Ok, I got this vicious email from ds's grandmother saying that they are worried that I am cutting them off from their grandchild because I haven't returned ds's dad's calls yet. UGH!!!! I was dealing with 2 deaths in the family while trying to move! I called and got her answering machine and when I got Biodad he wouldn't give me a word in edgewise, so I had it and sat down and wrote the long awaited email to them all. Before I sent it, I got an apology but sent this anyway. I am going to post it here. Will you guys read and tell me what you think?
Here it is:
Dear (Grandmother), (Grandfather), and (Biodad),
I am writing this in lieu of calling each of you back. I have to write this to you because I won't be able to get it all out on the phone, and I have several issues that I need to cover.
First of all, I am concerned by (Biodad)'s sudden interest in having contact with (ds) since the wedding. I seriously question his motivation for this. He called twice in the month of February and once in March. This is the same number of times he has called ds in the last 3 years. I am afraid that it has more to do with being threatened by (ds)'s relationship with my husband than it does to do with (biodad)'s recent employment status, as it doesn't cost much money to call once a month or to send letters regularly.
I want to stress that I have every desire to do the right thing for my child, however, I want (biodad) to understand that (ds) is not a toy that can be picked up and put down at will. He has feelings and eventually he will realize the impact of (biodad)'s inconsistent contact when he is older. (Biodad) has a nine-year history with me of not following through on promises and not being consistent. I am concerned about (Biodad)'s sudden request for more contact with (ds), because I do not wish for (ds) to be subjected to the disappointment that would surely follow should (Biodad) suddenly stop when he is distracted by his career or relationships in the future as he has in the past.
I have sought advise from a family therapist and feel that I have developed a reasonable plan:
1) You may all have unlimited contact with (ds) through letters and cards. I will promise that every letter you send to him will be answered by him.
2) You may call him once a month to check on him and see how he is doing. I will email you if the number to contact (ds) changes.
3) You may continue to see him twice a year (once in the summer and once over winter break) for a week at a time. He will not be allowed to visit if he is required to go on a non-direct flight by himself. He will also not be allowed to go on visits while school is in session as we are now under a private homeschool that requires attendance.
I feel this is more than reasonable as it allows you the same number of visits you have had for the last 4 years and allows for more phone calls than either (Biodad) or (Grandmother) and (Grandfather) have ever taken advantage of in the past. However, here are my stipulations:
1) I am not going to have contact with you all except to set up visitation. I will email you if the number to reach (ds) changes, and we can set up visitation twice a year via email or, when necessary, via the phone. My decision to reduce our contact has nothing to do with my husband. He has no opinion on this matter. This is a personal decision made by me and has to
do with the way our previous contact has been emotionally disruptive to me.
2) Your contact has to be consistent. If your contact with (ds) becomes inconsistent and hurts my son, then I will be forced to make some changes. I am mostly concerned with (Biodad)'s contact being inconsistent due to his history.
3) You are not to put (ds) through any type of evaluation whether it be educational, physical, mental or emotional, without my express written permission. I understand that both (Grandmother) and (Grandfather) are in careers in the public school industry and are concerned about my decision to homeschool. I also understand that you both disagree with my decision to not medicate (ds), however, as his custodial parent and his sole guardian it is up to me to oversee his schooling and his medical treatment. If (ds) is evaluated for anything while in your care, I will be forced to seek legal redress.
4) All mail should be sent through the mail service we have in (city). The address is: XXXXXXXXXXX. This will ensure that we get the mail as soon as possible without losing any mail in the process of a move.
5) (ds) is not to be forced to call (Biodad) "Daddy." For the first 3 1/2 years when (Biodad) was absent totally and for the last 4 1/2 years when he had minimal contact, he has always called (Biodad) "Birthdaddy" or "Birthdaddy (Biodad)" and called my father "Daddy" or "Grandaddy." He calls my husband by his name or sometimes "Dad" when we are in public and he doesn't want to explain the stepfather relationship. I understand that the name "Birthdaddy" is bound to be embarrassing in front of your friends and family, but it is what the family therapists recommended at that time for an absent or minimally present father. I feel that (ds) should be allowed to change this at his wish but not at anyone's insistence.
Finally, I want to address the issue of the child support. This issue is irrespective of your contact and visitation with (ds), however, I believe that if (biodad) is truly sincere about his desire to finally do the right thing where (ds) is concerned, then he will follow through with the court order that is currently standing. Back support for the four years during which (biodad) paid no support has been ordered and has never been paid. Also, there is a standing order for (bio) to put (ds) on his insurance that has never been fulfilled. His current support payment is set at the rate for an unemployed father and assumes that I am making a livable wage. Since neither of these situations are currently true, I could easily get (ds)'s support payments raised. I would rather not have to go back to court as I feel that this would create such acrimony between us that it would be harmful to (ds). However, (bio) and (Grandmother) both told me repeatedly that (biodad) was not paying support for all those years so that he could go to school, get a good job and support (ds) better in the future. If this was sincere, (biodad) should voluntarily increase the payments he is currently making. The current payment of $(paltry sum) a month doesn't even cover half the cost of including (ds) on my husband's insurance, not to mention the costs of food, clothing, living expenses, dental and medical treatment, school supplies and fees, etc.
I would have rather not have had to deal with writing this out at such a emotional time in my life as I am dealing with the deaths of two of my close family members, however, I felt that it could not wait after receiving (Grandmother)'s email that implied that I was denying you all the right to be in contact with (ds). I am sure that this is not the answer you were desiring, but I feel that I am being overly generous, not out of respect for your rights, but out of respect for my son's rights.
If you wish to begin your monthly phone calls, you may reach (ds) at XXXXXXXXX. I will notify you if the number to reach him changes.
P.S. (Grandmother), I just received your email. While I do accept your apology, I am going to stand by my decision to limit our contact to setting up visits. I just don't feel that we will ever see eye to eye on these issues and I can't take the continued conflict over this.
Ok, tell me what you think? Fair/No?
I hope this wasn't confusing with me having to dub the names.