Moving abroad with DC who doesn't speak the language?(17 Posts)
* x-posted under Living Abroad *
Divorced now for two years with 3 DC; eldest is 13. I'm not a British citizen but from a Southern European country. Last two years since I left my marriage have been pretty challenging; no family/barely any close friends in the UK and struggling to deal with things on my own when things go wrong, like trips to A&E with one of the DC, falling ill myself etc. XH pretty useless even in worst emergencies, he just doesn't care.
I have made the decision therefore to move back home where my parents, siblings and close friends are for support. Younger DC are too little and will be fine, but eldest worries me. She kind of understands the language but doesn't speak it, and bilingual schools in my hometown are aplenty but too expensive for me to be able to afford them.
I guess I'm after some advice on how to best handle the situation with eldest, or whether you think I should just suck it up and stay here in the UK for her sake (which I have tried for the last two years but nearing breaking point after a especially challenging weekend where everything seemed to go wrong at once and I had no one to call for help). I feel really guilty for thinking about moving but I feel run down, lonely and finding it really difficult to cope with things.
Thank you in advance for any comments.
I think that this would partly depend on your DD's personality. Is she outgoing, does she like to try new things, does she make friends easily? Can she take language lessons before she goes? Would it be possible to get her a temporary tutor when you first go there to help her learn the language and adjust? It does sound as if you really need to be closer to family and there is nothing wrong with that.
I would absolutely go home. I would want my family around me, and if you are feeling so isolated here and you are feeling so alone and so upset it is definitely time to go. I would need the support if I were in your position. If you are desperately unhappy and struggling to cope then your children will NEVER feel contentment or happiness, or a sense of ease. It is so hard raising children alone, especially in a place that you do not consider home.
With your eldest, is there no way you can find the money to fund just her education to help ease the transition and the others can go to the local school?
Does she know any of the language at the place you are moving to?
Perhaps now is the moment to start a crash course.
Children move around the world all of the time, and experience shows us that children are really resilient and adapt to new surroundings. They will be fine in the long run. It must be a positive move, one to be celebrated and enjoyed, I personally would make it feel so exciting, perhaps they can choose a little pet once you are there, a little party with the neighbours so they meet new friends, have family with you to help them feel settled and loved, and above all you are going to need to be prepared for the odd difficultly. I think you need to look at the long term, keep focused on that, your life is unlikely to improve here if you have already waited 2 years, and if you go now the change will be much easier. For every year that passes it becomes harder for the children, and for you.
Thank you both, your responses have helped a lot. DD is incredibly shy at first with people she doesn't know; once she finds her feet she's popular and finds it easy to make friends. She understands some of the language (I speak to her younger siblings in the language all day) so at a slight advantage compared to someone who's learning from scratch. Still not enough knowledge to be able to pass secondary school, which is my main worry. I like the suggestion of a tutor for those subjects she might struggle with initially because of the language, and I'll certainly look into the possibility of her attending a British school for just out first year over there to ease the transition.
Re making the move exciting, that's going to be the hardest part. She's already saying that she's not going anywhere; door slamming and crying every time I mention the move. It doesn't help that I'm about to start court proceedings against their father (he won't allow the move despite having next to no interest on them, never willing to help with emergencies such as trips to A&E, cancelling wkds with them etc); he influences her a lot and has been making she's dead against the move.
A long and hard road ahead but something must change, I cannot go on like this .
Watch out. Without express permission from your ex to remove the kids you will be in violation of The Hague convention.
You can be forcibly returned to face criminal charges and your children removed from you.
Sort out his permission first then worry about leaving
Yes I am well aware Madge, that's why I'm consulting with a family solicitor and starting court proceedings before doing anything else.
If it's possible legally do it. The school will put in place help. I live in france and the foreign kids get lots of help.
Thank you. I hope that's the case back home, I'm emailing several of the schools where I'll be living and asking them.
It's not true you need express permission. But he can expressly object, which would stall you.
Is it an option to leave her with her dad and just take the other 2 if you really want to go and she really wants to stay?
I could never leave her behind Pottering, also it would be a terrible idea to separate her from her siblings so I would her no choice but to stay here if I can't get legal permission
keeping this fact from XH of course
So the court stuff goes that if you get a residence order, I believe, you can take them where you like. Especially if he has sporadic contact and doesn't have a good, regular relationship with them.
But as I said, you don't need permission. I did not seek permission when we moved out of the country with DS. XP hadn't seen DS for 2 years at this point. I did research this extensively. I also let XP know several months before we actually moved but you can use language which suggests that it is a done deal, rather than approval seeking or apologetic language. If there is no court order in place then you can take them and he would have to actively get up off his arse and do something about it if he wanted to stop you. Which is his right - and he would have a case, though if he doesn't see them often, doesn't send birthday/christmas cards or presents, doesn't have a good relationship already, and the fact they have family there, it's a move which will improve support for you and hence quality life for them, you can talk about it being a chance for them to gain the skill of a new language, basically it's a move for sound reasons, not a spiteful move - it would be heavily skewed in your favour anyway. So it would slow you down, rather than being a dead end. I didn't think my ex would bother (and I was right) and all was well. When you get court proceedings and solicitors involved from the start, then it's much less effort for him to say "Nah actually I don't want them to do that" and then he just gets to sit back and relax while YOU have to go through court and fight to get the residence order or overrule his decision.
I would just go. Let him contest it if he wants to, but you don't gain anything by pre-empting.
Thanks Bertie but I don't know if that's entirely correct. I believe if I just get DC and leave the country with them I can be accused of kidnapping them as per The Hague Convention. I rather go through court (however painful and stressful it will be) and do things properly and gain permission to remove them from the country.
You have to do what you think is right. But certainly when I researched it this was what I found. Good luck either way
Well I apologise. You're totally right. Either it's changed since I moved, or I was reading some dodgy websites at the time. Sorry for giving wrong information!
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