Gender & Identity, Life

I was only 20 when my sister abandoned her toddlers. I had no idea what to do.

I even considered giving them away.

As a girl who just started her first year in college, struggling with assignments and exams, the thought of raising kids was the last thing on my mind. I never expected that one day these two little lives would depend on me.

[bctt tweet=”I never expected that two little lives would depend on me.” username=”wearethetempest”]

My sister (their mother) abandoned them and their father didn’t give a crap about them, so it was up to my family to take them in. My family wasn’t rich, but we weren’t poor either. With the sudden addition to our family, it was like a cross to bear. My parents had a lot on their plate, so I offered to take care of them.

It was tough as hell.

They were still little kids, only three- and four-years-old.

They were playful, hyperactive and most times difficult to handle. My schedule was completely messed up upon their arrival and I barely had any time for assignments and tests. My sleep routine was off, and when they got sick, my sleep routine was non-existent.

My niece, even though she was three, still drank formula milk. Unfortunately, it became her daily meal and she barely had any food apart from that. Since they were under my care, I had to provide everything: the formula, their clothes, food, and diapers (for nighttime). After six months, I’d completely run out of money.

I’d spent all my savings and my student loans on them.

How could I have known it would be this hard? It was my first time nurturing children, and unlike other kids, they only had me. I wasn’t married and had no husband to support and take care of them with me.

I was broke and failed a few subjects in that first year. Sometimes the pressure got me and I felt burdened by them. There were times when I blamed their mother and father for my hardship.

I even considered giving them away.

The thing that stopped me was when I realized how much they had grown on me. I could see how much they’d become attached to me and my family. All the stress and tension from college disappeared every time I spend time with them, or I heard them laugh, saw them smile.

[bctt tweet=”I even considered giving them away.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Every time I stared at their pure, innocent faces while they were asleep, I knew that I could never give them up.

My parents finally decided that I couldn’t do it alone. I had other responsibilities to fulfill – my study and my future. One day we made a decision – we were going to do it together.

It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. Raising them together was so much easier than doing it alone. This year, they’ve just started their pre-school.

I’ve received many reactions from people when they found out about this aspect of my life. It’s funny how people make assumptions about me and the kids. They start to talk the moment they see me with my niece and nephew.

Some of them think I’m their single mother with no husband.

It could mean two things – I’m an unmarried woman with two children out of wedlock, or a divorcée, abandoned by my ex-husband. They’d whisper things to each other as they saw me everywhere with the kids, which I ignored. They don’t know anything about me and I don’t owe them my story.

There were a few men who offered their help. Or in another words, marriage.

For them, a young woman in her early 20’s like me shouldn’t raise two kids on my own as they need a father’s care and support. I doubted their intentions were for the children, so I declined their offers.

[bctt tweet=”For them, a young woman shouldn’t raise kids on my own.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I’ve been through so many things while nurturing them – financial crisis, failures in my studies and other issues. Looking back at all the hardships and effort, I can’t be more proud. It was tough, but in the end, I made it.

I have no regrets.

These kids are a blessing for us and now I can’t imagine my life without them.