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#1 of 20 Old 12-01-2013, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 20 Old 12-01-2013, 04:36 PM
 
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Oh boy... I don't have personal experience with this sort of situation, but I would trust your instincts. If he makes you nervous, then be cautious. A year ago, he was a stranger.... this isn't like trying to regulate a relationship with a grandparent who raised one of you and who you've consequently known all your life. Having a DNA connection isn't really worth that much just in and of itself. He should be able to understand this, rather than thinking that he should instantly be able to assume a major role in the life of your DH and his kids. And his history sounds less "being in the wrong place at the wrong time" and more, at best, bad judgment... which is not an influence you want a lot of for your kids.

 

Can you hammer out a visitation schedule with DH that you are both satisfied with? I would stick with all of you getting together as a family, rather than leaving the kids with him if you feel iffy about it. 

 

I would recommend reading Protecting the Gift if you have not already. It may help you get more information about how to protect your kids from threats, and the importance of trusting your own instincts when taking care of them. 

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#3 of 20 Old 12-01-2013, 07:18 PM
 
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It absolutely makes sense to be hesitant about anyone you feel is trying to rush to commitment or intimacy.

The record you're describing for this guy is a huge flag for caution. Take it slow. If you're not comfortable, don't take it at all. Your kids won't benefit from having a comparative stranger act entitled about them.

And oh dear lord, NO, he should not get unsupervised time with them at this stage.
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#4 of 20 Old 12-01-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#5 of 20 Old 12-01-2013, 09:12 PM
 
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I think it would be completely reasonable to tell them that you are not available for a visit over the holidays from X date to Y date but if they want to come on one of A, B, or C dates that would be all right. And to recommend a nice nearby hotel. And if they get drama-y over this then they are being ridiculous. With your DH having the social issues you describe, I wouldn't imagine he's really eager to have them on hand all the time either. 

 

Is DH's mom totally tight with this guy, or is she the kind of person who just forwards things to anyone who's vaguely connected? If the latter, if you think she wouldn't be offended if you said you would rather share the pictures with this fellow yourself rather than having her do it, why not ask her? Or back off on how many pictures you send to her. Or get pictures printed and sent to her house, so she can't share them on social media without having to upload and scan, which'll maybe slow her down. 

 

I go back and forth between, "it's not really my business, it's DH's side of the family, he gets to have the say" and "but ffs those are my kids, we don't know anything about this guy!!"

 

That second position seems totally fair to me. I mean, I can get the reaction from him of "Wow, I didn't even know I was a dad, and now I'm a grandpa too, that's pretty awesome, and I totally want to get involved", but it needs to happen at a reasonable pace. If he's never even spent time with your kids, I think it would be reasonable for them to ... say, come down for a couple of days, stay at a hotel, and him and your DH do something one day, and then the next day do something as a family and not put emphasis on "this is your new grandpa" but more "this is daddy's friend Gary and we're all going to go to the zoo together" or whatever, and then they go back home. He shouldn't be up in your gourd for days or insisting on tons of time with the kids. 

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#6 of 20 Old 12-02-2013, 05:22 AM
 
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I totally agree it would make no sense to see them in person over the holidays. You would risk ruining your holiday.
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#7 of 20 Old 12-02-2013, 07:32 AM
 
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You may want to post over in the adoption forum. We'd be happy to help.
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#8 of 20 Old 12-02-2013, 03:24 PM
 
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My MIL was like that when DH and I got together, she introduced herself as "Nana" and my husbands siblings, in-laws and their kids as Uncles, Aunts and cousins. I was actually okay with that part of it because the alternative can be nasty for the kids. A friend of mine was in a blended family where the grandma on the dads side would bring treats for her bio grand kids, but not my friends' daughter. I didn't have to worry aobut my kids being left out. I did have a bit of that too-much-too-soon feeling, but there weren't any arrests or drug problems, recent or otherwise. That would have set alarm bells ringing, for sure!

 

The downside to it was, I had to get very assertive about boundaries... she would call and ask how things were going and I'd tell her some innocent story, something funny that happened or trouble one of the kids got into, just random goings-on. My husband was working evenings at that point, so I'd find out when he got home that after she was done talking to me, she'd call him and tell him she thought I'd taken issue with something she said. I would change the topic when she got too intrusive about sometihng but she wasn't hurting my feelers or anything... anyway, he'd come home and ask if I was okay or he heard there was a problem with his mom and I'd be baffled. Then he'd rehash what she'd said and it'd turn out that she took issue with our parenting and it was her way of putting a bug in his ear about how she thought we should have handled a situation.

 

There'd be so much drama over the things kids do that you have to set them straight about but are par for the course...  like my then-5 year old daughter had flipped the bird at the crazy mean lady who lived upstairs from us (LOL, I was actually kind of proud of her for that, but of course I'd had a stern talk with her about not making that gesture at people and told her stay clear of the neighbour) MIL thought I should have marched DD up there and forced an apology out of her, and I said that I don't think DD feels sorry, this is an adult that is bullying her 8 year old brother. She tried to get DH to step in and handle the (already handled) situation since I wasn't taking her advice. I learned that I just can't share that kind of thing with her, and that I needed to limit my interaction with her in general, but until I did something was popping up like that every week. 

 

The difference between my situation and your is, my DH has had a relationship with his mom his whole life, so he had no issue telling her she already had her kick at the parenting can, she needs to back off and let us find our way. Is your DH usually good at setting boundaries with extended family? It sounds like the grandpa is a little bit in the position that your DH was with his bio mother... that the relationship isn't turning out like he would have hoped. Do you know anything about the grandpas relationships with his other kid/grandkids? It may jsut take him some more time to figure out that he isn't going to be as involved as he'd like.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#9 of 20 Old 12-02-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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The reason that "They're his family, let him set the boundaries" usually applies is because usually he has a far deeper relationship and knowledge of the family member than you do. In this situation, you both know DH's biodad equally well- and he's setting off your red flags like woah (understandable!). I think you're completely in the right to set boundaries between this man and your kids, at least until your DH knows the guy way better. I also think it's reasonable to ask your MIL to stop sharing pictures because he publically posts them and that makes you uncomfortable.

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#10 of 20 Old 12-04-2013, 05:19 AM
 
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They are are always posting about the social life they have and family gatherings, and they don't seem to get that we're not like that.  Not that that's a BAD thing, but we're more... introverts?  Child-oriented, maybe?  Heck, DH is on disability because he has issues leaving the house and being social (PTSD).

 

I think this may be a huge part of the problem here. You and your DH are introverted and live an introverted lifestyle, his biodad is extroverted and leads and extroverted lifestyle (with all the good and bad that comes along with it). If this guy appeared in MY family's life as the only remaining candidate for Grandpa, criminal record and all, we'd probably be seeing each other frequently on the some of the frequent visits that we had been making all along to see the grandmas. Our adopted son's other mother (who we see frequently) posts pics of him on Facebook and we don't care, even though some of her Facebook friends are no doubt sketchy as all hell. The pics are innocuous and don't reveal our name or address, and that's all we care about. We're extroverts, family is a more-the-merrier situation unless the relative in question is a complete jerk. 

 

There's no right or wrong here, just different kinds of folks. As the introverts in the situation, maybe you and DH can come up with a concrete plan that is tolerable for you and propose it? A day at the zoo when you are in town anyway to see the grandmas this spring? "Grandpa" might be less pushy if he had something concrete to look forward to. 

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#11 of 20 Old 12-04-2013, 07:24 AM
 
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They are are always posting about the social life they have and family gatherings, and they don't seem to get that we're not like that.  Not that that's a BAD thing, but we're more... introverts?  Child-oriented, maybe?  Heck, DH is on disability because he has issues leaving the house and being social (PTSD).

 

I think this may be a huge part of the problem here. You and your DH are introverted and live an introverted lifestyle, his biodad is extroverted and leads and extroverted lifestyle (with all the good and bad that comes along with it). If this guy appeared in MY family's life as the only remaining candidate for Grandpa, criminal record and all, we'd probably be seeing each other frequently on the some of the frequent visits that we had been making all along to see the grandmas. Our adopted son's other mother (who we see frequently) posts pics of him on Facebook and we don't care, even though some of her Facebook friends are no doubt sketchy as all hell. The pics are innocuous and don't reveal our name or address, and that's all we care about. We're extroverts, family is a more-the-merrier situation unless the relative in question is a complete jerk. 

 

There's no right or wrong here, just different kinds of folks. As the introverts in the situation, maybe you and DH can come up with a concrete plan that is tolerable for you and propose it? A day at the zoo when you are in town anyway to see the grandmas this spring? "Grandpa" might be less pushy if he had something concrete to look forward to. 


The problem is that they aren't dealing with the bioparent of an adopted child. It's a very different situation. Your son cannot have much of a relationship with his mother without your help and support- the OP's husband can have a very good relationship with his biodad without the man getting to know the children until both parents feel comfortable letting this stranger have a relationship with their children. This man has a criminal record and is violent, he's already been deemed unfit to raise children and had his daughter taken away because of it.. That is not normal extrovert behavior. This is not an "introvert vs extrovert" issue. This is a "a near-stranger with violent tendencies who's been proven unsafe around children is trying to force his way into our children's lives just because he had a one night stand with some chick decades ago" issue.

 

In what way, exactly, is a violent man with a history of not being able to properly care for his own children who is constantly harassing near strangers to see their children and not respecting their boundaries not a complete jerk?

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#12 of 20 Old 12-04-2013, 01:52 PM
 
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The OP doesn't seem to think he's a jerk, or a danger to her kids. She thinks he's excited to be a Grandpa and has a dramatic/sociable temperament. She also thinks that she doesn't know enough about him yet to be comfortable around him, which is totally valid, but leads to the question of how she can get that knowledge in a safe way that doesn't emotionally stress her beyond what's bearable. 

 

I learned the hard way (as a foster parent) that people who get their kids taken away by social services are not always unfit. Sometimes they're just too poor for a lawyer. I'm not saying let the man babysit, I'm saying the OP is right not to automatically exclude him from being a Grandpa because of his record. 

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#13 of 20 Old 12-04-2013, 02:56 PM
 
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I'm also a foster parent and agree with Smithie. I have two open adoptions, to varying degrees. Just because a person could not parent a child at a particular point in time, does not mean that they do not have something valuable to offer.
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#14 of 20 Old 12-09-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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I did one of those personality tests and came out exactly in the middle when it came to the question of introversion/extraversion. Im with the bio Grandad when it comes to 'the more the merrier', and i think children benefit from this enormously. 

 

However, whether or not this man has a record, is beside the point. He is a quasi stranger and you need to be wary. Ie, no time unsupervised.  It doesnt matter whether he is related or not, a criminal or a saint. You dont know him well enough yet.

 

However, make time to spend with him in ways that keep your children safe, but allow them time to bond with someone who loves them, and is part of an extended  family. I guess it calls for planning and boundary setting.

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#15 of 20 Old 12-09-2013, 07:24 PM
 
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I also don't have any experience in this realm, but second the poster that said to trust your instincts.  We Moms have an uncanny ability to feel when something just isn't quite right.  If he tends to be :in the wrong place at the wrong time" so much, who is to say he won't attract that same drama when spending time with your kids or DH.  I think I would tread lightly and see if it burns itself out with DH and see if he starts to see the real version of the man, not the rose-colored glasses view that he wants to see.  Until then, I would make sure all visits with him are on your terms and under your supervision.  Just my two cents!  Good luck!


~~~Jennifer~~~

Mama and stepmama to DSS1 (16), DSS2 (12), DSS3 in heaven, DD1 (9), DSS4 (8), DS1 (7), DD2 (1) and DS2 due spring 2014!

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#16 of 20 Old 12-10-2013, 07:17 AM
 
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 I would make sure all visits with him are on your terms and under your supervision.   

I second this no matter what the circumstances, whether or not there are rose colored glasses (its his bio dad after all). 

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#17 of 20 Old 12-12-2013, 11:03 AM
 
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Oh, absolutely, supervision. That would be necessary even if the man were a US Senator (maybe especially then - just kidding!). Nobody was suggesting that the OP leave her kids with a stranger - just that she give the stranger a chance to develop a relationship with them and earn their trust, or not, depending on how things develop. 

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#18 of 20 Old 12-12-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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Another thought given the 'drama' factor that seems to revolve around the grandpa and his apparent lack of boundaries... it could be a good idea to learn about 'grandparents rights' in your area so you can avoid giving him any footing incase he tries to strongarm you into giving him his way.


~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.

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#19 of 20 Old 12-12-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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Grandparents become legal strangers when termination of parental rights takes place.
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#20 of 20 Old 12-12-2013, 01:42 PM
 
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Okay, but in my province anyone who has been a regular part of a childs life has the right to make an application for access rights to that kid... they call it grandparents rights, but a step parent, aunt or uncle, close family friend, anyone at all can make an application. Now, whether they get anywhere with it? I don't know. But opening the door and allowing regular access for a period of time might give the grandpa some legal oomph that he wouldn't currently have. Like I said, I have no idea, it varies so much between provinces/states and it's good to know what you're getting into.


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