K.W. asks from Wyandotte, MI on January 21, 2009
Help a Friend in Need???
Hi guys, I have a friend, who is not an extremely close friend. She has kids in my kids classes and they are friends. We talk on the phone and on the computer. She is going through a divorce right now and her hubby is leaving her high and dry with 4 kids. (that are not his) She has no job no money and no family that can take her and her kids in. I spoke with my hubby and we feel that since our house is big enough we should take her and her kids in till she can get back on her feet. She is planning on moving out of state with the kids to a womens shelter that can help her out but first she needs to find the money. If we were in a position to give her the money to go we would but we are sort of struggling ourselves. I do plan on taking her to get assitance through the state and help her in that way. He is letting their home go so she will get no money from that and will soon be without lights and heat :( She doesn't know how long she has there so she is getting desperate. What do you guys think. I have 3 kids and I'm happily married and thankful for all that we have and my hubby who works hard so I can stay at home with my three. What should I do? I've been struggling with pros and cons all day today and I feel in my heart that taking them in is the right thing for them. But on the other hand will it take a toll on my family and home to have so many extra people around? Help! I don't want to see them in a shelter after what they have been through in their life.
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone,I talked to as many people as I could about this and the consensus seems to be that it is not a good idea. I have been told that she can stay in the house for quite a while and that the State may be able to pay rent for her. I am taking her down to the FIA today to see what they can do and I told her I will help her check into resources that can assit her if all else fails. She has said that she is not sure if she will be elibible for food stamps as she was on them for quite a while with her first husband. But we will see what we can do. She still plans on moving when she has the money. My daughter thought the idea was great my son who is 11 had a lot of reservations about it. He is quite a private kid. I will do everything I can to help her help herself, from what it sounds like now that I'm getting a little more history it seems like she really doesn't want to be too independant. Thanks again for the info and thoughts.
J.L. answers from Detroit on January 23, 2009
I know you got a lot of advice. I just want to say that I think it is great that you have such an open and warm heart. If all people were so thoughtful, what a wonderful world it would be.
C.H. answers from Grand Rapids on January 22, 2009
A friend of mine did this for someone in the same position. They are no longer friends and my friend is now divorced. It is a very kind thing to do, but just know that it changes the dynamics for everyone and is a very difficult thing to do.
C.L. answers from Detroit on January 22, 2009
What a kind heart you have!
I'd probably do it if you feel it's right.. however.. SPELL out some sort of contract and expectations for her and have her sign it.
S.S. answers from Detroit on January 21, 2009
I commend you for wanting to help and I think AMERICA needs more neighbors and 'friends' like you. You have a conscience from someone who is in need. If it were you wouldn't you pray to God for provision like you are offering her?
I say DO IT! You may get burned, your family may be stretched but you will learn and grow and GOD in heaven sees your heart and her need. He will bless you for it. Do all you can do to protect your own family from any harm. Do a background check on her and her ex first. I would also let her know in a kind way that you have boundaries as far as how long she can stay and what the house rules are. Be aware of what is going on in your home and with those living in your home.
You are blessed and it is wise to share our blessing with those less fortunate. Also know that your children will be shaped by these things they see you doing. It will form them to help others too!
Just think of how much better the USA would be if we all were really concerned for eachother the way you are for her.
God Bless you!
1 mom found this helpful
S.R. answers from Detroit on January 22, 2009
I think following your heart will get you to the right place in life, so long as you're head is clear and sure. If your husband is on the same page, its a wonderful gesture and one I hope makes the difference for this woman. If you decide to set guidelines, do it before she moves in: duration, steps she needs to take, house rules, etc., and I do recommend that you do request her utmost effort. Some people are weakened by charity, others helped. You'll have to make that call based on your relationship. I guess you need to anticipate it being difficult and problems arising you can't imagine now, but you will feel good, and have done a real thing to help. The message to your kids is one that they'll carry all their lives. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
P.S. answers from Jackson on January 22, 2009
K. - I have been in your friends shoes! But I had no one who would help. I ended up taking my daughter to 5 different womwn's shelters in the past 2 years. The shelters weren't really all that bad. They do help out alot.
But before you or your friend do anything drastic, check and see if you have a 2-1-1 number for your area. This number will give her the names and phone numbers of any agencies or organizations in your area that will help her. It could be wth shelter assistance,utilities,clothing - anything they are in need of.
God bless you and your husband for being willing to help this woman and her children. But the 5 extra people would put a stress on your family and home - no matter how big it is.
1 mom found this helpful
L.C. answers from Saginaw on January 21, 2009
Wow, what an overwhelming situation for your friend to be in!
I would advise that you very carefully consider your exit strategy, if you decide to invite her into your home. I mean, you need to know exactly when you'll ask her to move on, what conditions you consider to be unacceptable, who gets to make the rules for ALL of the children in the house, and how much you will expect them to contribute to the household -- finanically and otherwise. This is difficult to know, theoretically, and you need to understand yourself well in order to negotiate effectively with these people.
Adding the costs involved in 5 additional people in your home will be considerable, and if you're going to support her 100% so she can save money to move out, it will cost you a great deal. Expect your power bill and grocery costs to double. Expect your heating bill to rise and your water bill (if you pay that separately). You will also make a great deal more garbage with 10 people rather than 5. These people will have extraneous costs, too: things wrecked and grown out of that need to be replaced. There will be more wear and tear on the house overall, resulting in more repair and maintenance costs -- as well as more housework and a lot more noise and negotiation.
Be careful to remain aware of your patience level and what you think of in your mind as 'the deal.' You may expect more gratitude than you get, which will anger you. You may expect more cooperation or assistance than you get, which may frustrate you. You may have a timeline in your head that is widely underestimated in your offer, or wildly overestimated by the recipient.
I wouldn't do it. I appreciate the generosity of your offer, and even why it feels right for you. I'm not saying 'don't do it,' I just know that I don't share space that well, and wouldn't put my family (which includes 2 intraverts with a daily need for silence and solitude) through it. YMMV.
1 mom found this helpful
T.O. answers from Detroit on January 22, 2009
You are taking on a HUGE responsibility. If your husband is ok with it - really ok, not just surface ok - then go for it BUT set a limit to how long they will stay and MAKE SURE they keep it - more than a couple months is too long. It will affect your family. Have set rules about chores/space limits/etc. BEFORE they come into your home. You are an incredible giving person to want to do this ... but don't let your friend become dependent on your hospitality OR your husband's wages - it's not fair to anybody.
1 mom found this helpful
P.R. answers from Detroit on January 22, 2009
WOW, you are a fantastic person....if everyone involved is OK with the idea, including the kids, it is so darn kind of your family, but I would first discuss a time line.
You guys might get "sick" of each other sooner than you expect.
K.T. answers from Detroit on January 24, 2009
Thank you for caring for your friend....your compassionate heart is showing :-) You and your husand are to be commended.
I would like to caution you 'if' you decide to take in your friend and her children....this experience will take a toll on your family life with you children and more importantly with you and your husband.
Discuss this deeply, pray hard....possibly even seek emotional and spiritual help for you & your hubby.
I would encourage you to check out all of the avenues of assistance available to her through the local agencies. Also, check with your church /faith family to see if there is assistance for her and her children.
From your request; you prefered not to contact a shelter....from my heart to yours....this option sounds to be the best - prior to her reconnecting with her own family - mother /sisters /aunts. I'm not aware of your geographic location, however there is The Genesis House Ministry in the Meto-Detroit area along with The Lighthouse Ministry - which you could look in to.
God Bless You as you make your decision.
T.A. answers from Grand Rapids on January 21, 2009
This is very generous of you to offer to help your friend in this way, and the previous posters have made some very valid points and suggestions that I agree with. I guess the biggest concern I would have with this is what if it really isn't working out for you, and you and your family are not happy with the siutation and you decide you want out of the deal? What if she has no where to go, or no money to get there? You may find yourself stuck in a situation indefinetly with no easy way out.
I would certianly give this very serious thought and prayerfully consider what course of action you should take. I also have to say that I most likely would not do it either. But you have to follow your own gut and do what you believe is the right thing. Good luck to you and God Bless.