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Open Door Policy

Dear Sugar
I need some advice. My fiancé passed away a few months ago. We were living together with his 14 year old brother because their parents passed away two years ago leaving my fiancé as his legal guardian. We were very close, like family, and I love his brother like my own.

While I am slowly trying to get myself back together, his brother doesn't have anywhere to go. He is living in a temporary home right now similar to a foster home. He will stay there until they can find someone to adopt him, but I want to be his legal guardian. I'm only 24 and my friends don't think it is a good idea.

I was adopted myself and had a tough childhood moving from foster home to foster home and after all he has been through, I don't want that to happen to him. I graduated from college and have started my career and honestly feel I can take on the responsibility.

I'm not doing this because I feel I owe it to my late fiancé, I am not doing this because I'm lonely, I want to because I feel he would be better off with someone he knows, loves and who genuinely cares about his well being. Why are my friends telling me that this is a bad idea? Open Arms Aimee

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Open Arms Aimee
I am so sorry for your loss; my heart goes out to you and your fiancé’s family. Wanting to adopt your fiancé’s brother is a tremendously kind gesture, but there are several factors that need to be taken into serious consideration. While I understand you had a rocky upbringing, there are many foster homes and welcoming families out there that could provide a loving and safe home for this boy so I hope you don't feel obligated to take him in.

Since you have just experienced a life changing tragedy, I think the best thing to do is put yourself first and tend to your heart. I am sure the thought of living with this boy brings you a sense of security and keeps you close to your fiancé’s memory, but parenting a 14 year old is a full time job, not to mention incredibly costly.

Are there any family members that could adopt him or open their homes to him? Does he have a cousin, or a best friend he could stay with until things calm down? Was there anything written in his parents wills if anything were to happen to their other son? He is very lucky to have such a selfless person in his life.

I think it would be wonderful for both of you to carry on a close relationship, but adopting him shouldn't be a hasty decision. With time, you will be more clear about what is best for both of you and if then you still feel like adopting him and taking him as your own is the right move, by all means follow your heart. Good luck.

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