Opinions needed-DP wants to adopt my DS - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My partner and I started dating just weeks before DS was born. We moved in together when DS was 6 months. DS is just a few weeks shy of 1 year now and DP has been mentioning wanting to adopt him. I feel lucky that I could give DS the oportunity to be raised in a home with two parents who love him.

BUT, I have a few reservations and last night we got into our first fight/arguement about this. DP has a 20 year old daughter from a previous marraige. A lot of stories I have heard about how DP raised her daughter go against my parenting philosophy. She asked if I really want her to adopt. I said yes, but we needed to talk about a few things first. I told her that if something were to happen to me and she were left alone with DS, there are ways I would like him raised and priorities I have that may be different from her priorities.

So first I said that I don't think you should leave a child under 1 year old(We may have a second child someday). She asked what I meant by that. I said that some of the stories I had heard about her DD, she did leave her. (When her DD was under a year, she left her DD with her grandma and went on a weekend trip with a new girlfriend. Then after the weekend, she decided to stay longer and ended up being gone for over 2 weeks.) DP got defensive immediately and said I was being harsh and judging her and she was young. I said that I wasn't judging her but there are things she did with DD that I would like to do differently with DS.

She withdrew, went to bed and didn't talk to me for 3 hours. I had barely scratched the surface of things I would like to bring up (example: locking a 2 year old outside becase they won't stay out of your bedroom at night or giving a 7 year old cash and saying they are on their own for dinner.) We did end up talking more later with her saying she was mad and wasn't sure she wanted to adopt now and she needed to take a step back. We talked about a few more things Iwas worried about - I was very careful to bring them up as generic topics and not as they relate to how DP raised DD.

I would like the advice of my MDC friends. Am I being too judgemental or unfair? Is how DP raised her DD irrelevent to our current situation?

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#2 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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pranava, sounds like your DP could have changed alot since her DD was young... remember that. however, i don't think you are asking too much by requesting there be some sort of agreement concerning DS if something were to happen to you. maybe it's a bit early to make this BIG decision... take some time. if you are going to be together forever then waiting a few months, or even a year, isn't all that long in the scheme of things. that's my HO, anyway... good luck!

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#3 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pranava View Post
DP got defensive immediately and said I was being harsh and judging her ...

She withdrew, went to bed and didn't talk to me for 3 hours. ...
This part is relevant. You need a co-parent who won't run away from difficult discussions.
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#4 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Don't confuse adoption - a piece of paper with tremendous social and legal significance - with co-parenting.

I'm betting your partner's ideas about how to parent have changed a lot in the last twenty years.

Her adopting your son does mean that she will then become the primary parent.

Why does she want to adopt him?

I think you need to have two (preferably separate) conversations - one about parenting and how the two of you co-parent, and that conversation should go on as long as you are both involved in your son's life, and a conversation about what it means for her to adopt your son or not.

Does your son have another parent? That might be a consideration too.

Are you attached to the idea of being a single parent?

It seems to me that you moved in together very early in parenting and it's still very early in your relationship, so it may be a situation where you need to give it some time and some space and see how it develops.

Definitely lots of talking to do and lots of questions to think about.

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#5 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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Wow, what a tough situation.

Pranava, I think it is amazing that you are even willing to consider adoption so soon in to this relationship after your previous heartache. You are a stronger person than I.

As far as your DPs ability to parent your DS to your standards... Is there anything that DP has done *now* that you don't agree with? What she did 20yrs ago as a young, much less mature parent could be vastly different than what she would do now.

But I also agree that you need to be able to talk about these things. Her shutting down is not a great way to communicate about parenting. Though maybe she has some guilt over some of the things she did when she was younger and was embarassed to say so. Also, even if she stands by her parenting choices then... it is still hard to hear someone criticize your parenting techniques.

And don't feel bad about being particular. Adoption is a HUGE step and not to be taken lightly. I would even suggest taking that out of the equation for now and just focus on being co-parents and what you both envision that to be. Then work on that for a while longer and explore the idea of adoption again somewhere down the road.

Huge hugs. I was excited to see you updating but was sad to see this post.

How is everything else?

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#6 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
This part is relevant. You need a co-parent who won't run away from difficult discussions.
Yes, I agree and brought this up with her later. There will be many difficult decisions and conversations that we need to be able to have freely.

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Originally Posted by FtMPapa View Post
Why does she want to adopt him?


Does your son have another parent? That might be a consideration too.
No other parent in this situation. She wants to adopt so she will always have legal rights to custody of DS should we break up or something happen to me.

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Originally Posted by smartycat View Post
As far as your DPs ability to parent your DS to your standards... Is there anything that DP has done *now* that you don't agree with? What she did 20yrs ago as a young, much less mature parent could be vastly different than what she would do now.

How is everything else?
I do agree that was a long time ago and a lot has changed for her. I also agree that she probably does feel a little guilty about some of her previous parenting choices.

There have been some things now that make me have reservations. At 7 months DS pulled our hair A LOT. DP pulled DS's hair to teach him not to pull hair. I ignored it the first time but spoke out against it the next time. DP said it's what she did with DD and it worked. That makes me wonder if other paterns with DD will be repeated. There are a few other minor things like that that I disagree with and we have just barely entered the discipline territory with him.

Maybe it sounds all bad, but she is a very loving person who would give DS ANYTHING. Adoption is just such a huge thing for me. I feel like I'm giving my son away. I feel very protective and somewhat possesive

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#7 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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wow. adoption is such a big step. and i think there are still many issues surrounding it should a break-up happen in the future (not saying you will break-up, just making a statement!

i would also be concerned about the lack of communication during your discussions. not acceptable in a partnership imo.

while dp and i are mostly on the same page about parenting techniques there are still some areas where we have ongoing discussions - discipline being one of them. but we do talk through everything and come to an agreement in 100% of these talks.

i think you need to have more discussions before making a decision! good luck!

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#8 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 02:40 PM
 
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I definitely wouldn't be ready to do an adoption 1 year into a relationship. Maybe after three years? You could still make your dp the legal guardian of your ds in the case of your death, and of course you could still allow visitation/shared custody post break-up, but if I were you I wouldn't feel ready to give up my ability to change my mind about those things so early in a partnership. Adoption would make you equal parents in the eyes of the law and the federal government. I would still want to hold more control than that were I in your situation.

My wife and I didn't get around to doing the adoption for 3.5 years after our twins were born; there is no need to rush. Take your time. Wait until you're sure.



Lex

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#9 of 15 Old 03-10-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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One year into a relationship is much too soon to consider giving someone a permanent, legal relationship with your child, in my opinion. Adoption means your DP is making a LIFETIME commitment to be your child's other parent. She will have equal rights in that regard to you. If you break up and have disagreements, the terms of your interactions with your child will be subject to court rulings on custody, visitation, and financial support. Would you be comfortable, for example, having your child live part time at your ex's house and part-time at yours, should that situation come to pass?

I'm wondering who is the current legal guardian of your child in the event of your death. Do you still feel comfortable with that arrangement? You could certainly change your will to have your DP fill that role if that's something you are both comfortable with.

In the meantime, if she is functionally a co-parent, you need to be able to have clear and honest discussions about parenting. I don't think you need to agree on everything, but you need to be able to see each other's point of view, and be able to compromise.
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#10 of 15 Old 03-11-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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My two cents - If you are having any second thoughts about DP adopting your child, then you should wait... especially this early in the relationship. I agree that it might be wiser for you to first consider making DP legal guardian in case of your death, but it sounds like you may not even be comfortable with that. In my opinion, these are things you need to be absolutely sure about.

On the other hand, as far as parenting technique, I'm sure DP has changed and grown a lot in the past 15-20 years. Observe DP with your DS over the next year or two, and then decide if she should have legal rights to your son. You are obviously aware you both have a lot of talking to do, but she should respect whatever decision you come to. Don't be afraid of hurting DP by telling her you want to wait. DP should understand. Maybe even put a time limit on it, so it doesn't seem so indefinite.

Good luck!!!

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#11 of 15 Old 03-11-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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I wouldn't make such a life-altering decision in the first two years of a relationship. Give the new relationship energy buzz a bit of time to wear off and then re-evaluate.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#12 of 15 Old 03-11-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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it seems like most of your concerns about dp are related to coparenting rather than anything legal. but you have already made the decision to coparent by having her move in and help raise this child with you. that would be my main concern at this point.

is this the person you want to raise your child with you or without you separate from a legal adoption? once you have answered that question and you think she is then the adoption question may fall into place. perhaps you are hesitating about the adoption because you aren't sure you want her to coparent.

Me, DW , and DS born 7/6/10
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#13 of 15 Old 03-13-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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hmmm. are you married or considering getting married to this dp? because if you aren't i can see how allowing her to adopt your son could be like putting the cart in front of the horse.

if you have any reservations or hesitations about her adopting your son, i don't think you should do it. sure, she may have been young and she could have very well changed, but it seems like the things that you have mentioned are concerning to you because they are happening in the present and that past is reconfirming for you that they are a pattern.

honestly, i would say hold off until you feel ready. the legal adoption is a serious thing, because if in the future, you decide that you made a mistake or her parenting habits continue, then you will be obligated to allow your son to have visitation and what not.

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#14 of 15 Old 03-14-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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Adoption only 1 year into a relationship? No way, maybe after several years and you know for sure you can deal with this person and there parenting style would I consider adoption. I had both my kids as an SMC and even after 5 years I wasn't totally on board with my ex adopting. I thought I might be but after we broke up I was soooo glad we didn't go that far. But 1 year in? NO WAY, have you even discussed marriage/union? I would think that would come wayyyy before an adoption was considered and I'm anti-marriage! Point is, I would want to be sure we both felt with no reservations, no matter how small we were life partners before I gave them legal rights to my children.

Seriously?
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#15 of 15 Old 03-14-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pranava View Post
My partner and I started dating just weeks before DS was born. We moved in together when DS was 6 months. DS is just a few weeks shy of 1 year now and DP has been mentioning wanting to adopt him. I feel lucky that I could give DS the oportunity to be raised in a home with two parents who love him.

BUT, I have a few reservations and last night we got into our first fight/arguement about this. DP has a 20 year old daughter from a previous marraige. A lot of stories I have heard about how DP raised her daughter go against my parenting philosophy. She asked if I really want her to adopt. I said yes, but we needed to talk about a few things first. I told her that if something were to happen to me and she were left alone with DS, there are ways I would like him raised and priorities I have that may be different from her priorities.

So first I said that I don't think you should leave a child under 1 year old(We may have a second child someday). She asked what I meant by that. I said that some of the stories I had heard about her DD, she did leave her. (When her DD was under a year, she left her DD with her grandma and went on a weekend trip with a new girlfriend. Then after the weekend, she decided to stay longer and ended up being gone for over 2 weeks.) DP got defensive immediately and said I was being harsh and judging her and she was young. I said that I wasn't judging her but there are things she did with DD that I would like to do differently with DS.

She withdrew, went to bed and didn't talk to me for 3 hours. I had barely scratched the surface of things I would like to bring up (example: locking a 2 year old outside becase they won't stay out of your bedroom at night or giving a 7 year old cash and saying they are on their own for dinner.) We did end up talking more later with her saying she was mad and wasn't sure she wanted to adopt now and she needed to take a step back. We talked about a few more things Iwas worried about - I was very careful to bring them up as generic topics and not as they relate to how DP raised DD.

I would like the advice of my MDC friends. Am I being too judgemental or unfair? Is how DP raised her DD irrelevent to our current situation?
No your not being unfair. This is YOUR child. You have a right to worry about him. Your DP sounds immature at this point, she needs to deal with the criticism...and realize that her parenting choices were wrong, dangerous, and harmful. She did say she was young when you brought an issue up with her...so she could possibly be realizing that it wasn't right.

Work with her and see how it goes...no need to rush.
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