. They argue that OP has effectively become the child’s parent over the past five years, providing her with a stable and loving home.
What Redditors Said
Some users suggested that OP should consult a lawyer to determine the legal options available to her to protect her niece’s best interests. Others recommended that she document all contact with her sister and prepare for potential legal action. While OP’s sister may be the biological mother, they argue that the child’s well-being should take precedence over her mother’s desires.
One user wrote, “You are the only mother she has ever known. Fight this with every ounce of strength and every penny you have. Well done and good luck!”
Another user wrote “Has your sister done anything to prove she’s better? Honestly even if she has, you stepped up and took care of her child, you have effectively become her mother because it’s not like she has many memories of her birth mother. Do what is best for your niece, and what’s best never involves being moved out of a loving home into an unknown environment.”
What do you think? What would you do if were OP?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.