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Adoption of Husband's nephew after mother passes

Hi Everyone

I am new to the Adoptive Families Circle and also new to adoption. I have 4 biological children of my own.

My sister in law had a drug addiction problem and stayed with us from time to time over the years. She had 4 children with three different men. After contracting Hepatitis she got septicemia and various organs started failing. After months in hospital she passed away.

Before she passed away I had reported her to the welfare ( I live in South Africa and our system is not of the best) because she constantly dragged her kids around the streets in the early morning hours, her youngest being newborn at that stage and her eldest doing drugs with her.

Long story short, two of the children where placed with their fathers, the eldest is 19 and now living with her aunt (hopefully on the road to recovery). Which left our Boy living with his grandmother. The Grandmother lived with us in a Garden flat and also passed away a month ago. We are now in the process of adopting him. His biological father never had any part of his life.He has seen him twice in the five years of his life and only acknowledged him as his son on his mother funeral. He his also an addict and currently in rehab. Our system being what it is, the biological father still needs to sign for the adoption. This also scares me as I do not want him making any claims somewhere down the road.

I have so many questions and concerns that I don’t even know where to start. One of my biggest concerns is how to balance my life with my 4 children and our adoptive child so that no one feels neglected. Managing 4 kids was already tough and this situation being so sensitive is not easy. I absolutely love D our adoptive boy and he has completely crept into my heart. Note that he has been staying with us for a month now and just started preschool for the first time.

This has proven to be very challenging as he has never had exposure to this before.

He also never had a male figure in his life for longer than a couple of months at a time. I find him clinging to me and pushing my husband away.

Any and all advise will be more than welcome.


He has experienced many losses and trauma. It is normal that he is clinging to you, he is afraid you will disappear too. Maybe men hurt him and he is scared of your husband. Your husband needs to make small gestures to him like toss him a ball for three times and then ask if the child wants to play more. I would talk to a lawyer or adoption agency re legalities.

He has been with you a month and without you 59 months give it some time. You can’t even assure him that he is staying until you get the custody issue resolved.

This is not going to be easy but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Take one child shopping with you, let them pick out cereal or cookies. Time alone while errand is done. Play a game with them take turns choosing the game.

Posted by Regina on Jan 10, 2020 at 2:07pm

There are two things going on here. How to balance all the kids, and experienced parents are helping you with that.
But, and I’m in the US so don’t know the legalities in South Africa, if I’[m reading this correctly this child is not your adopted son.The father is not signing off and that might mean in your country that this child is not legally your child.
Can you get guardianship?

Posted by NoraT on Jan 11, 2020 at 2:22am

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