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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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Join The Conversation
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I'm so very sorry for your tragic loss. I think you're a kind, generous, wonderful person for wanting to take your fiance's brother in. However, you have to do it because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. If you knew 100% that he was going to get adopted by a loving, stable, terrific family, would you still want to adopt him?
Marci Marci 9 years
I think you are the angel sent to be the family for that poor boy. He's lost his parents and his only sibling in a two year timeframe, and he's only 14. You've lost your fiance and have your own grieving to do. But I think it would be swonderful thing for both of you for you to continue to care for him, and I'd be very surprised if you ever regetted this decision. We need more people on the earth with your heart.
angelbaby2 angelbaby2 9 years
i think that you probably have given this much thought. i think that it is wonderful for you to consider this and I feel that only you can make that choice. I think that you should do it.
SeptemberLights SeptemberLights 9 years
God Bless You! You sound like you have an amazing and open heart. I will pray for you both and that your are guided to the best decision for both of you. Most likely your friends are just worried you wont be able to handle it. But you do sound very responsible and after having lived with him you already know what hes like. I think its wonderful that you want to welcome him to your home for the next few years. that is much better than living with strangers where you have no idea what hes dealing with. No matter what you end up deciding you have the support of all of us here!
honey31 honey31 9 years
I am so sorry for your loss!You are a wonderful women to take on that kind of responsibility but you need to think about it.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 9 years
I feel so sorry for the loss you have experienced. From the tiny amount you have told us about your fiance he was an amazing selfless person, (not everyone would take on the responsability of their kid brother). I'm sure the 3 of you built many wonderful memories together that you will always treasure and share with his little brother. Your friends are only discouraging you because they know THEY couldn't handle your situation. They are well meaning, but you know as well as I do that it's not their opinion that matters--it's yours. If you can handle the financial and emotional responsabilities of adopting the boy then I say go for it. You have gone through a lot and it sounds like you are incredibly stable and mature for your age. Since he is 14 now, it makes sense that within the next 4 or 5 years he could be off to college and living on his own anyway, so if you can offer him a loving and stable home in the meantime I think that would be an incredible thing for you to do. And no matter what your final decision is, I think you sounds like an incredible caring person.
rubialala rubialala 9 years
I don't necessarily think this is a bad idea but I do think it is too soon to decide. And I do like the idea of continuing to be part of his life in another way. Good luck.
aistea311 aistea311 9 years
If you have been in your shoes, dont push him away. Like you said, he has nowhere to go and you geniunely care for him. Your friends are probably just saying it because you are too young, or they dont know what it feels like to have lived in foster care. Go with your heart. Your judgment is better than any friends when it comes to the life of a child.
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 9 years
Wow--- I am SO sorry for your loss. God bless you. You are offering to do a great thing but are you sure. Take time and think about it. If it is in your heart then do it, but remember there are no give backs. Will you be able to support him both emotionally and financailly. I would never tell you not to do this because i think its such a kind thing and no one else knows whats in your heart. But I would say wait a little bit of time and see how you feel. Even if you don't adopt him you can always be a positive influence on him. TINA!
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