A year ago, my best friend of 14 years gave birth to her twin boys. Their biological father has never been in their lives and my friend took him to court. She was awarded full legal and physical custody of the twins, which we were VERY happy about. Of course she asked me to be the twins godmother, a role which I gladly accepted.
Since day one, I have been a major part of the boys' lives. We've always been attached at the hip. My best friend doesn't drive so I'm the driver and we take the babies everywhere with us.
The problem I am having now is that I have completely fallen in love with those boys; I imagine that I love them just as much as their real mama does. Because of this special bond, I am so scared. My friend has some medical issues and if anything were to happen to her, the boys could easily be ripped away from me in a heartbeat, either by the biological father's family or my best friend's family. Most people wouldn't think that either side is mentally stable.
I am like a second mother to the boys yet I have no rights whatsoever. My friend wants me to be the one to raise them as my own IF anything were to ever happen to her, but we have no idea how to do this legally. What rights would a court give to a mothers "best friend?"
Most people assume we are gay, which doesn't offend me because, honestly, we are "soul mates" who just happen to not be in a physical relationship. Otherwise we act like a married couple raising two kids.
What should I do to reduce my level of stress and stop the nightmares? I have never loved anybody as much as I love my boys. I refer to them as my babies even when talking to my best friend! She is not the most responsible person and depends on me as well. She still lives with her grandparents and got knocked up by a crazy person who has now landed in jail for being a sex-offender.
Needless to say our lives are never dull and although technically I am a single woman without kids, I really feel like a single mother of three! LOL! Should I pursue some sort of legal "backup" so at least I would feel safe in knowing that if something were to ever happen to my best friend that I could be the boys' legal guardian? Or should I just let it go and pray for the best? I never thought I could love them so much and I don't want to lose them.
The question you posed is not a friendship problem, per se. You and your best friend really need legal advice. Your attachment and love for the two babies is understandable since you've been like a surrogate second parent since they were born---but you are not their mother, nor your friend's. The situation you describe sounds pretty unstable so, to some extent, I understand your fears.
The question you didn't ask me--whether or not this is a healthy friendship--is more appropriately in my bailiwick. I think you need to take a hard look at this complicated situation and sort out your feelings about your best friend, her children, and the rest of her family with a mental health professional. As you describe your best friend, she doesn't appear to have good judgment and is extremely dependent on you. Although you're crazy about the babies, is this the type of relationship you want for yourself or that would serve you well in the future?
The fact that you are having recurrent nightmares suggests that the friendship and your relationship with the boys has become so stressful that the first step you need to take is to figure out your hopes for YOUR future.
I hope this is helpful!
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Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author. She holds an appointment as a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Her new book about female friendships, Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend, was recently published by Overlook Press. She also blogs about female friendships at The Friendship Blog and at PsychologyToday.com.
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