Stepmom's wanting TPR??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, I am not on here much but I am steppin in again b/c we are back to the possiblity of legal issues.

I am a stepmom of a 7 year old girl.
I dont consider her a step b/c I have been her mom for the last ....wow...almost 5 years now.

It comes down to a deadbeat biomom who owes dd tons of child support and never sees her and when she "feels" like being a mom that month she pops back in.

I dont exactly know what dd's feelings on the situation are, she's very go with the flow.
But I know once puberty sets in and all teh hormones start flowing she is going to have some major issues

Dh has full custody and full physical placement.
But this is nuts, she's 7 and hasnt had biomom be a "mom" in the emotional sense since she was 18 months old.

Dh and I both agree that we want to take biomom to court for abandonment. adn have me adopt my baby girl! Here in WI she has to not call or see dd for 6 months. SIX MONTHS. That gives her perfect time to "pop" in again wanting to be mommy.

Is anyone else like this I really need some support right now.

BTW in Nov 04 biomom called dh adn told him she wanted to give up her rights. I contacted a good lawyer and spent 3 hours on teh phone with him, called all teh agencies, got the paper work filled out.
We were just waiting to save the money to file b/c the total cost for the whole process is like $4K.
We told biomom that we could do it at the end of Feb 05.

Well come Feb. 28 05 she calls up saying she's change3 and she wants a 2nd chance ( even though this was like her 25th chance) and she wont agree to a TPR ( termination of parenttal rights) unless she gets another chance. THANKS
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#2 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 02:19 PM
 
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I have a similar situation with my boys dad. He shows up about once every 9 or 10 months for a weekend and other then that doesn't call or write or anything.

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But I know once puberty sets in and all teh hormones start flowing she is going to have some major issues
I guess I feel that once they get older (they are 4 and 6) they are going to have some issues about thier father no matter what. If he stays popping in and out on his schedule or if he just leaves it is going to be something that they are upset about and will have to work out. All I can do is support them and let them know that it is okay to love thier papa, but also be very angry about his lack of attention (which would still be an issue if he just dissapeared).

I guess that even if we did go the route of terminating custody, for a parent who is not abusive (just selfish and distracted and lots of fun for one weekend a year) I would still make it possible for my children to see him. Because I don't fear that they are going to be any more scarred by seeing him rarely then never, and I would want to keep that contact a possibility.

I don't know if I am very clear, but it seems to me that you feel if you could just get her to sign the papers then everyone (including dsd) could just forget she ever existed and things would be fine. The issue would be closed. But I feel that whether mom pops in or out sometimes or never shows up, dsd is going to have some problems to work out about her mom someday and that you would have to deal with her love or anger for her mom, and that she might want to see her mom.
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#3 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 03:14 PM
 
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I have similar feelings as the PP. For a long time, I really wished DSS's biomom would just terminate her rights, and be done with the games she was playing.

My DSS is nearly 10, and more than aware of things, and also extremely hormonal as puberty sets in. He's very sensitive, and quite honestly, he NEEDS access to her. Whether she's gonna flake or not, he's old enough to understand that life isn't always how we want it to be, and neither are other people, so we cherish what we do have from them, and hope they can get better in the meantime. Pretty much, that a mother can't be a good parent, if she's not good to herself etc (at least this is how we explaned it to DSS for a long while).

Once we relaxed, crazy enough she started becoming more consistant, and while she's still flaky from time to time, she does see him regularly etc.

In the end, I do believe that if she's popping in and out of your DSD's life, or is gone completely and you adopt her, she will still have the same issues. You wouldn't be 'saving' her from anything, it would simply make you the legal mother.

What you have to ask, is if that choice is for your DSD, or if it's more for you and your husband...? Your DSD is old enough to talk to about this, and see how she feels. She might feel alot different than you'd think...
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#4 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have never once tried to keep dd from seeing her except one time when she called and wanted to drive dd 5 hours up north to her house just days after she was in court for driving after her liscense had been revoked............this was her 8th driving after rev.

It's not just the flakey issues, her poppin in and out but also she has proven over the years that she is a dangerous human being and very irresponsible when it comes to making sure that she does everything to preserve the wellbeing of others.

I dont wanna devle onto too many details but I have feared for dd everytime she was been alone with her biomom, b/c she isnt responsible to even take care of herself and never has been ( biomom I mean not dd)

But in the overall scheme of things I think it is 99% for dd and 1% for Dh and I.
I know that no matter what I do dd is stilll going to have some issues but I dont want her to be crushed down the road by someone who is supposed to love her an dhas proved any times over many years that she really could care less.

At the same time I dont want dd to grow up thinking that the actions her biomom take are OK.
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#5 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 05:04 PM
 
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But do you understand that emotionally, the damage is done? That terminating parental rights won't truly 'fix' any of those issues?

Also, after rights are terminated and if DSD still wants to visit, will you allow it, or will you expect her to no longer have feelings for her biomother?

These are questions that NEED to be addressed now.

And addressing those, you will most likely see, that none of the issues you brought up, will truly be resolved by terminating parental rights.


I want you to know, I'm not against terminating rights, or step-parents adopting. We are doing that with my DD, but I do know that the older a child is, the more aware, and that there are MANY more things to consider...

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but I dont want her to be crushed down the road by someone who is supposed to love her an dhas proved any times over many years that she really could care less.
Even after terminating parental rights, she is STILL that person in your DD's heart and life... Just not legally... Please keep that in mind...

This won't 'save' your DD from any of the things that you want to save her from, I'm sorry I wish I could save my DSS from his biomom sometimes.... BUt, I can't. He's biologically attached to her, and as crappy a parent as she is, HE has love for her...
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#6 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 05:08 PM
 
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I dont wanna devle onto too many details but I have feared for dd everytime she was been alone with her biomom, b/c she isnt responsible to even take care of herself and never has been ( biomom I mean not dd)
As far as this goes, you could get supervised visitation. Again, that's not something that terminating rights can truly stop, epecially if your DSD still expects visits with her biomother. You CAN (whether terminated or not), have supervised visits though..

I'm sure you feel this is mainly for your DSD, but everything you've said makes it sound more like you're expecting something unrealistic of terminating rights. THat you're just expecting biomom to *poof* vanish completely, and expecting DSD to *poof* no longer love, think about, want to have contact with her biomom..

That's not realistic...
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#7 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 05:16 PM
 
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Hi, im not actually in this situation, but I have fewed it from the outside. I had a close friend who' s ex was in and out of her dd's life from about.... babyhood till...... a few years ago.. i guess she is now 13. What I saw was him popping in every 4-6 mos, wanted to see her... he went through a period of time where he saw her regularly, a couple afternoons a week for a while, then he moved, then he kept switching jobs which make child support difficult....
It was a mess, but my friend never tried to sever rights. She told him her concerns, but let him make his mistakes. I think it was a couple of years ago, her dd got on teh phone with her dad, and told him off.... I dont wnat ot be with you bc you have a bad temper, i dont see you enough, etc etc....


At this poing she still sees her father, and I think is every devoted and respectful of her mother for letting their relationship be what it is... I dont think shutting mom out is going to be the answer.... like pp's said, she is going to have some things to deal with anyhwo.... she is 7 and isnt going to forget her.
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#8 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see where you are coming from Mombirthmomstepmom

DD never talks about her, never says she misses her, never asks about her.
Nothing.
And when she is brought up by me or dh to dd ( and yes we have had many a discussion) she says ( in no uncertain terms ) that she really doesnt care one way or the other.
Christmas came and went with no contact from biomom and dd never said a thing.
Even if I dodnt have the emotional attachemnt I have to dd I would have to say that dd is very unattached to her and feels like she is more a person who drops by than someone who is dear to her.

I totally and fully andcompletely know and understand that there will be problems down the road no matter what I do.
I also understand that it may sound realistic for me to except biomom to disapear and dd to not even think about her but it wouldnt be any difrent than what goes on now.
Biomom disapears for about 5 months and dd doesnt say anything. To her I am her MOM, wether I carried her in my tummy or not.

Let me put it this way.
There was a point where dd hadnt seen her biomom in 16 months, and not b/c we held her back or hid or anything.
Biomom never said she wanted to see dd.
When dd dh and bm met up at a mall so bm could see dd it took 30 minutes for dd to even recognize who this person was.
and she never once said " you are my mommy"
All she said was " you carried me in our tummny, right"
that was the closest thing to acknowledgeing her as a parent that day.

Everytime dd has been to bm's house for a weekend this past year dd was always saying she misses her mommy and when bm said I am right here dd would say No my real Mommy.

:

dh and i have never hidden that i was not her biological parent and i have never tried to tell her i was........

also we would have to fight with the courts for supervised vists
just b/c she is the mom and see no eason no matter what has happened
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#9 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 07:51 PM
 
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What is it that you want to accomplish with terminating biomom's
rights? Your 7 year old seems very articulate and loved. Your DH
has full custody and full physical placement. I doubt biomom would
take you to court since she owes so much in CS. So what would
change? It just seems like a lot of money to fix something that isn't
quite broken. Not being snarky...just curious.

I understand the situation. My dd’s Dad hasn’t seen or talked to her
for about a year now. In the last two years she has seen him twice.
It’s a hard situation to be in. I feel for you.


-Janna, independent mother of dd, Ms. Mattie Sky born on my 25th birthday, 06*23*2000. My Mama Feb.21,1938-Sept.10,2006
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#10 of 21 Old 01-25-2006, 09:06 PM
 
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I feel for you too, I do. My DD has no clue who her father is, even though she lives with him for 3 years, he was just nothing to her. But, I'll tell you this, she remembers him, and talks about him on occasion.

I'm kinda wondering, if since your DSD is 7 years old, if maybe she feels like she can't talk about her biomom, and please don't say 'we give her every oppurtuniy' etc etc... It still wouldn't change her FEELINGS....

It jus treally does sound like your ideas on this are unrealistic, and that you're kinda trying to fix a situation that can't be fixed...

You're her mother... there you go. DO you really need papre to prove that to you? (not being nasty, but like someone else said what is it you're trying to accomplish here?)


Now, if you'd filled your replies with things about wanting to legally be able to sign for your DSD's health care, or wanting to be viewed as her legal parent by schools etc, my replies wouldn't be the same at all.... But the reasoning you keep giving just sounds more like you want this for you and not for her..

And if you did, just come out and say 'IIII want to be this girls' legal mother'... It might sound selfish, but you'd get more respect than simply beating around the bush and trying to find other reasons which really aren't making a ton of sense...
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#11 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 01:04 AM
 
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I can relate to this only in my situation biomom dosn't take care of her son but still sees him 2 times a week. This makes parenting a child very difficult, I would rather have to have him learn things the way my daughter does withher dad being gone and calling every 6 months. At least when they are not there very often they can't completely reverse everything you teach the child. But no matter how awful we think a biomom is, the child does still love them, and I wouldn't do anything to be the sole cause of that interuption...they don't forget. Its easier to help a child deal with the way a bioparent dissapoints them than it is to deal with a childs wrath when you sever an already shakey relationship. My sugjestion would be to get the child hooked up with good professional help to deal with what the biomom does and let it be. I know its frustrating...I deal with both options everyday.
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#12 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 01:06 AM
 
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[QUOTE=moonbeam7627]I can relate to this only in my situation biomom dosn't take care of her son but still sees him 2 times a week. This makes parenting a child very difficult, I would rather have to have him learn things the way my daughter does withher dad being gone and calling every 6 months. At least when they are not there very often they can't completely reverse everything you teach the child. But no matter how awful we think a biomom is, the child does still love them, and I wouldn't do anything to be the sole cause of that interuption...they don't forget. Its easier to help a child deal with the way a bioparent dissapoints them than it is to deal with a childs wrath when you sever an already shakey relationship. My sugjestion would be to get the child hooked up with good professional help to deal with what the biomom does and let it be. I know its frustrating...I deal with both options everyday.
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#13 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 01:17 AM
 
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I too am in the same situation. My son's mom only pays child support because its garnished from her wages, and she will not quit her job because she states she "cannot stand to stay home with her kids". She has not called DS in almost 3 years, and has not seen him in 5 years. My DH has had custody for over 6 years. She sends a gift card & a generic greeting card on Christmas and his Birthday. I even had him in my care 100% of the time for 2 years while my DH was in Korea and Iraq back to back. DS and I would love nothing more than for me to be able to adopt him, but BM will not allow it, and we do not have the money to go to court. I hope things work out for you!!

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#14 of 21 Old 01-26-2006, 06:53 AM
 
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Question: is there a third way? I ask because my husband has parental responsibility for my boys, but so does my ex-husband: in the UK, it comes automatically if a married/cohabiting couple apply for a residence order for the kids.
For us, the benefit is that if Isaac goes into hospital with his asthma, Steve can go with him and I don't have to leave the baby. The other big benefit, though, is that it was a commitment where Steve showed that he hadn't just married me, he'd also become a parent to my boys. It sounds like it's the last one- being able to acknowledge and legitimise the mother-daughter bond that already exists- that you're looking for, but in order to adopt you need her bio-mom to acknowledge that she's no longer parenting her daughter.
Am I way off the mark here? If not, then maybe some lateral thinking would help...

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#15 of 21 Old 01-28-2006, 01:12 AM
 
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Wow. Flapjack. I don't think the US has anything like that. Stepparents have no rights. I'm not supposed to take dss to the hospital and all that, but I do, because no one ever asks to see a birth certificate that I birthed him or anything. I just say I'm his mom, so far so good.

But the the OP. I have to agree with Mom birthmomstepmom on this one . Becoming the legal parent will only change things like doctor's visits, and maybe what would happend to the child if your dp passes away, but I didn't hear you say any of those things. You said it was 99% for her, and 1% to you and dp, but what would it change for her? Nothing really, right?

Because it would change nothing, I would hesitate to do it. How will she feel knowing her mother gave up parental rights?

I'd adopt my dss in a minute, but his mom is around so that's not going to happen. I understand wanting to do it, but if it doesn't effect her daily life, it might do more harm than good later on (her feelings about her mom).
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#16 of 21 Old 01-28-2006, 01:52 AM
 
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My biological father walked out when I was 3 weeks old. He signed away his parental rights - at my mother's request when I was 18 months old. My step-father later adopted me and he is my daddy.

From the age of about 10 until age 18-19, I was haunted by the idea that my bio-father didn't want me. Him leaving wasn't the worst part. I could certainly understand not being able to live with my mother. The part that killed me was that he signed away his parental rights.

I agree with PP who say that it certainly sounds like this TPR is for you rather than your DSD. I don't think it has any benefit at all to her and could cause a great deal of damage down the road.
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#17 of 21 Old 01-28-2006, 08:15 PM
 
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I agree with the pp. Knowing her bio-mom voluntarily terminated her parental rights could be experienced as worse rejection for your dd than a hardly-ever-there biomon. I personally would take a flaky, undependable bio-mom who flited in and out of my life before one who decided legally that she didn't want me. It isn't like adoption where termination of rights is a way to give me a great family. If I already had a geat family, her tpr would be the ultimate rejection (why did she do it - to avoid ever having to pay money, so she could stop feeling guilty for not visiting, to finally wash her hands of me).

It doesn't sound like a good idea to push for this.

I know it is hard
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#18 of 21 Old 01-30-2006, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe
I agree with the pp. Knowing her bio-mom voluntarily terminated her parental rights could be experienced as worse rejection for your dd than a hardly-ever-there biomon. I personally would take a flaky, undependable bio-mom who flited in and out of my life before one who decided legally that she didn't want me. It isn't like adoption where termination of rights is a way to give me a great family. If I already had a geat family, her tpr would be the ultimate rejection (why did she do it - to avoid ever having to pay money, so she could stop feeling guilty for not visiting, to finally wash her hands of me).

It doesn't sound like a good idea to push for this.

I know it is hard


:
Unless the child has never had any contact with the parent or they are a threat, let it be as it is- jmo
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#19 of 21 Old 01-31-2006, 02:52 AM
 
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Originally Posted by iamthesmilingone
:
Unless the child has never had any contact with the parent or they are a threat, let it be as it is- jmo
I know a sm who got this, and her skid never forgave her for mother's abandonment. They had had a good relationship but when mom termenated rights the skids went nuts on sm and blamed her. It was tragic! And so much pain!
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#20 of 21 Old 02-07-2006, 02:23 AM
 
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Bio mom has had no contact for about 6 years. We got custody when MY son was 8. He will now be 18 in July. HE wants me to adopt him. We are going to see 2 lawyers this week. I am willing to pay to go to court because I know she will not give up her rights, she has never done anything in his best interest before. We are in MD she is in GA. The law states that I have to locate her and notify her and I can not find her! I know her parents address so I have to send a letter there requesting her address and then they will in turn push her to fight.

Sad thing is, my son wants this! Said he does not want his name associated with hers and wants it removed from his birth certificate. Also, in the future should there be any inheritance from my parents or myself, I need to do this to protect him and to stop them from trying to invoke any rights to it. Also, God forbid should he become injured and unable to care for himself, she will have first right to care for him.

He is my son and after years of not being able to speak in court, being called stepmother by her family and basically have no rights, I want the greatest honor of being his mother and being recognized as what I have been to him for the past 10 years!

Sad part is, even if he is 18, he has no rights. They say it is a violation of her constitutional rights to not be notified and even if she appears in court and he is of age, the judge could still deny.

I am going to go to court but the thought of losing to her and opening up that whole can of worms just scares the crap out of me! I would love to find another case where this went through. Its amazing to me that a mother can walk away from her child so easily with no consequence yet he cant do the same.

I have been his mother and had I mistreated him in anyway, I would be charged with child neglect or abuse, they would recognize me as a parent who abused him then but they will not recognize me as a loving mother who has always put his needs first. No piece of paper will change how I feel about my son!

My biggest fear (as it has already started to happen w/ other family members) is that when he turns 18, she will come waltzing back in and then since he is of age, I have no control over what she does to him to screw him up. What gives her the right to stand by and let me go through all the hard work to just walk in and has done nothing to earn it?

Her loss is truly my gain!
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#21 of 21 Old 03-09-2006, 11:55 PM
 
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ok, skipping some posts here.

Most states have a statute called "extreme parental disinterest" which is very similar to abandonment but doesn't require the 6 month wait before filling and it sounds like you have grounds for it, especially if its going to be proceeded by an adoption. You just need to show that she's never really shown any interest. Also, if she's only doing token visits 1-2x a year you can still file for abandonment because you will be able to show a pattern of abandonment. Its that pattern the judge is looking for, if your lawyer doesn't know this then perhaps you should be finding another lawyer. You can do this and the adoption on your own with a little research and a lot of time. I know its scary but if I can do it and I had NO legal background so can you

Seriously?
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