To Surrender or Not...My 2 yr old

Before I get hit with tons of judgment and blame, please allow me to give some background. I am a 46 yr old single parent (son is 21, daughter deceased in 2005 when she was 10) and I was asked to take my great nephew in when he was just 3 days old. My niece and he both tested positive for cocaine so CPS stepped in and wouldn't allow them to leave the hospital together. My niece's dad asked that I be considered to take the baby and he would be my right hand through it all. My niece's mom was deceased from a life of drugs herself (my half sister) so I agreed to take the baby. It was supposed to be short term while mom and dad get themselves together, get thru drug rehab, establish a residence and so forth. After 3 months CPS was ready to drop the case and mom and dad had already been arrested instead of getting their lives together. My niece's dad totally forgot that he said we were in this together so the sole responsibility of everything fell on me. So prior to CPS dropping the case they got court orders declaring me legal custody and visitation to be decided by me. Big problem. My niece has been a nightmare! She wanted me to bring the baby to her in drug infested areas and every other time she called she was shouting expletives left and right. At one time when my nephew was almost 1, my niece's dad got mad because I had by this time decided I wanted to go through a 3rd party visitation program/facility to cut down on the tension between my niece and myself. He and my niece went and took out false charges on me (I didn't know it was that easy) and it cost me over $1000 to fight the situation and get myself a gatekeeper order to prevent the false charges from her in the future. Prior to this she threatened to hurt, shoot, stab anyone that cared for the baby and more specifically everyone in my household. I've basically lived in anxiety since I got the baby. I've had to have restraining orders, press charges myself and nothing ever sticks or she simply doesn't go to court. It has taken a toll and while I have been able to care for him on my own, I can't keep up this pace longterm. I called DSS for help expressing my frustration and they initiated a CPS case on ME! Well, I got past that a couple months ago and now the financial is weighing on me. Mind you, back when the CPS case was active, they discouraged me from surrendering him due to the poor parenting of foster parents and the dangers he'd be facing. I've paid for countless consultations from family law attorneys and everything is gonna cost a bundle. I could spend thousands just to initiate TPR and adopt him just to have the right to put him up for adoption myself. (Seems crazy) If I surrender him to DSS the concern is that he'll end up somewhere worse or back with the family of his birth mom. The dad is absent and his family seems interested only when I bug them to be. I don't know what to do. I love him but a part of me feels I should surrender him now (he's 2) before he has time to really suffer from attachment issues (any more than he will). Help!!


Well-Known Member
Something is off here. You should be getting kinship care money and supports. Others may know more than me but I can tell you that I wouldn't be willing to face threats of stabbing me by drug addicts.

There are good foster homes. Its nuts to say they are worse than Dad and Mom. Do you have a lawyer? That is my first recommendation. You need one who specializes in family law. These people are playing with you and I am sorry.

Call s lawyer now!!!


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My experience tells me you should be receiving money as a foster care/foster adopt parent. In my state I think that would be nine hundred dollars or more. It sounds like your niece has lost parental rights, or is on that road. The child under law should have its own attorney. Because it is in the "system." You have not adopted him, and he has been taken from his mother's care. The child's attorney should be advocating for the child. It should not be your sole responsibility.

I adopted a child who was in the same circumstances as this baby. It cost me not one penny to do so. And I received a stipend every month, until he was legally an adult.

Your niece is in no position to make demands on you. First and foremost, I would cut contact with her. Then you need to decide what you want to do with respect to the baby. Do you want to raise him? If not, I think you are right to deal with this sooner rather than later. A loving, adoptive family can be found.



Well-Known Member
Right now I am caring for my grandson (100%, full-time). Daughter sounds similar, although alcohol is her doctor. Caring for him is a lot of work, as babies are - but the biggest frustration is actually that I have to deal with my daughter (and alleged father). They are both not in the greatest place and have always had drama, and now I'm in the middle of it.

I agree you should be getting some sort of assistance to help taking care of him. And if adoption is what weighs on your heart, maybe look into that if you do not want 100% custody.

I don't have answers, as my boat looks kind of similar. Just want you to know you're not alone.


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When we first got custody of the granddaughters, we got a small amount each month, they had free medical cards, plus I had free child care as I was working art time. This was15 years ago.

The children had a guardian ad litem (who was basically useless, but he didn't fight us wanting custody/adoption), and a CASA worker that visited each month (who thought the girls should go to a friend of hers who wanted to adopt!) I got the kids in to therapy as soon as I could. My youngest DGD was 4 at the time.

If you think age two is difficult, think ahead to age 15, 16 and even young adult hood. Even tbough you are the only mom figure he has known, he has already had emotional trauma. As they got older, my DGDs internalized a lot of their worries, later they were diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression, ODD, substance abuse, self harming, mood disorder, then bipolar. Luckily, each didn't have all those, but an assortment.

It's been very difficult. My husband is mid 70's and I'm in my mid 60's. This is not what we planned for our retirement. They are 19 and 21 and have difficulty keeping a job, not interested in furthering education, and poor relationship choices.

No one will blame you if you decide this isn't the best path fir you and your grandchild. Well, maybe just the people who aren't willing to step up and help!!!

Thanks so much for all your support in this thread. You guys have no idea what this insight means to me. I've never been offered any monetary support and in NC they cut out monies for kinship transfer of custody. He gets Medicaid, that's it. I'm trying to get daycare assistance but I've been instructed that if I go through with it, DSS will pursue child support on the bio parents which will have them retaliating with me. I want to believe that there are some good foster care families out there. I think there would be some funds if I went through with the adoption, I'm just not sure where I'm at right now with what direction I'm going in. I'm glad to hear that I need to imagine the difficulties that come with a 15 year old, if I'm fretting over 2 right now! I just have to rip the band-aid off. CPS has threatened that I'll have a negative hit on my name from having him removed from my home and it could affect if I ever wanted to work with children or if I ever needed to take custody of another child...but I'm trying to not pay that any attention because I never want to go this route again. I love this baby to pieces. He's my heart. I simply want what's best for us both. You've all given me so much to think about. The family law attorneys I've seen after 3 consultations only promise that for a few thousand dollars they can pursue adoption, all at my expense. He's technically not a ward of the state because the court placed him in my custody to make decisions. That basically put all the burden on me to care for him with no help and to deal with the bio parents on my own and let DSS off the less case in their load. I feel better though. Thank goodness for this forum.


Well-Known Member
Why worry about DSS coming after the parents for child support! They should be paying child support! If not, the nieces dad need to step up. Would he go to an attorney and look at options?

I don't know your finances, but sometimes adding an extra person to a household might get you benefits, such as food stamps.



Well-Known Member
It's amazing how difficult it can be to to jump through all of these hoops in hopes to stabilize a child's life. It's sad, really.

I also appreciate the insight of caring for older children who have been in this situation. Right now my grandson is 8 months. I can't imagine how confusing things will be for him if everything is the same in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years. But I honestly do not know if it will change.


Well-Known Member
Remember, you based your decision to care for this child under the premise that the parents were getting their act together, then getting their child back. It doesn't seem like they are making any efforts. Usually, after this much time the case plan changes to adoption.

You shouldn't best yourself up that you are rethinking this now. This was not how it was planned to go!

I wanted permanent legal guardianship...but the court said no, it wasn't permanent enough. Then the court made the adoption a private adoption and the girls lost all their benefits, no chance of future adoption subsidy, no Medicaid, and we had to pay for the adoption.

What a fiasco. Ksm


Well-Known Member
OK I have no idea how things work in your state but through my past job I did have an idea how things work with DSS in my state. First let me say no judgement from me, you really stepped up to the plate to care for this baby and are now facing financial issues and issues of the parents threatening you. That is not really acceptable and yes the court let DSS off the hook. You should be getting support from DSS, if not financially with daycare and in dealing with the parents. Really it is their responsibility to make sure this child is properly cared for.

So my thought is call DSS and ask to meet with them. Tell them the situation financially and with the parents have become unworkable for you. If you are to stay involved with this child you need DSS to take custody of the child. You would be willing to continue as a foster parent but you really cant continue as you are. They may threaten you with what happens if you surrender custody.... because if you have custody they are off the hook. And it is possible that if you surrender him they will take him and find other foster parents so that is a risk. BUT the reality is they need to find foster parents and that is not always easy so they could decide to let you keep fostering him. I dont know if this is what would happen but it really doesnt sound like you can continue as you are.... and ultimately you have to take care of yourself.

And how dare your nieces dad not step up. I have plenty of judgement of him!!

Yes, DSS has threatened the whole "if you surrender it will count against you forever as a removal of child from your home". So, I was like "HELP ME, THEN!!" Nope...nothing. When I first got him I asked if I could go through foster training so that I could still care for him but get assistance...they said No. They say what's keeping him from getting more help is the fact that he isn't actually in DSS custody, the courts gave him to me. I hate this system. My niece's dad can't keep the baby because he has prior child abuse charges on his record. I really do thank you all for your input. It's great to hear the different perspectives. Oh...the reason for the concern behind child support going after my niece is that she would think I'm personally pursuing it against her vs DSS and she'd begin again with the threats, stalking, etc.


Active Member
I have no real advice to offer, I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone and there is no judgement here.

I live in Canada, if you do a kinship program through children’s aid, there’s absolutely no funding at all (although our healthcare is covered through taxes). But if you do foster care, there’s tons. It’s a messed up system.

In the end, you need to do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy and safe. Which is always easier said than done. Until you do decide, and even after, we are here to support you.