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Ask Sheri – Medicated Dad

“Dear Sheri, can you advise me on how to handle this:  My sister passed away last year, she left behind a 9 yr old daughter. My brother-in-law (not her natural father) adopted her after my sister’s passing.  He is disabled and on real strong prescription meds. He is not taking good care of my niece – and I have no legal rights to do anything but visit her. She doesn’t shower/ brush her hair and teeth etc.  He has riff raff type people coming around and or living with them off and on … I could go on and on.  I feel like I am not respecting my sister’s memory if I don’t do something — but I also understand that we all choose the path that we are on.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, Karen”

Dear Karen,

Your situation speaks to me in a way I’m not able to explain, but your question is one I have to answer.  This answer won’t be so much intuitive but more an answer from someone who knows things about this type of situation. You do need to be very careful how you handle this.  Our child welfare system is one of many broken things in our society.  There isn’t enough financial support for the necessary agencies to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.  Though they may employ wonderful people, their reach is limited by resources and many other things.  Sometimes taking a child from a situation and placing them in foster care can mean an even worse situation than the one they had, but that doesn’t mean anyone should stand idly by while a child is neglected or abused.  We, as adults charged with the care of the young and innocent, must take responsibility.

Again, I will reiterate that you need to be careful here, and I can’t legally give you “legal” advice.  Actually, I would urge you to see a lawyer to find out what rights you do have and what might happen if you were to interfere.  This would help you understand to what extent you should interfere for the best interest of your niece.  Do not worry about disgracing your sister’s memory so much, but worry more about what is best for her daughter.  Your sister isn’t upset with you, but I do sense her concern for her daughter and husband.  Neither of them are dealing with her passing in a healthy way; her husband is extremely depressed, which is part of the reason for him neglecting his daughter.  He does love her in his own way.  To him, she is his daughter, but he needs advice on how to raise her.  He’s at a loss for what to do now.

Taking your niece away from this man would have consequences for all of you.  She has already lost a mother, and it would be hard on her to also lose her father.  I know it might not seem this is true as he is not her real father, but she does need him in her life – at least right now.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be active in her life, though.  I can promise you that a loving aunt can make all the difference in the life of a little girl, but taking her away from her comfort zone could be a bad idea. Instead, be a part of her life as much as possible.  Take her shopping, help her understand the importance of taking care of herself.  That beautiful hair, which reminds you both of her mother, needs to be taken care of.  Those beautiful eyes shine so much brighter when she’s taking care of herself.  Tell her these things.  Get her special shampoo that she will want to use, that will make her feel pretty and good about herself.  Spend time with her.  More than anything, talk to her – and listen.  Someone who listens will mean the world to her.  But remember, she is also angry, and sometimes that anger will be directed at her father.  You will have to learn to see the difference between a real concern and exaggeration.

It can be difficult to be the observer, and you should be more than that, but be careful the steps you take.  An adult should never stand by and knowingly allow a child to be abused in any way, but looking at the situation as a whole can give you insight into the best solution for that child.  She is a bright girl, and she’s strong.  These experiences will shape the woman she later becomes.  Even when a child finds such hardship in her young life, she can turn out okay.  The worst possible course here would be taking no action at all.  Your niece needs you in her life, just as she needs her father.  You may not like it, and that is understandable, but you can be the one that makes the difference in her life.  You could leave a mark on her life that gives her strength to become who she needs to be.  Her situation will be different, yes, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all bad.

I’ve hinted before at my life and the things that have brought me to where I am at today.  While part of me wishes I hadn’t had such experiences, I understand now they are what made me who I am.  For me, it was my aunt who made all the difference.  I’m sharing this with you now so that you can understand what drew you to ask this question of me.  You were meant to ask, and I was meant to answer – not because of my gifts but because of who I am and what my life has been.  Your niece will be okay.  For now, she needs everyone to stay in her life.  Things may change down the road.  The most important thing you can do for this child right now is to love and support her and to make sure that she knows she is loved and supported.  Your reach is legally limited, and that will definitely help guide your hand.  I do not see her being removed from her home, but then again that is probably what is best for her.  Just be there.  You can make a difference.

For guidance and help on this matter, work with Archangels Gabrielle and Metatron.  Michael will give you strength.  May Heaven give you strength and the knowledge the follow the best path for this child.

Angel Blessings,

Sheri

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Rev. Sheri is an advocate for spiritual growth and education who is dedicated to helping others communicate with Heaven – without the need for an intermediary.

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