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 daydreamin_honey
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 1
Military Life and the Single Parent?Page 1 of 4    (1, 2, 3, 4)
I tried to find a thread that would answer this question for me, but was unable to... hopefully someone out there in forum-land can help me.

I have recently found myself considering enlisting in the military but my biggest concern is that i'm a single mom of 2 kids (7yo boy, 2yo girl) and have joint custody of both of them but they have different fathers. If I was to find myself deployed... what would be the situation? One of my exes is unable to be a full time father, the other would just leave her with his parents to be raised (as he has done with his daughter twice now). Would my kids be split up to stay with their dads in such a situation or would I be able to list my mother and stepfather as guardians in my absence?

I know it's a lot of questions, but that's really the only thing keeping me from enlisting... the worry over my kids. They are my life and I do not want to see them split up (since they only spend every other weekend apart).

Thanks for any help you all can offer. I don't know who else to ask without getting a lot of questions sent back at me instead.
 singlesuperdad
Joined: 8/26/2009
Msg: 2
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 7:52:54 PM
I'm going to try to give you my opinion without being hard on you. You should have thought about the military before you had kids.Now It really isn't fair to the kids. You would be running out on them and possibly splitting them up and leaving them with people that won't be caring for them to the best of their ability. Being aparent sometimes requires sacrifice and I don't mean sacrificing your kids.
 daydreamin_honey
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 3
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 8:10:39 PM

I'm going to try to give you my opinion without being hard on you. You should have thought about the military before you had kids.Now It really isn't fair to the kids. You would be running out on them and possibly splitting them up and leaving them with people that won't be caring for them to the best of their ability. Being aparent sometimes requires sacrifice and I don't mean sacrificing your kids.

Honestly, before I had kids I would NEVER have considered joining the military. My family is very military so it's not like it's something new to them in the least. We have family members leaving/coming home constantly and it's "normal" for us. I would be doing this FOR my kids. The benefits of the military life are much greater than any career I could find currently and I would also be able to study and get my degree thru them.
My father was a life long airman and I feel no ill effects from his "leaving" when he did. If it's something your family is not used to, I can see it as being a shocker. But my kids (my son especially) understand military life. My son's father was in the military and has considered rejoining and we've discussed it as a family (yes, even though we are divorced, we are still a family unit). My son has actually been saying for the last 2yrs that he wants to be a soldier in the army when he grows up. He refers to my father as "Grandpa Larry - the soldier" (he passed away 2yrs ago and had a full military burial that my son has not forgotten).

And i'm not for sure doing it yet, that's why I'm researching the options BEFORE I commit myself to something that would hurt my kids... thanks for NOT reading that part. I will NOT be enlisting if that means my kids being split up and left to be raised by father's that are unable to do so. IF, and ONLY IF, I can be assured IN WRITING that will NOT be the case will I even entertain doing so. My kids come first to me. If that means I work at McDonald's for the rest of my life to keep them together and raised by me... so be it.
 Notdesper8atall
Joined: 6/27/2008
Msg: 4
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 8:19:40 PM
Seeing that you have a number fo family members alrady in the service wouldnt they be able to point you in the right direction for the questions you have ? At the very least they would be able to get you some advice from those who may already be in the same position you might find yourself in?
 daydreamin_honey
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 5
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 8:25:54 PM

Seeing that you have a number fo family members alrady in the service wouldnt they be able to point you in the right direction for the questions you have ? At the very least they would be able to get you some advice from those who may already be in the same position you might find yourself in?

As most of my family is not in my situation (single parent), they wouldn't have the faintest idea. And I don't want to get a bunch of them "up in my business" by asking a lot of very particular questions unless it's something i'm sure of. I'm hoping that maybe there is someone in here (single parents forum) that may have dealt with something like this at some point or know of it.
 Notdesper8atall
Joined: 6/27/2008
Msg: 6
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 8:55:17 PM
I can understand that .. what perhaps I should have said was that maybe they would have a source in the military that you could access these questions without having to let them ( your family) know all of the particulars. Have you spoken to any recruiters yet? They may also be the best source of the information you seek.
 daydreamin_honey
Joined: 12/30/2008
Msg: 7
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 9:36:53 PM
Notdesper8atall, I have spoken to a few people, recruiters and such (people I know that won't say anything to family members), but none of them so far have any idea since that's not something they deal with on a daily basis. Most of the recruiters are nothing more than guys fresh out of high school who follow procedures they are shown to enlist other guys out of high school... they had no idea even who would know, lol.
I've tried looking it up online as well, but with the net the way it is these days... i've basically just would up with a lot of non-sense information.
 ValkyrieHJR
Joined: 8/8/2009
Msg: 8
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/1/2009 9:39:04 PM
I am ex navy, and I know while I was in I met several single parents. You will actually need to turn custody of your children over to a family member, such as your parents, or someone else that is trustworthy before you can even sign the paperwork to join. But I am pretty certain that as long as your exes don't object you can choose who gets custody. That does not mean you have to do it permanently. Or you can have a power of attorney drawn in regards to everything concerning your children for said family member. They do this because you will be spending at least the first 8 weeks in training and unless it's a major emergency (death, etc.) your training won't be interrupted. If you are stationed on a ship you would have to have something of the same sort in place.

Be extremely careful when talking to a recruiter. They are allowed to basically tell you anything in order to get you to sign up. The best resource for questions like that would be to actually speak with people that are in the service or have just gotten out within the past couple of years.

And I am sure everyone has already told you this, but if you d decide to go into the military, no matter what branch it is, make sure everything is in writing and it is very specific. My ex got cheated out of an $80,000 sign on bonus because of a loophole.

I actually think the military is a good idea for a lot of people, with or without kids these days. In this economy it is a guaranteed job, with housing provided, food provided, no power unless you live off base, cable bill if you choose, and awesome health care for you and any dependents you have.
 freetime2bme
Joined: 1/16/2006
Msg: 9
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 4:24:13 AM
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/enlsingparent.htm
Single Parents are not allowed to enlist in the US Military, period. Except for the Army National Guard, waiver approvals are very, very, very rare, and most recruiters won't even submit one. In the "old days," some recruits would try to get around this restriction by giving up legal custody of their child(ren) until after basic training and job school, but the military has wised up to this practice.

"Most of the recruiters are nothing more than guys fresh out of high school who follow procedures they are shown to enlist other guys out of high school"
This is total BS, to qualify to be a recruiter your at least an E-5 with three or more years of service under your belt. The onlt exception to this is a 30-60 day home town recruiter job, but they are not qualified to do any of the interviews or paperwork, they just provide leads to the real recruiters.

If you become a single parent while on active duty you have a vary limited time to put together a contingincy plan, because your job is to be ready to go some place on short notice. I.E. when placed on orders said child's costody goes to the ex, mom, dad or other. These plans are reviewed by lots of people to make sure they are completed.

The military does not want you if your a single parent, but if your all ready in and can have some one take your children when your deployed they will let you stay in.

google if you could not find this info, don't think you will pass the test to get in any ways.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 10
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 8:21:50 AM
You will need get it in writing from both dads that they are giving guardianship of your children to your parents in the event of your deployment or death.

And maybe I am a little bit sensitive because I saw what it did to my kids when I nearly bought the farm but are you really ready to leave them without a mother who ever comes back? I do respect people that are in the military because it is their service that allows us to maintain the lives we do but here's the thing.

A woman lost her husband a few years back. He was a police officer killed by a drunk driver. She was a beat cop and she took a desk job because they had only one parent and she didn't want to risk them losing both. Your kids essentially have one parent because while you apparently have a joint parenting arrangement, neither of the men is prepared to be a full-time parent to your kids and unless both are in agreement with it, will not allow your parents to raise them if you are killed.

I can understand your attitude about the benefits and the career but could this possibly at least wait a few more years until they aren't so terribly young? My children were 7, 11 and 14, when I got sick but the hospitalization fell in the middle of their birthdays so they were essentially 8, 12, and 15 when they were dealing with the aftermath of almost losing me. It was very difficult for them and I can't even imagine how hard it would be for a younger child whom you have influenced only for a few short years to actually lose you as a parent. Their dad financially supports them but he would be totally incapable of raising them and they knew it.

In your situation being similar even if you don't go into the military it would seem like a good idea to get both the ex's on board for a will that stipulates your mother raising those kids if something ever happens to you. Unfortunately, most people do not think about this and leave those decisions to the courts.
 packagedealx3
Joined: 2/4/2006
Msg: 11
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 8:26:54 AM
I googled how to handle child custody when deployed.

This is the search url, the first two articles spoke to the difficulties involved and the second in particular is a blog, I read the op and first response, you will likely find some information on that one and it seemed like plenty of information came up.

http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS340US341&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=how+to+handle+child+custody+when+deployed

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/05/AR2007050500673.html

http://www.parentdish.com/2008/01/15/military-deployment-and-child-custody/

A search of military parents also provided many websites.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS340US341&q=military+parents&aq=f&oq=&aqi=g1g-s1g4
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 12
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 4:15:18 PM
I don't know about what that website freetime2beme posted, but my friend Scott is a single parent and he is currently serving in the military. He was able to turn over custody to a family member. If u enlisted you should be able to use the money from the sign on bonus to find a good lawyer who can help you.
 SweetnessInFlorida
Joined: 6/26/2008
Msg: 13
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 9:26:08 PM
Wouldnt your family already be up in your business if they are left to raise your kids?
Why even take the chance? Having something in writing doesnt mean jack. The only thing that means jack is having a mother that is actually around. Why would you leave your kids to be war fodder?
My Grandpa was a marine, he fought for our freedoms, im very proud of him, but that doesnt mean i have to up and fvck off on my kids, i chose motherhood, and will stay commited to my choice of motherhood.
D you really want mommy "leaving/coming home/leaving again" to be the standard of normal for their childhood? Its not for the kids, its for you. They probably just want a mommy, who is actually present.
Well if you go do get a good life insurance policy.
 ValkyrieHJR
Joined: 8/8/2009
Msg: 14
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 10:02:02 PM
The military actually offers very good life insurance. And there are a lot of single parents that are in the military. Or at least while I was in. You don't have to give up complete custody of your kids. You just need to have that plan in place so that at a moment's notice, if need be, the kids will be taken care of. It's not as bad as it sounds.

Like I said, free health care, which is actually pretty decent for family members. If you get an apartment out on town, and the government will help pay for it, along with things like your power bill. Not to mention you have the commisary and PX to shop at, which usually has extremely good prices for military. Oh, and big kicker right now.....no chance of being laid off or losing that guaranteed paycheck as long as you have the contract and don't do anything stupid like getting caught doing drugs of some sort.

But I also understand the military is not for everyone.
 SweetnessInFlorida
Joined: 6/26/2008
Msg: 15
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/2/2009 11:33:58 PM
Didnt you mention your son was autistic or had some form of disability of sorts?
And you would LEAVE a disabled boy?
Just because he was impressed with some deceased relatives military funeral doesnt mean mommy should drop the responsibility of her disabled son to go play soulja girl. Surely you can find work more locally. Why not join the police force?
My husband was on the police force for 20 years, he had full medical, a kick ass salary, job security, and the pride from having a good career and still could see his kids every day.
Shake yourself out of the daydreamin, honey!!!
You have 2 kids, one disabled, they need stability, a stable home, with a constant parental figure, not to be pawned off while mama goes and plays GI Jane.
If you wanted a military life, shoulda not had kids, or done your time in the service, and THEN, had kids.

I hope you choose your kids. It is a choice you will be making.
There are other ways to get a career.

Val, yes im sure the military does provide a decent life insurance policy, but, its noit like its something we hope to have to use any time soon.
 lets fish!
Joined: 11/21/2009
Msg: 16
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 12:14:12 AM
I have to say I agree with Sweetness, your kids come first. period.

ESPECIALLY if you're a single parent and it would mean your kids would lead somewhat separate lives as a result of your decision.

You need to remember that no matter what your kids relationship with their dads are, the fact is, they are from a broken home and WILL need to know solidity from what they do have and that means being with you and their sibling.

Just wait a while sweetheart, your time will come when they grow up. And remember, there's nothing more rewarding that seeing your kids happy and as secure.


good luck!!!
 freetime2bme
Joined: 1/16/2006
Msg: 17
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 5:00:25 AM
"I don't know about what that website freetime2beme posted, but my friend Scott is a single parent and he is currently serving in the military. He was able to turn over custody to a family member. If u enlisted you should be able to use the money from the sign on bonus to find a good lawyer who can help you."

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/enlsingparent.htm

Gives good information about this topic. Also I had a recruiting company for two years and retired with just short of 25 years of service, so I know a little bit about this topic. If some one gives up custody they can join, each service has a different waiting period and it can be over a year. If that same person latter tries to regain custody, there is a the possibility they will be put out of the service for fraudulent enlistment. I know this because, I put three people out of the army for just this!

If one becomes a single parent while on active duty, they can stay in if and only if they complete a family support contingency package (also covered in the link I provided). This requires coverage not only for deployments, but for alerts or and other events that may come up training or real world. These are also tested and if they do not work the service member can also be put out of the service. I know this too because I had to put two people out of the army for not being able to complete the the process and have a working plan. One of the two had almost 15 years of service, but she missed the required time line twice and was put out. These are not only required for deployments but they are needed for day to day operations, because of alerts, drills or real world events. That is how the army works. Some people with the help of an ex other family members or trusted none military friends can make them work. I had a good friend with over 18 years in and his wife died. He was not about to get kicked out and he took the extra step of getting a full time home care and child provider that lived in his home, between this and his mother who moved near to him he had a plan that worked. Not cheap at all but he made it to retirement and his deployment came and went without incident.

As to using your enlistment bonus to higher a good lawyer lol, bonuses normally come broken up and only after citrine criteria is meet. As an example 1/3 is paid at the end of each year of service for three years and if the service member fails to meet all obligations it must be refunded. The "my friend did this or that", not all ways the best legal advice. Real advice is the military not a good place for a single parent.
 carterscutie85
Joined: 5/31/2007
Msg: 18
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 6:46:39 AM
Does the military define someone as a single parent as someone who is not with their child's father/mother (but the mother/father still sees the child) or do they define it as someone who is the sole caretaker without any help from the father/mother? In my friend's case he had custody of his daughter with the mom doing visits. He signed over custody to a family member and Mom still gets her visits while he is away.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 19
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 11:39:53 AM

I mean no disrespect to American troops but as a single mother your first priority is not your country its your children and your children will not benefit from you dying. They will not benefit from you being away. Children need to feel secure to suddenly take away their main care-giver would be to traumatize your children. 7 & 2 those children are way too young to have their life deliberately thrown into turmoil.


I grew up in the military as my father is a 20 year veteran. I am nothing but proud of his service. I'm honored that he's my father. He defended the right of scum like michael moore to have the freedom to slander the people that defend him.

The new commander in chief is PROBABLY someone you love jenn, OBAMA is the one that just upped our deployment in afghanistan by 30k of our brave men and women.

Think long and hard about the service you want to sign up for OP, no matter what these posters say, the national guard knew they could be deployed, recruiters aren't the devil, and their is HONOR in defending our country. (and the people with short term memories will forget we defend a hell of a lot of other countries too) It will have a large impact on your children, although not all will be negative. I grew up in a two parent military family, so your results may vary, but I'm as successful as I am today because of the manner in which i was brought up and the people i met in my travels with my family.

As far as i know jenn, women still aren't combatants in the US military, the odds of her taking a life are VERY VERY slim. I could be wrong in this though, haven't been around the military full time in 5-6 years.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 20
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 11:53:16 AM
So you will be safe Conscious.

Honor. Courage, the ability to stand when others can't. Because without that organization, people you don't know would be sent to kill you, and SOME people are willing to sacrifice so you don't have to. Not everyone has your sensibility when it comes to military service.

The urge to ruin 3 lives? Or the driving desire to protect millions of lives?


OP, again, military service does have some very serious drawbacks, and only you can know what is best for your family. I can only say the best people i've ever met were military, and it's an oppurtunity to better yourself while serving others.
 big pacific
Joined: 7/2/2009
Msg: 21
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 12:14:23 PM
As i said to the op, there are serious drawbacks to the military lifestyle. Only she can figure out what is best for her family. Unlike you, I point out that there are 2 sides to this, and that there are rewards and consequences to her decision. Maybe she wants the financial stability offered by the GI bill to continue education, maybe she wants the retirement benefits after 20 years, maybe she wants training in the medical field. Hell maybe she wants to kill osama bin laden, i have no idea her motivation, all i'm offering is my PERSONAL experience having LIVED in a military family.

The military propaganda? Yeah it did. I was born on fort bragg and spent 3/4 of my life living in a military family. I guess you can call it propaganda, but i LIVED the life. I'd argue the propaganda they feed you at university from people that haven't been there or lived the life might be a little less informed. I don't remember ever seeing michael moore serve. All he knows to serve is his own checkbook, by selling the propoganda to people like you, who PAY him for the privaledge.

I'm cool that it isn't for you. I get that the idea of risking your own personal safety for others isn't in your makeup, what i'm NOT cool with is you disparaging those that protect YOU with their sacrifice. (your canadian military risks no less than our own as they fight by our side abroad) If canada was ever under a serious threat, we'd be the first there to protect you. I doubt anyone is going to attack a country that borders the US anyway, the very EXISTANCE of our military serves to protect you and yours.

I argue that "ruin" with 100% certainty isn't certain in the SLIGHTEST. What is your idea of success? I certainly don't feel my life was "ruined" growing up the way i did.

I feel safe at night knowing that there are people that have a higher sense of sacrifice than you. Without them, you and I wouldn't have the freedom we currently have. (and some seem to under appreciate.)
 freetime2bme
Joined: 1/16/2006
Msg: 22
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 1:05:24 PM
Q: Why are you so much in need to enlist into an organization that will send you abroad to kill people ?
A: I all ways considered that one of the benefits, but I am not a vegan ****.

There are bad people out there and they are plotting bad things against us and are way of life. Glad there are people who are willing to step up. Single parents, not the best pick for the job.
 Allen63DH8
Joined: 8/20/2006
Msg: 23
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Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 8:09:52 PM
Daydreaming, my dad was in the military for 32 years. WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I know what it is to be a kid and have his dad gone for a year at a time. Even after my dad died years after he got out, my brother still isn't close to him.

I was also in the military for eight years, 1990-91 Gulf War included. I'm having the same problem with my younger daughter. (Obviously, I'm a single parent or I wouldn't be here.) Do you really want this kind of problem with your children? My girls have "issues" with abandonment because I was gone for a year, and because their mother left us. Again, do you really want this for your kids? Kids don't understand much more than mom or dad left them. I knew several single parents who joined and had to leave their kids behind while they were deployed. Most, their kids didn't forgive their parents for years if ever. Do you want this for you?

This is really a hard topic for me for several reasons. First, I have always encouraged people to join the military. It teaches you to put something above "self". Enlisting also teaching self-discipline, integrity, self sacrifice, and honor. Granted, not everyone comes out of the military continuing these traits, but they are taught it. When you join, you're putting your country first so your family will have a safe place to live. In a sense, you're looking out for your family, but you'll be doing so by putting them on the back burner. When the military says, "deploy", you go or you go to jail.

When you have children, you have to put them first. They didn't decide to get born. YOU decided to have them. You brought them out in the world. They depend on you. They look up to you. The military isn't a good place for a single parent. That's why I left after serving for eight years.
 ValkyrieHJR
Joined: 8/8/2009
Msg: 24
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 8:29:32 PM
Okay, OP, you need to do what is best for you and your family. You said that you come from a military family, so you know the sacrifices that will be involved in signing up.

And to all of you that are so against the military, there are plenty of good reasons to join the military that have absolutely nothing to do with "brainwashing" as you like to call it. I joined the Navy so that I could see the wold and travel. I still dream about going to the middle east (yes, the middle east) to see some of the most relevant religious cultures in the world.

There are plenty of jobs in any branch of the military that will not put the OP in harm's way, even considering the war in Afghanistan. You can get some extremely good job training in any branch of the military. And when you get out, you do get preferential treatment in the job market.

The military also gives people a chance to grow up and mature before moving on to the next stage of their lives. It can help teach self control and personal discipline. And it can help bring out a sense of self confidence.

(If you haven't figured it out, I am very big proponent of people spending the first 2 years out of high school either in the military or the Peace Corps)

And to Freetime, yes, people have been discharged for fraudulent enlistment, but that is one of those loophole discharges. When I say that, the people that were being discharged for trying to get custody of their kids back probaly wanted to get out and were using that for an excuse. Like I said, I knew plenty of people that were single parents in the Navy while I was in.
 SweetnessInFlorida
Joined: 6/26/2008
Msg: 25
Military Life and the Single Parent?
Posted: 12/3/2009 9:26:28 PM
Allen, my Grandfather fought in WWII and Korea also. Yes i am proud of and him. Yes i relaize what the military has done to defend our country's freedoms. I lived with the effects of combat, all through my childhood i heard my Grandfather have soul destroying nightmares. Dutring the day he was a normal person, a dad, a father, a schoolteacher, a friend, a community member, but every night until 2003 when he died his mind went back to Combat. Canadians, please dont put down our country, it is highly insulting when you have family that risked their lives, watched their friends die, took a chance on their lives, carried mental health issues for all their lives even after they went back to civilian life, you have comforted their war nightmares, and know every day that if just one bullet had been one inch more to the left or right, you and your own children wouldnt be here today. If we, America, are sooo awful, pray do tell wy so many foreign people are in our country, Why do they come here illegallyu:? Why do they stay aftyer their visa's expired?
Whenb i hear local people from other countriesd talk bad about our nation, i always offer them a ride to the airport and to buy their flight ticket out. They never take me up on it, though. Hmmmmmmmmm.

OP, If you want to serve the lives of others, i can think of 2 very young American citizens who need you the very most. Do take a good guess who those 2 little Americans that need you the most out of anyone in this country might be.
You not joining the military isnt going to make or break the war issues we have going on.
Kids are not dolls or cute little pets that you can just hand to someone else when you decided you want some emore excitement in life. They are human beings, and they require a firm commitment. Cant commit to the kids, dont have em. Since they are already here, i think they need you more than Afghanistan does. Wheres your maternal instinct? Do you not have one?
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