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Section: children, relationships

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I have been married for 12 years and are unable to have children. A year ago, my niece, "Nicole," became pregnant by her boyfriend, who then left her. She was 18. He was 20. When her boyfriend walked out, my husband and I offered to adopt the baby. Nicole said she wanted to put the experience behind her and agreed to the adoption. The papers were signed. We live in another city, so we invited Nicole to move in with us until the baby was born. I accompanied her to the obstetrician during her pregnancy, and my husband and I were with her when she gave birth to her son. Two days ago, Nicole's mother (my sister) called to say Nicole wants the baby back. It seems she and the ex-boyfriend have settled their differences and are going to be married. My sister matter-of-factly described the previous breakup as a "misunderstanding" and said the kids want to raise their son. Ann, there are no words to describe how we feel. We want to retain custody of our son, but we don't want to put him through a long and protracted custody battle. Do you have any advice? We are -- Living a Nightmare in New York State

Dear N.Y.,
Check with a lawyer, and learn what your chances are of winning custody. If it is likely that you will lose the child, give him up willingly and avoid an ugly court fight that could drag on for years and create wounds that may never heal. I wish you luck.

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Reader Comment
I can only imagine how heartbroken this poor woman is over the loss of her adopted son. These 'kids' apparently can't make up their minds on what they want to do. I agree, she should give up the baby as it will only cause him harm. I also would cut ties with them immediately after she must give up the baby. It would be better for all concerned to go through a legal adoption with a lawyer and hopefully she will also get help to overcome this horrible experience. I wonder how long it will be before these two new parents will again want to live their lives without trying to bring up this baby. They seem very flaky and insecure. Not a good way to bring up a child.

Deming NM's Comment
The 20-year-old guy probably did the first thing he felt like doing (run!) and then reconsidered later. I hope that's all it was, but you never know if a relationship will work out. I hope the kid will be OK. No matter what, someone's gonna hurt.

Reader Comment
I agree with the reader comment to give up the baby and cut all ties with the birth parents. They are idiots and insecure and that poor baby will be the brunt of their idiotic actions to demand the baby back again. They have hurt the adoptive parents terribly and should be cut out of their lives forever. It may come back up again that they want to release the baby but the former adoptive parents must stay firm on keeping away from them. Let her mother take over where they can't handle attempting to raise this child since she's the one who considers it just a "misunderstanding". She's the one who is misunderstanding the entire situation. Cut her off as well!

Reader Comment
Ann, your advice to check with a lawyer is useless. I totally agree with the reader comments here to release the baby to avoid confusion to him later in life. Of course, these flakes seem unstable and hopefully the girl's mother will step in and end up and help raise the baby once these air-heads again realize they made a mistake. The former adoptive parents should completely distance themselves from these idiots (all of them) and never get involved with them again. I wish them luck legally adopting a baby from outside the 'family'.

Reader Comment
I'm so glad the real mother will raise her child... the letter writer isn't entitled to anything, no matter what papers they signed...

Maryann's Comment
It is NEVER a good idea to adopt a baby from a relative. I hope people reading this letter will be saved from this heartache. Adoptions need to be kept private until the adopted child is an adult and wishes to contact his or her birth parents.

Reader Comment
There's absolutely no guarantee that the "real" mother will raise this child, as one reader seems to think. The "real" mother gave the baby up once, she may do so again.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies."
-Ann Landers