Concerned aunt striving to change young niece's life for the better
My brother and his wife have struggled with alcohol for a long time. They live several hours away from me. They have one daughter who is 4 years old. Over the past two years I have taken in my niece again and again because my brother was not capable of caring for her. Child protective services removed her again this week. I am a single mother with two of my own children to care for, yet I always take the time to drive to get my niece whenever I can. This time I hope child services and the court let my niece stay with me permanently. I would love to have custody of my niece. My niece has developmental delays that I know I could help her with.
I am asking The Time Is Now to help me with my rent and utilities this month. I am frugal with what little funds I have but the extra expense of driving to get my niece, food, clothing (she came to me with literally the rags on her back and a pair of flip flops) and a medical bill because she was very sick when I picked her up, has strained my budget. My budget will be fine once I receive the state aid provided for the care of my niece.
How can I say no when I feel I am her only hope of ever having a normal life? Please help us through this emotionally and financially difficult time.
— Aunt who wants to help
The need to protect our children is great. I am glad we can be there to step in and offer a helping hand. Children are a gift from God and we have to do our part to compassionately protect them.
From what I observed of the aunt, she was certainly capable of providing a stable, loving environment for the niece. Her own two children were happy, clean and well mannered.
The aunt said she was horrified by what she had seen of the household her niece was living in.
The aunt said, “I cried when I saw how my niece was forced to live.”
I asked about her brother and sister-in-law. She said she had fought with them both over their alcohol addiction for years. She had offered many times to take her niece when she knew they were in no shape to care for a child. They had declined many times. They then moved up north to get away from her watching over them. There was nothing she could do to prevent it.
It was a constant expense for the aunt to drive back and forth as often as possible to take in her niece with her own job and two children to worry about. The cost of gas and caring for her own two children kept her from being able to make the trip more often. The aunt said she would move to be closer to the niece, but knew they would only move away again, and she did not want to lose her job or move her children.
The Time Is Now to Help stepped in to help the aunt with her immediate budget shortcomings. The rent and utilities were brought up-to-date. We provided some assistance with the basic necessities — a new bed, clothing, an eye exam and, of course, some toys.
As of our last visit there was no permanent resolution for the custody of the niece. The aunt continued to have temporary custody.
Both the aunt and I were moved to tears when the niece said, “Thank you. Bye,” when I left. I had never heard her speak before.
The aunt said, “See, that is why I need to keep her here with me. She will lose all we have gained. She is laughing, playing and even talking now.”
Our prayers are needed so this child, and others, are loved, protected and nurtured.
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Health and happiness,
God bless everyone,
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Editor's note: The Time is Now to Help was founded by a local businessman who knew extreme poverty as a child. With the help of donations from the community, The Time is Now is able to help local residents in need.