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by Abigail Van Buren

Single Woman Can't Accept Guardianship for Three Kids

DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, my best friend asked me to be godmother to her beautiful little daughter, "Sharona." At the time she made it clear that if I accepted, she and her husband would name me as Sharona's guardian in their will. I was deeply touched that they would trust me with such an important responsibility and was happy to accept.

As she has grown, Sharona and I have developed a close bond, and I love her as if she were my own. Her parents have since had two sons, and although I am not the boys' godmother, they have now asked me if they can name me as guardian for all three.

I love the children, but I am 27, single and live 1,500 miles from my family. I cannot financially, physically or emotionally take on the task of raising three children. If anything were to happen to my friends, I couldn't bear the thought of anyone other than me raising Sharona. Would it be terrible if I turned down the request to also be guardian to the boys? -- GODMOTHER TO ONE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR GODMOTHER TO ONE: No, it would not, because your reasons are valid. However, your friend and her husband may want to ensure that their children would all be raised together if anything were to happen to them -- which it probably won't. So be prepared in case they decide they want to make other arrangements for Sharona.