I want a protagonist to have to take over raising a friend's baby for ~ 2 years, fully knowing they will have the child for a long time. I want the friend to have chosen the protagonist to care for the child, potentially done up guardianship paperwork etc. During this time the parent should have very limited, if any, physical contact with the child, video chats or long distance communication is more acceptable. This is set in modern setting.

There are plenty of scenarios to make this happen, but I want one where the parent of the child is seen as a good loving parent that the audience should feel is ready to take back care of the child when the time comes to take them back. That rules out any answer such as the parent simply feeling incapable of caring for the child. While I stress I do not judge anyone in any these situations myself in interest of getting the best audience response I'd also like to rule out such things as prison time, drug rehap, or even just struggling to financially care for a child.

I might be willing to have the parent need to go get some sort of treatment for a health condition so long it's one with a predictable treatment time, ie the protagonist knows they have the child for years, there is a good reason the parent can't see the child in person during that time, and the parent is expected to be fully functional/healed after the treatment is over; though frankly given all the convoluted handwaves to set that up I'm not sure I like the health treatment option..

So why would a loving parent choose to give up most contact of their child for their formative years?

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    $\begingroup$ This is a question of character motivation not building a fictional world. We aren't here to write your story for you. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Dec 20, 2022 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ This happens a lot in certain social circles. The parent has so many work and social commitments that they hire a nanny to raise the child. $\endgroup$
    – David R
    Dec 20, 2022 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Remembering that (a) we don't brainstorm, (b) we don't help with telling stories, and (c) all character choices are off-topic (see help center), the only way this question can be answered is from the perspective of a cultural dependency - a rule of your world, not a circumstance in your story. For that we need to know about the civilization of your story, its culture, philosophies, religions, and political ideologies. We can then help weave the cultural dependency into your world. If you're simply suffering writer's block and looking for a plot rationale, please delete this question. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Dec 20, 2022 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ It may be to get the child out of a terrible situation where the child may not get a decent education or the neighborhood is too violent and the parent cannot reasonably leave. It could be the parent is being a good parent by removing the child from the situation. Sure, the child could be a good kid but if there are a couple of guys who are up to no good and they start making trouble in the neighborhood, the parent might get scared and send the kid to his auntie and uncle in... another part of the country as far away from here as possible. $\endgroup$
    – hszmv
    Dec 20, 2022 at 16:52
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    $\begingroup$ (1) Child (in the title) and baby (in the first paragraphs) are different words. (2) Assuming "child", I am sure that there are boarding schools in many countries. (3) Assuming "baby", I am sure that one can come up with many ideas. For example, the mother is scheduled for a two year rotation on the International Space Station. Or at the South Pole. Or she has to do a tour of duty in whatever country is the current designated enemy. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 20, 2022 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


Knowing the age of the child would let us write a better story for that scenario. But with the current information, I've come to some drafts:
It's not up to the parent
A tragic accident, a misunderstanding, a manipulation of the truth. If grown enough (let's say 13 y/o or older), these factors can lead the child to leave the parent willingly. "I don't wan to see you again. I wanna live with aunt/uncle Logan."
It's a little bit hard to shape up this story, but I think it would be possible.

It's not up to the parent, nor the child
Let's say some relative or co-worker of the parent is obsessed with having a child but is unable to bring any to the world. They may plan to take the child for themselves using blackmail, legal causes, etc. If the protagonist is a good person, they can be the husband or wife to the child taker. And if they are not, well it's easy to justify the actions.
It is also possible that after an honest mistake of the parent, the court decides the protagonist should take care of the child and there would be no bad intentions from the protagonist or their surrounding ones.
(Please note that your question is more of a story-making question, not a world building one. You might find more useful help in https://writing.stackexchange.com)


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