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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a little background. We have adopted my twin neice and nephew. They are 27 months old and have been with us since they were 3 weeks old. My sister and bil have spent the last 2 years on drugs, and in and out of jail. As well as having adopted the twins, we have guardianship of my 12 yo neice.

My sister has 2 other children. My 16 yo neice lives with my dad and my 9 yo nephew lives with his grandmother.

There is a lot of bad blood between my sister, bil, my husband and myself. We have gotten numerous threats from my bil. Not to mention the fact that they are heavily into drugs and have a problem stealing anything that isn't nailed down.

Right now I don't want my sister seeing the twins. She has seen them maybe 6 times since they were 3 weeks old and they have no idea who she is. We have wholeheartedly encouraged contact between the twins and their other siblings, just not with my sister. She doesn't respect the fact that we have adopted them and are mom and dad to them and constantly refers to them as "her" babies.

Last October my dad gave us his house. We lived in a small three bedroom house and he had a large 5 bedroom house and it was just him and my neice, so he told us we could have his house and he would move out. We went back and forth about this because we were worried about what would happen when my sister got out of jail, but my dad really wanted to do this for us, so we reluctantly agreed.

In July the guardianship for my neice was finalized and in August the adoption of the twins was finalized. We finally feel like a family. The twins call us mom and dad


Things have been going great, at least until November 7, when my sister got out of jail and moved in with my dad


Hubby and I had to leave for a week November 10 to go to Philly where my mil was having surgery. We took our youngest (18 months) with us and left the twins and 12 yo with my 23 yo daughter. We weren't gone 2 hours when my sister called wanting to know when she was going to get to see "her" babies. My daughter told her she had to wait until we got back. Two hours later my dad called my daughter wanting to know why my sister couldn't see "her" babies. My daughter explained to him that she was just following our directions and they had to wait until we got back from Philidelphia.

As soon as I found out I called my dad and told him to quit bugging my daughter that we would deal with it when we got home. (It infuriates me that they waited until we were gone, which was totally intentional as my sister hates my hubby who is a state trooper).

The weekend after we got home we had planned on taking everyone to see Madagascar Escape to Africa then going out to dinner. It was our first time taking all three toddlers to a movie.
Well, the Sunday that we had planned our family outting, my 16 yo neice called and wanted to take the babies to her grandmothers house (something she has never done before). I told her no because we had plans for them and were going to the movies. Well an hour later my dad calls and wants to know why I won't let her take the babies.

WTF?!?!?! Since when do I need to explain myself to him??? My dad wanted to know what was wrong with her taking the babies with my sister to see their grandmother. Uhhhh, well the fact that they are SNEAKING around behind my back so that my sister can see the twins might be what's wrong!?!?!?! My neice didn't mention a word about my sister going. Until that point I hadn't really thought twice about my neice taking the twins, I just said no because we had plans. You can bet that I won't be letting her take them after that though.

My dad and I got into it on the phone. He said that my sister had been great about not bugging us about seeing the twins, (uh that's not true) and he can't understand why we won't let her see "her" babies. Well, the fact that my sister and dad are calling them "her" babies tells me that they don't get the fact that they are OUR babies now!!!!
He said my sister hasn't pushed the issue like she could have. Uh, sorry, but again they are no longer her babies and she has no rights to them, so push away


My neice is upset because she thinks we won't let her take the twins now, which is correct. After the attempt to go behind our backs and disregard our wishes she is no longer allowed to take them.

A few days before Thanksgiving I called and asked my dad if he was coming over for dinner, he said yeah, but what about my sister. I told him that she is NOT allowed in our home, so she was not invited. He told me that I was in luck, she had to work anyway. The day before Thanksgiving I got a phone call from my dad, telling me that my neice and nephew were upset and weren't coming over on Thanksgiving because my sister wasn't invited, but yet I invited my aunts and uncle and how would that look?
Well, I think it looks like I dont want my sister who is a felon/druggie/habitual thief in my home and my aunts and uncle who have never done anything to me are more than welcome.

On Thanksgiving everything kind of came to a head. I had to work and my 12 yo neice had agreed to stay home on Thanksgiving and help my 23 yo daughter with the babies, so she could cook dinner for all of us. Well, a couple days before Thanksgiving she changed her mind and wanted to go to her grandmothers late thanksgiving morning then go to see her mom (who lives with my dad
) before coming back to our house for dinner. She got very upset when I told her no. She had to wait until the babies were napping at 1:00 th en she could leave, but had to be back by 3:30 in time for dinner. All day the day before Thanksgiving she kept making comments like, "I am just a kid" "I hate holidays now because I have to clean when people are coming over" I hate having to empty the dishwasher, I shouldn't have to, I am just a kid". Omg she was frustrating the heck out of me. I see absolutely nothing wrong with her having a few chores. I know that this is coming from her mom and sister.

When my dad came and picked up my neice, my daughter reminded her she needed to be home by 3:30. My dad got angry and very defensive and wanted to know why? My daughter told him because we were eating at 4. Since he was going to come over at 3, couldnt he just bring her with him? He said no and they left. Of course as soon as I heard that I got angry and more than a little suspicious. When I told my hubby what happened he got VERY mad and called my dad. Needless to say it was a very heated "discussion". As soon as he got off the phone we went and picked up my neice and brought her home.

During the course of the discussion my dad mentioned the fact that we are living in "his" house
: I knew that as soon as my sister got out of jail something like this was going to happen. Unfortunately we were stupid and didn't get anything in writing, so we are now in the process of finding a new house. Thank goodness we still have the money from the sale of our house. We had planned on putting it into my dad's house and remodeling it, but that isn't going to happen now.

I am soooooooo tired of my dad ALWAYS taking my sisters side. SHe has stolen from him time and time again. At last count it was over $100,00. Not to mention all the stuff she has pawned. We have never done anything to him. We were the ones who totally rearranged our lives to take in the twins and my 12 yo neice when nobody else would. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE all three of them and would do it again in a heartbeat, but it has been a major adjustment to our lives. Yet we are the bad guys and are not being fair to my sister. My sister has proven time and time again that she is not trustworthy, but yet she is forgiven over and over again.

Are we wrong not letting her see the twins? Are we wrong to have conditions on her visits with the 12 yo (supervised visits only and she is not allowed to drive around with her)? My dad seems to think we are.

I am so tired of fighting everyone. It really hurts knowing that my sister can screw everyone over time and time again, but is constantly forgiven.
Yet I who have done nothing is always in the wrong.


I was so happy when we moved closer to my family, now I really regret it. I think we will be moving back to the area we were previously, which is really a bummer for my 12 neice because she is going to have to change schools. Unfortunately for her it is much closer to our jobs and you get so much more house for your money.

Argh!! I am so frustrated right now!!!!
 

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Your Dad is an enabler.
The things you've stood up on are RIGHT and will have GOOD outcomes for your five children. You are consistent, protective - both things that should be lauded and not picked on.
Chores are not the enemy - in fact it gives them ownership in the family, and feelings of accomplishment.

I say take your $, find a new house, and move ON. Just because other people want you to join their enabling behavior does NOT mean you have to.
 

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: ITA. There is no reason to subject yourself or your family to toxic situations. I would get out from under your dad's thumb as quickly as you can. How awful that he uses his gift like that.
Although, with the risk of offending, and I don't mean to at all
, I think so much irritation and emphasis on the "her babies"/"our babies" is not good at all. They are "her babies" and they will always be. You are their mama and dad, but they are "her babies" and there will always be that unbreakable bond no matter what poor decisions she made or makes, and whether they ever see her again or not. It doesn't mean she gets the right to see them or make your life miserable, but I don't think it's right to tell her they are your babies. It's not healthful for anyone involved.
 

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HUGS!! what an aggravating situation.

I know it can totally suck when the squeaky wheel, or sticky fingers, gets the attention. It's like your dad is stuck thinking of you sister as a little kid who cant help herself and whereas you act like the adult you are so he expects you to take on the burden for every conflict.

I think your conditions are reasonable. They are your children now.

Sounds like distance would be a good thing For everyone, especially your 12 yr old, who needs to be taken out of the middle.

I assume the twins will always know who their b\io-mom is?
 

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AkRotts, I couldn't read w/out responding to you mama. I have been in your shoes - my sister was an addict and I raised her son/my nephew. I am so glad that we did, however it was HARD and very stressful. I also had to deal w/the enabling family dynamics. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with all the children. I agree that moving & setting strong boundaries w/your family will really help. It certainly helped me a great deal.

If you ever want to PM me for a compassionate ear, feel free. I truly remember what this is all like.
 

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how awful.


i hope you are going to nar-anon

it sounds to me like your 12 year old should be going to alateen.

you are doing everything right.

you are in my prayers
 

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Your dad is an enabler, and rather than confront your sister he's trying to make himself feel better by turning everyone else (yourself especially) into an enabler. That way everyone will fit his twisted worldview and he won't be in conflict.

Good for you for setting limits.

I would move. And fast. This is ridiculous, all this family bickering and sneaking around. You guys would probably do better if you could be more independent and have some distance.

As for whether or not your sister should see the twins....I don't really know the situation. In general, I'd say she should. Probably not at your house (your fears of her stealing things are legit), but maybe at a family picnic or a park? In a few years your girls are going to start asking about her, or maybe asking to see her, and by then it might benefit all of you if your attitude toward your sister wasn't so angry, so negative. At some point, maybe after you move and have less family pressure, it might be good to start the slow work of repairing some relationships enough for your daughters to have a more comfortable adoption triad.

I know it's not as simple as I'm making it seem, I know there's history and hurt, but in the end you're partly responsible for the relationship your daughters will have with your sister. Your perceptions will be picked up on. Your efforts will be noticed. Your ability to forgive, to set reasonable limits, to let them know their bio mom...it's all going to count more and more as they get older.
 

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Move away from your family. Start going to Al-Anon meetings and take your 12 year old with you. It might be time for her to start learning about addiction, enabling, how others try to manipulate, etc. Definitely don't allow any of your children to be alone with any of your family members!!! They are clearly toxic, dishonest, and will try to turn your kids against you, and cannot be trusted after everything they've tried to pull this fall. Also, write your father a letter telling him that you are going to severely limit contact with your children and why, and that he has no say and can no longer try to manipulate you or guilt you into catering to your sister's addictions and illnesses like the rest of the family.
 

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No, I don't think you are wrong. I think you are thinking with a clear head. I think you are putting "the" children first. I thibnk you are worried about their well being more than your sister's ego. Maybe she needs 'conditions' set for her to understand. Say, clean and sober and attending meetings for 6 months, parenting classes (not that she gets to be a parent but to understand what she's lacking) and counseling through someone- even the pastor for 6 months before she sees ANY of the kids.

I would sit down and talk with the 12yr old. Tell her that it isn't fair for her to be the 'pawn' in the middle, and that you are actin out of love and you want the best for her. I would also tell her that you are her parents and that there are chores, as there was before her mom got out of jail. I would also tell her that if she continues to behave poorly you won't allow her unsupervised time with her mom until she is older. I agree with alateen, as well as some counseling to help her understand the dynamics- I know kids see everything we do, but for some kids it's easy to forget the details. Maybe she needs some help filling in the blanks as to WHY the situation is the way it is, and why you are so protective of her.

I don't think there is anything you could say to Dad, Sis or anyone else in the family. They aren't getting why you are so protective, and why you won't move on. I would say that moving will give you some much needed space, and that a 'change' of all things willl be good for you as a family.

FWIW- I think you are doing an AWESOME job in this situation!!!! You have stepped up to care for these wonderful children, and even though things are yucky right now it sure seems that you have a handle on the true situation. I would tell your dad and sister that you have seen the reality, and that until it's proven that she's changed she is not welcome. Period. HUGS! Sending you mad strength vibes, not that you need it but to enhance yours for now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you guys so much!! It helps so much to be able to talk to others who understand what we are going thru.

As I have told my other neices and nephew, the twins will always know where they came from. They will know who their sisters and brothers are and will be told who my sister and bil are. I am hoping that when the twins are older my sister is able to someday have a relationship with them. We just feel right now that it would be too confusing to them, especially since they are not willing to follow our rules and have lied and tried to mislead us.

I REALLY hope that all the kids continue to remain close, although I am afraid that might not be the case because of how my nephew and 16 yo neice feel about us right now. I am hoping that this will all blow over.

I have explained to my neices and nephew that the twins will ALWAYS know that they are their sisters and brother and that my 18 month old will probably think of them like that as well. The twins will think of my 18 month old and 23 yo as their sisters as well. The family dynamics are a little unorthodox, but we are trying really hard to make sure everyone feels like they belong. The kids have all been great about treating all three babies the same, which has been really important to me.

I guess I shouldn't let it bother me that my sister calls them "her" babies, but I can't help it.
Even though it bothers me, I have never said otherwise to her. I don't want to rub salt in the wound. I know this has to hurt her. I know how I would feel if it were me. Even though there are a lot of hard feelings on both sides, she is still my sister and I still love her.

I have never, nor would I ever bad mouth my sister to the kids. Unfortunately I can't say the same about her and my bil. I know they badmouth us every chance they get which is another reason we don't want them around the twins. We make sure that we never say anything negative about them in front of any of the kids.

I do hope that someday we can all have some sort of relationship again, but right now we just need some distance.

I am going to look into getting the 12 yo into some counseling, I think that is a GREAT idea and could benefit her a great deal!!! I am thinking about looking into counseling for all of us actually, I think we could ALL benefit
 

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BTW- I TOTALLY get how your sis saying that they are "her" babies drives you insane. I know that this isn't even kind of the same situation, however my MIL would always ask how "HER" baby or babies were doing. She NEVER used their names. I had a VERY difficult first pregnancy- I was hospitalized 2x, took meds daily and it felt like all my hard work to be his MOM was being stolen by my MIL when she said "MY babies" OOOOOOH makes me SO mad even today.

Your hard work and love everyday makes you their mother, mommy or momma. Your sister is their biological mother, and right now that means squat to them. Maybe someday it will mean something to them, but now YOU are the most important. I would not budge on this issue. I think you are doing great!
 

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I would move. And fast. This is ridiculous, all this family bickering and sneaking around. You guys would probably do better if you could be more independent and have some distance. quote]

: I want to also add....move as fast and as far away as you possibly can. Do not even pass go when you leave town.

How long do you think it will take your sister, under the guidance of your father, to try and have the adoption challenged? I don't know much about adoptions, but I do know they get challenged. What do you think the possibility of that would be?

Here's some
:
for you. I will say prayers that you and yours stay safeely together.
 

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Are we wrong not letting her see the twins?

No you are not wrong. Unless and until she is clean and sober and holding a job for a significant stretch would not let her near your children. And also she would have to stop referring them as her babies and certainly not trying to get them to call her mommy. My brother was a heroin addict and we had strict conditions before he was allowed near our children.

Are we wrong to have conditions on her visits with the 12 yo (supervised visits only and she is not allowed to drive around with her)? My dad seems to think we are.

Nope, she is clearly willing to undermine you with your dad. It could be detrimental to your ability to parent the 12 yo if she did that in front of her.

I am so tired of fighting everyone. It really hurts knowing that my sister can screw everyone over time and time again, but is constantly forgiven.
Yet I who have done nothing is always in the wrong.


I wouldn't fight. Bean dip method. "They are my children, DH and I decide how to parent them." Lather, rinse, repeat...

I was so happy when we moved closer to my family, now I really regret it. I think we will be moving back to the area we were previously, which is really a bummer for my 12 neice because she is going to have to change schools. Unfortunately for her it is much closer to our jobs and you get so much more house for your money.

Sounds like moving is the way to go. I wouldn't regret it at all since they are clearly more harm than help.

Argh!! I am so frustrated right now!!!!
[/QUOTE]

I would be too. But you are an angel for taking in those motherless babes!!!
 

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Would it be possible for you to find a "visitation center" halfway between the two places so that a neutral party could supervise and control the visits? Maybe the caseworker or whomever helped with the adoption would have some ideas. I know that here the visitation center can be used for supervised visit even if the state isn't involved or is no longer involved. They will also document the interaction and cut the visit short is there is something inappropriate (you'll come live with me, badmouthing your family, etc) or if the kids aren't handling it well. There is a fee ($25/parent for set up and $5/parent/visit). But it would make it so that she would have to be working to see them and be doing the travel and would NOT be allowed to be out of eye/ear shot at any point. they make the rules very clear and follow through. The best thing about this idea is that it's not on your head then if they get cut off.
I'm mean and would do the same thing if your dad wanted to see them too,it sounds like he is a big enabler and would try to do your sister's work without close supervision.

Quote:
How long do you think it will take your sister, under the guidance of your father, to try and have the adoption challenged? I don't know much about adoptions, but I do know they get challenged. What do you think the possibility of that would be?
They also document parents and children's behavior anad interactions.

And can require drug/alcohol tests before every visit.

counseling, counseling, counseling, even for the preverbal one they may be able to do some play therapy.

You are doing good and I would *so* move too. Certainly get the
out of "his" house... yesterday.

You are not wrong. If someone questions you or is being toxic, cut them off. My family "knows" where I am. They know the general area and at least one way to contact me (e-mail has been the same since I was ten.) If they want to see me, I may consider it, but I WILL NOT make an effort to make it happen. It will be on their dollar and at my convenience and within my limits.

Set healthy limits for yourself and your family and they will learn to do the same. You are doing good with the children and loving them with all you have. that is what matters. *hugs*
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Cutie Patootie View Post
Although, with the risk of offending, and I don't mean to at all
, I think so much irritation and emphasis on the "her babies"/"our babies" is not good at all. They are "her babies" and they will always be. You are their mama and dad, but they are "her babies" and there will always be that unbreakable bond no matter what poor decisions she made or makes, and whether they ever see her again or not. It doesn't mean she gets the right to see them or make your life miserable, but I don't think it's right to tell her they are your babies. It's not healthful for anyone involved.

 

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I don't think you're wrong at all. I'm a big fan of open adoption (with visitation) but only if it's right at any given time. Active substance abuse, criminal behavior, and not supporting you as the parents of the child are all deal breakers. Some things can be overlooked but those aren't things that are in the best interest of your toddlers.

Maybe down the road, if things change, but for now it doesn't sound like a good thing.
 

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I think it is so hard to be an adoptive mom when your child has been romoved for abuse or neglect. It is even harder when the adoption is a kinship adoption. In a perfect world, open adoption is best. And that gets repeated as dogma in adoption circles.

But in this case, you are right. Your twins should not be visiting with their birthmother, especially when you are not there. In my state, letting a child visit with birthparents who are not clean is grounds for removal. You would be a neglectful parent if you let the twins visit with their birthmother.

to you. I hope your father realizes the mistakes he is making.
 

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I ABSOLUTELY think you're doing the right thing. She may be clean for now, but who knows what will happen down the road and what she will expose the babies to?

I was raised by my mom and stepdad. I had contact with my biological father until I was about 6 and my mom discovered that he wasn't being truthful when he was telling her he was taking me to visit family. I'd come home and she'd ask how my great-grandma was, and I'd say, "I don't know, we didn't see her." Mom would ask where we stayed, and I'd tell her, "With some friends of his ..." My mom knew what kind of friends he had, and put an end to the visits. Luckily, he didn't push the matter. Even though I was little, I still remember things that seem "off," in retrospect.

Sadly, my father's next wife wasn't as discerning as my mom. My little sister remembers things like sleeping on a picnic table all night and walking in on my father once while he was shooting up
 
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