Posted: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: I’m writing this from a friend’s computer so my wife won’t find out. “Lizzie” and I are in our late 20s. She has an older sister and two adopted siblings, both of whom are developmentally disabled. One has Down syndrome, but he is capable of living independently. The other, however, is the size of a grown woman, but she can neither walk nor speak. She must be cared for like an infant.
When we married, Lizzie told me that someday her adoptive siblings would live in a group home. Now that her mother is in poor health, she says she intends to have both of them live with us.
Lizzie’s biological sister is married with kids and acts as if her adoptive siblings don’t exist. I asked my sister-in-law if she and her husband would take in the developmentally disabled sister, and she said no. When I asked why she was so cold toward her adoptive siblings, she said, “They were my parents’ project, not mine.”
So now I’m stuck. I want kids of our own, but it will be impossible to care for an infant and a “grown infant” at the same time, and even Lizzie agrees. And if we place the siblings in a home, we’ll still have to help pay for it, and her parents didn’t provide much. There’s no way we could afford it.
I love my wife, but there are some things I am not willing to do. A therapist told me I have to decide for myself. Please help. — Need Another Opinion
Dear Need: This is an enormous responsibility, and we understand it’s not what you signed up for. Before rejecting both the obligation and your marriage, however, please do some research. The siblings may be eligible for government assistance. Your sister-in-law may be willing to contribute financially to their care. Also, please check online or call 211 to find local support groups for caregivers of those with developmental disabilities and see what resources exist in your area. Armed with good information, you can then discuss it honestly and compassionately with Lizzie.
Dear Annie: I have a co-worker who constantly yells at everyone. She gossips and complains about other co-workers all the time. When someone makes a mistake, she makes fun of them. A few people have quit because of her. Customers have complained about her rudeness and how she screams at her co-workers.
We have brought this up to our boss and his supervisor, but they say, “Well, that’s just how she is.” I’m tired of it, and so is everyone else. But when I tried to get people to register a complaint as a group, no one would man up because they are all afraid the co-worker will find out. Then, if nothing happens, she will make our lives hell. What’s our next step? — It’s No Fun Here
Dear No Fun: If you cannot get the office staff to register a group complaint and management refuses to intervene, your choice is to put up with this annoying co-worker or leave. We are surprised the bosses don’t care if good employees quit and clients complain, but if that’s their position, there’s not much recourse unless you can go directly to the owner of the company. We recommend it.
Dear Annie: “Mad in Omaha” should report her niece and nephew to the police. They have committed felonies by pawning Grandma’s jewelry and forging her name to steal money from her bank account to pay for drugs.
She also needs to advise the police that Grandma is afraid of these people and may be being abused in other ways. Making a police report is the best way to protect Grandma and also get these young criminals under the supervision of a criminal justice agency that will make them get treatment for their addiction and, hopefully, become responsible citizens. — A Probation Officer
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.4.12