in ,

Guy Livid After Wife Calls Child Services On Neighbor Who Dumped Her Six Kids On Their Doorstep

Woman caring for six children
Gandee Vasan/Getty Images

Content Warning: Child Abandonment, Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Trauma, Therapy

Having children is a challenging, if wonderful, experience, but it’s not a lifestyle choice meant for everyone. It honestly is a whole lifestyle change, and the people involved have to redesign their lives around having children.

Some people are not willing to do that and decide to remain childfree, which is totally valid, but others don’t want to live life that way even once they have children, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITAH) subReddit.

Redditor Witty-Departure9421 had neighbors living in very close proximity, including a mother of six who regularly expected her nearby neighbors to care for her children, unprepared and unpaid.

When the woman left all six of her kids at her doorstep, expecting her to watch them for nearly a week at a moment’s notice, the Original Poster (OP) threatened to call Child Protective Services.

She asked the sub:

“AITAH for calling Children’s Social Care (Child Protective Services) on my neighbor when she left her six children on my doorstep?”

The OP’s neighbor was terrible about demanding free babysitting around the community.

“My husband (27 Male) and I (29 Female) live in a cul-de-sac. Everyone is too close to one another and it means people are naturally in each other’s business.”

“Right from the beginning, I had issues with one of our neighbors. She is the type of woman who lets her children wander about without a care, but that is not the worst part. She has an uncanny skill for talking the neighbors into babysitting for her.”

“I am normally the type to say no, but even I have been roped into it way too many times.”

The latest incident was the worst, however.

“Yesterday, she came knocking on my door again, so I pretended I wasn’t home.”

“She continued to knock harder, and I thought she would yank the letterbox right off, so I went to answer.”

“She quickly said a few sentences that I didn’t quite understand and that she would be back on Sunday. This was WEDNESDAY.”

“She has six children ranging from six months old to seven years old.”

“I told her I couldn’t and she said the black cab was waiting for her.”

“I tried to grab her hand to stop her from leaving. I said I was unable to and she ran off and got in the cab anyway.”

The OP decided to take action.

“I was p**sed and that is putting it mildly. I waited 40 minutes and then I sent her a text saying that if she couldn’t pick them up in 10 minutes, I would call Children’s Services (the UK’s office for Child Protective Services).”

“She didn’t answer the text, so I called her, and she didn’t pick up on the first two rings but picked up on the third. I told her the same thing again.”

“She tried to tell me it was too late for her to come back as she was out of the city and that if I didn’t want to watch them, I should drop them off at Jennifer’s (the 68-year-old lady with health issues living on the opposite side of me).”

“I repeated that if she wasn’t here in 10 minutes, she could pick them up at the local council if they decided she was a fit enough mother.”

“She said a few bad words and told me I would never do that.”

“So I did as in the moment, it felt like she was baiting me. After phoning Child Services, I sent her a text that it was done.”

“She phoned me back and said she was halfway to Blackpool and that she would murder me if it was true.”

“So I sent her a video when Child Services picked them up. The police were there, too, as they said they often tag along for collecting abandoned children in case something criminal has happened, and they asked a lot of questions about the mother.”

The OP’s husband lashed out at her for how she handled the situation.

“Last night, my husband and I had a huge fight. My husband was in foster care, and he said, ‘A right cow you are.'”

“He said I should have declined at the door instead of waiting 40 minutes before calling them when the mother couldn’t reasonably pick them up in 10 minutes.”

“He said I had other options, like not opening the door or running after her and throwing the children into the black cab instead of giving silent consent.”

“He also said I did it on purpose as the mother offered Jennifer as an alternative so why hadn’t I done that?”

“In my defense, I am not comfortable handing over someone else’s children to a third party and good manners say you don’t show up on an elderly lady’s doorstep and give her six unruly children to deal with for a few days.”

“I would never have lived down that shame.”

“My husband argued that once I had dropped them off at Jennifer’s, it would no longer be my business, but something between the mother and our other neighbor.”

By the end of their conversation, the OP second-guessed what she had done.

“He told me anything that happens to those children in care is on my head, and then he told me of things he himself experienced and what he knew of others in care had experienced.”

“I haven’t slept all that much, and my husband left for work without speaking to me.”

“I wonder if I should go back to Child Services and say I overreacted or that it was a misunderstanding and find a way to make it up to the children and get them out of there.”

“I had no idea foster care was that bad.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The subReddit was overwhelmingly supportive of how the OP had handled the situation.

“You did the right thing. Your neighbor is an unfit parent. You don’t get your kids taken away that easily… this is a repeated pattern.”

“I’m baffled as to how anyone could think it’s acceptable to drop their children off with strangers just because they live in the same area. A lot of people HARM CHILDREN… she literally doesn’t care at all about them… but also apparently won’t stop having more.”

“This couldn’t have been easy for you, but even if you all were friends, what she did was unacceptable.” – Dontfeedthebears

“NTA. A couple of points here: 1. It’s not the first time she’s done something like this, and it’s not like she even spoke to you about it beforehand.”

“2. She’s literally dumping six kids on a neighbor for an entire weekend, and just assuming you’d be free to look after them is a bit much. Also, Wednesday to Sunday isn’t just a weekend away; that’s most of a week.”

“She’s absolutely taking the p**s if she’s not giving you money for looking after them. How come the eldest kids aren’t at school?”

“I’ve only got one child and I’d never dream of doing something like that.” – dinkidoo7693

“Was she even prepared? Did they have bags with clothes? Did she have formula and nappies for the baby? A schedule and numbers of school, daycare, emergency numbers, dads’ numbers? I doubt it.”

“H**l, do you even have the time away from work and room for six kids to sleep in your house? I doubt she cared to find out. She’d have been better finding someone to stay over hers, but that means paying someone.”

“You did the right thing. She’s a neglectful mother and those kids needed help. You cannot dump six kids from six months to seven years on a near-stranger. That poor seven-year-old is probably parentified into playing mum to the younger ones, and that’s abuse in itself.”

“Yes, the foster system isn’t perfect. But those kids need to be in that system so they have dedicated people looking out for them, as it doesn’t sound like they have any one person making sure they’re safe. Mum certainly isn’t. NTA.”

“Hubby needs to acknowledge how abusive and neglectful that mum is.” – Rosalie-83

“In my honest opinion, it sounds like OP is the only one who is actually thinking about the health and safety of those kids in this situation.”

“Her hubby isn’t, based on his own experience, and the mother certainly isn’t.”

“OP attempted to stop the mother and said she couldn’t, gave multiple warnings about what would happen if the mother didn’t think about the kids, and enforced boundaries.”

“NTA, OP, and thanks for doing the right thing. I hope the kids end up having a better childhood than they currently do.” – ironkit

“The other thing is that the kids ARE CURRENTLY in an abusive home. If people continue enabling the mom in the story, the kids WILL grow up in this chaotic environment where being left with a neighbor on no notice is normalized. It’s really unfortunate that the mom’s actions led to this but hopefully Child Services involvement brings her back to reality and makes her realize what she’s doing to her kids.” – MFbiFL

Others agreed and also took issue with how the OP’s husband reacted to her approach.

“I’m sorry for what your husband went through as a child, but he seriously overreacted.”

“It would not have been better to take them to your 68-year-old neighbor’s house and drop them on her. That would make you no better than their mother, and if something had happened to one of the kids, you would share some of the blame as well.”

“You did the best thing under the circumstances you were in. NTA. You may have saved those children’s lives, in the long run.” – Live_Western_1389

“About your husband, I really hope he gets therapy. I still can’t overlook that he would be willing to leave to leave them in an unsafe and potentially abusive situation versus possibly getting them help.”

“I understand he was in the system, but that doesn’t mean his experience is everyone’s experience. Please, please, make sure he sticks to therapy so he can recognize he was willing that overlooking abuse and abandonment is not okay.” – Material_Cellist4133

“Hubby needs to acknowledge that HE was an a**hole for s**tting all over OP but NOT offering to take on the kids’ care, or even saying he *would* take on the kids’ care.” – Think-Ocelot-4025

“The actual mum is self-centered to the point of serious abuse and neglect; there’s no way those children feel safe or secure in any way. And the husband could have said he’d pick them up and watch them himself if he’s that upset.”

“Clearly, he’s traumatized but if he lets that be the only lens he sees the situation through, he’s gonna miss the ways the children’s welfare is already failing.” – realf**kingoriginal

“OP’s husband is a f**king a**hole for enabling this woman. As pointed out above, the mom is abusing her kids. Not only that, she is manipulating and abusing the neighbors, everyone on the godd**n street!”

“That woman needs shut down hard. This is NOT OP’s problem, good on her for standing up for herself and following through on her word/boundary. Dumping one child on someone’s porch without prior discussion is insane, but SIX? What the f**k?!”

“Big ol’ NTA.” – xRocketman52x

After receiving feedback and watching things unfold, the OP shared a lengthy update about the children in a second post.

“First of all, thank you to everyone who cared enough to give me reassurance and good advice. It meant a lot during a difficult time.”

“So, I’ll bullet point this, hopefully not forgetting anything:”

The oldest (the seven-year-old) and the third child went to their father’s home.

“The mother came back the same day. It seems the police wanted to have a word with her.”

“Up until this morning, when her ex came to pick up some of their children’s (the oldest and number 3) stuff from the house, she avoided talking to me.”

“He came with a police escort. While the police were there, she came to me and screamed bloody murder. This time, I reported it, and I also mentioned to the police that she threatened to murder me, although I think that was more of a figure of speech.”

“From what she said (screamed, more like) and what neighbors have said, they have been in dispute about child custody for a while, and with this incident, he may get full custody.”

“When the police took her into her house to calm her down (no physical assault, so no arrest; they gave her a warning), her ex asked me and my husband if we would attest to her abandonment if the police report weren’t enough at the next hearing. He has them at his house until then.”

The six-month-old baby also went home with their father.

“The father of the baby has been given the baby. When the police came to pick the children up, they found no formula in the bag and asked me if she had given me money to buy it.”

“I said no, and due to abandonment and forced starvation (according to her), she may never see the baby again as her chances of getting the baby back are slim.”

“Again, this was from her mouth and what the other neighbors have said over the past few days.”

The second, fourth, and fifth children were still at CPS at the time of the OP’s update.

“The other three are still in care, and although me and my husband called to check up on them, the person on the other end said they don’t give out information about minors, even if you were the one to report the circumstances.”

“My husband wanted to know if we could take the three of them in, but that is not an option as we haven’t completed a P.R.I.D.E course, home study, and even if we had, it still wouldn’t have been a guarantee as we are not related, so they have to try close family first.”

“She was nice and sent us information about how to become foster parents in the future.”

“We aren’t sure if this is something we will pursue. My husband would need ample therapy first, but we’re leaving the possibility out there.”

The children’s home environment was worse than anyone could have guessed.

“From what my neighbors are saying and what I have gathered from her screaming session (that her daughter grassed her up about no food and electric), she won’t be getting the other three back anytime soon.”

“This is because when they paid her a home visit, they discovered that there hasn’t been electricity at her place for long periods (we all have prepayment meters in this cul-de-sac), there was very little food (although there was plenty of cigarettes, weed, and booze), and neither the bathroom nor the kitchen were clean.”

“She also accused me of being the reason why she was behind on the housework, which makes no sense to me.”

The OP’s neighbors generally agreed with how things had progressed.

“For those wondering if I was omitting details, at no time has she ever given any of the neighbor’s money, neither has there been an agreement about that. None of the neighbors said they had ever willingly watched her children.”

“Three weeks before she dumped them on my doorstep (and yes, I opened the door because she kept banging the letterbox, so I assumed she knew I was in and had no intention of leaving before I opened the door), she left them with me for four hours on a Saturday while pretending to run a ‘quick errand.'”

“My husband has also done free babysitting for her because she will use an excuse like popping to the shop for 15 minutes, which will turn into an hour, and if you text her, she will often ignore it.”

“Her ‘quick errands’ in the past range from an hour to three hours, and before the baby was born, she left them overnight with Jennifer (who was also in but didn’t want to open the door for her) to check out the lights in London (which lights she was referring to is beyond me because it wasn’t even the right season for them).”

“My neighbors feel for the children but are mostly on my side, except one that is neutral. She says it’s not her family’s business, but it sure is nice not having a five-year-old throw rocks at their car anymore.”

The OP and her husband would continue to work on their relationship.

“I will not be divorcing my husband as this is the first time he has called me a name, and with what he shared, I have more compassion and understanding for how he reacted.”

“The mildest form of abuse he received was getting his head held under cold water for not calling a foster father ‘sir,’ and at another temporary place, he was told whether he ate or not didn’t matter to the foster mothers as they would get paid until the end of the month. So whether he died or not was not their problem.”

“In the group home, he was abused multiple times by older boys and the staff, and there is still stuff he couldn’t bring himself to share.”

The OP’s husband would also be pursuing therapy.

“My husband has agreed to therapy but wants to work his way up to that. One of the counselers he worked with just before he left care also abused him. He has trust issues and he knows that, but is willing to put in the work to make it up to me and to himself.”

“I found him a YouTube channel with a therapist who talks about the type of stuff he went through. So, we are already looking at the online solution as a way to ease him into getting help. He has asked to take some days of work to process all that has happened lately.”

“Hopefully, things will improve with time and effort on his side (and mine). I am happy that he finally shared it with me although the night he did it felt like a heavy load. It has helped us get closer.”

“He is still depressed about the three remaining children and what can happen to them, but can see it from my viewpoint too. He did apologise, a few times actually and bought me a beautiful bouquet.”

“Although I still feel a little guilty about the other three and will always wonder if they will get abused due to a split second decision, I made I feel a little better about it all now.”

Some Redditors applauded the OP for looking out for the children.

“Dude, the fact that you have to put this much mental effort into someone else’s children is bats**t crazy.” – DramaticHumor5363

“Wishing you, your husband, and the children the very best. For what it’s worth, I read the original post and felt you made a caring decision for the children in a situation where no one else was willing to take action to stop what was happening to those children.”

“Yes, three are in foster care, but the others are now with their fathers and have hope for a stable family life, which they would not ever have had with their mother.”

“A close childhood friend was taken as a baby from such a situation. She was placed with a wonderful foster family, was adopted, and has had a good life. Not all foster care situations are terrible; many people who are dedicated and caring become foster parents.”

“Thank you for caring about those children, OP.” – Runns_withScissors

“I’m glad the kids are safe. The kids with fathers deserved to know what she was doing. The 68-year-old woman did not deserve to have six kids dumped on her with the hope nothing bad would happen. The other three kids I feel for, but hopefully, they find family to take them in soon.”

“Your husband needs to spend time in therapy before he becomes a foster parent. He needs to process his own traumas before taking on those of others.”

“You did the right thing in a bad situation.” – Dachshundmom5

“Had you not called, the abuse would have continued. And the fathers wouldn’t have their children.”

“As awful as the foster system can be, it isn’t any of our calls to decide the system is worse than the abuse we’ve seen. You had ample reasons and evidence to call. It must’ve been scary, nonetheless. I’m proud of you for doing so. Most don’t.”

“Best wishes to you and your husband.” – BendingCollegeGrad

“Not all foster homes are bad. Three of my cousin’s kids are in care and they’re very happy where they are. Thankfully, they’ve all been kept together and they’re no longer in an overcrowded house (there are three older kids) and, more importantly, they’re no longer being assaulted by their father.” – ninja_chinchilla

“Just wanted to chime in with another vote for the fact that you did the right thing. These children were in imminent danger and you rescued them! They clearly needed help.”

“I’m sorry people in your vicinity haven’t been supportive, especially your husband, but please know you made a very difficult decision that others are obviously unwilling to do themselves, but ultimately it was the right one.” – carmackie

Others agreed and sent supportive thoughts to the OP as her husband approached therapy.

“I’m glad your husband is going to get help. I was one of the ones who replied and told you you did the right thing. And I understood why your husband reacted the way he did, but that he needed therapy.”

“Given his past, and his past with therapy, do you think it might be possible? He could do some online therapy so that he’s still in his safe place (his home) while still being able to start working on some of his trauma.”

“I’m wishing you both the very best, as well as the kids.” – mtngrl60

“I just wanted to chime in some support for needing to work up to therapy. Smart, and good. A lot of times well meaning people will push you Just to Go, it’s pretty important that you stay ready and go slow.”

“I didn’t go through what your husband went through but I travelled nearby, and I picture it like a closet filled with stacked up boxes. Some of that stuff has NOT been stacked well and you can’t tell which with the door closed but you gotta somehow open the door and get the boxes down and sorted regardless, without completely taking over the rest of the house.”

“The thing that helped me get the door open was DBT (dialectic behavioural therapy – and I started it myself with the workbook and YouTube. It’s about navigating HOW you think and feel, rather than processing WHAT you are thinking and feeling, and it has been enormously helpful to me, over and over, as I gently coax friendship out of this feral goblin that is my inner child.

Best wishes to both of you. This healing journey will be difficult and it will be worth it.” – JudiesGarland

“You did the right thing.

Your husband does not seem to be in a state where fostering children would be healthy or appropriate, for anyone involved. The fact that he wanted to foster those kids without a thought to the fact that their mother is your neighbor is another really alarming sign of clouded judgment, and he does not sound capable of making safe and well-considered decisions about caring for children.

I really hope that he can get some help, but until then, please, please do not even entertain the idea of taking in foster children.” – PileaPrairiemioides

“Definitely NTA! As a fellow Brit, I know the system isn’t perfect, but this way, the issues are no longer hidden, and the kids don’t just have to go back to their mother’s home when she deigned to collect them from yours or the older neighbour’s house.

I would also suggest going to therapy WITH your husband, at least initially. This way, he has the confidence that you are also there to observe the therapist’s actions, and he won’t be alone with them. If he is comfortable with it he could also ask any friend/acquaintances for recommendations – again, for added confidence.

The system is very different from when he was child (whilst I acknowledge still not in any way perfect)and he is unlikely to be approved for fostering until he has dealt with his historical issues because he will fail the psych part of the evaluations.” – pandora840

“Thanks for the update. It’ll be hard on those in care, but they were being neglected at home and now have, at least, a chance of not being neglected.

I can understand why your husband reacted with his background but I’m glad he can see it was the best thing to do.

Now there’s hope for all of them, even for your husband to heal. You’ve really made a difference.” – 6033624

As problematic as the childcare system may be, this was one of those situations where the subReddit overwhelmingly believed that it was worth the risk after all the six kids had already gone through.

After all, this was a recurring pattern the mother had demonstrated, and it seemed that not only was she not equipping her neighbors with what they needed to care for her children, like baby food and other necessities, but she wasn’t even equipping her own home with those things, to make it a liveable space for them.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.