J.G. asks from Cincinnati, OH on December 13, 2010
My Daughter's "Grandparents" Want Visitation: What to Do?
This is not about my parents--I can figure them out on my own, for the most part.
This is about my daughter's "grandparents" on her dad's side. Her dad is mentally ill. His mother is in control of the family (I'm sure you know the type), and she has been pure evil since the day she knew I was pregnant. I'm understanding about her being upset about that, I'm even understanding about the fact that she chooses to hate me (even though she hates me for 1 reason: I got pregnant-not on purpose-by her son). What I can't understand is how she could put her contempt for me, and her need for control above her own grandchild.
It's a long story, but the entire time I was pregnant she did some things that could have had really serious consequences to my health (messing with my med insurance, phone, etc). That's not even to mention the unsurmountable amount of stress she helped to put me under. Honestly, I do believe that if I had nowhere to go during that time, that she would leave me on the streets--and that was during the huge snow storm last year--and i think that, because it almost did come to that..
My daughter is 10 months old now, and she has not called me one time to ask about her. She came to the hospital when she was born, didn't talk to me, held my daughter, and then left.
Recently, they've been trying to get visitation. At first I fought that hard, without doubting myself at all, because clearly they have no regard for her well being. They only asked for visitation when I asked for child support.
After a lot of thinking, I decided that if they really wanted to be involved in her life, that I would allow it as long as they could be reasonable. I decided this because I want my daughter to have a lot of people to love her, and if they love her, then I don't want to deny my daughter of that. Also, they have visitation with his other daughter, and that seems to go well. So, I approached his mom about it via text message.
She refuses to talk to me, she is very juvenile. Her son has another daughter by a different woman, and when the other woman drops her daughter off with them, His mother does not even look in the other woman's direction. She hates us for giving her son's children life. That's the only reason. We both got pregnant very quickly after meeting her son, we were both practicing safe sex, and we've come to the conclusion that he must be very fertile. I don't know what else to say about that.
Anyway, I said the following to my daughter's "grandmother":
If you would like to see my daughter, I am ok with that as long as we can agree on a few basic things:
1.) I don't want my daughter being aware of any animosity between us. I had to grow up feeling torn, and I don't want that for my child. I have made it a point to not say anything bad about you all in front of her, and I would like to know that you all will do the same. I don't care if you like me, but I don't want her to know about it if you don't. A child doesn't need to be in the middle of her adult family's personal problems. She just needs to be loved.
2.) I want you and your husband to supervise her visits with her dad at all times (this one is a given, no one has any problems with this--he is mentally ill)
3.) The lines of communication need to be open, and amicable. I am not interested in fighting with you people, and my daughter has medical conditions that require me to know how she's feeling/acting. If you are not going to be able to look at me long enough to tell me how things went with the visit, or able to talk to me on the phone, or communicate with me in some other way, then this will not work.
4.) I will not deal with games, manipulation, or lies.
5.) If you can provide a safe place for her to sleep, bottles for her to drink her formula, a sippy cup, and a car seat to ensure safe transportation--especially in the case of an unexpected emergency, I will provide: formula, diapers, baby food, snacks, meals, drinks, diaper cream, toys, and clothes ALL FOR YOU TO KEEP AT YOUR HOUSE.
Later that night, I got a text message from my daughter's dad (mind you I sent this message to his mother--stressing open amicable communication) saying that it wouldn't be a good day for my daughter to see them in the morning because he was "concerned about the weather". Clearly--this was a total BS answer.
I called them out on the BS answer and I said I was not going to play games like this, and if this was how things were going to go then count me out of this deal. I said, if you need more time to think about it then just say that, but do not give me lies. I'm not doing that with you people again.
Then her dad called me yelling at me, telling me I was being a b""ch for expecting him to buy bottles, a carseat, and a play yard or something safe for her to sleep in. He said I was being unreasonable. This all of course, was coming from his mother. I know from experience.
If they were to somehow get visitation, it would be supervised by a social worker. Also, I'm pretty sure they'd have to provide more than just somewhere to sleep, a bottle, and a carseat, right?
So, I tried to reason with his mother, who then ignored me. So I told her that while she was paying her attorney fees for the court she was going to go to, all so that she didn't have to "bow down" to my "Demands" she needed to remember where her priorities were--and that her foolish pride was more important than her own grandchildren. With the other woman, his mother refused to buy diapers (the only thing requested by the other woman) for while his other daughter visited them. Keep in mind, this entire time, he has not been paying child support.
What should I do? I want to say to hell with them, but I do want my daughter to have family. I guess I need to know if I'm right in thinking that they are not good people to have her around. I don't think they would treat HER badly--but I can't stand them.
K.B. answers from Tulsa on December 13, 2010
Make them go to court. Get SUPERVISED visits where they have to pay for the superviser. I would NOT allow my child to visit total strangers.
Why can't they come visit at YOUR house?
And you should be printing out and documenting EVERYTHING.
7 moms found this helpful
L.D. answers from Las Vegas on December 13, 2010
Your daughter is only 10-months old. Her father has a mental illness. His parents won't talk to you or even look you in the eye. Do you really feel comfortable dropping your daughter off for unsupervised visitation with these people? I don't think I would be. In fact, I know I wouldn't.
Family takes all forms. Sometimes the one you are born with are not necessarily the ones that are right for you. In light of what you have told us about them, honestly, you are better off forgoing the child support and raising your daughter on your own. Your ex's family is way too troublesome to be worth any kind of financial support that you will get from him. I don't usually give this advise because I believe that children should know both sides of the family and fathers should take responsibility for their children even if they were not in a committed relationship or their conception was unplanned, but the things that you have told me about him and his family are very unsettling and I just don't think that it is a healthy relationship for you and your daughter to maintain. Maybe somewhere down the line, things may change for them but not right now. Better off safe (and sane) than sorry.
5 moms found this helpful
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on December 13, 2010
Let the court settle it. See if she wants her enough to go to court and then you'll have a better chance of incorporating your requests into the agreement.
4 moms found this helpful
L.A. answers from Minneapolis on December 13, 2010
Like mother, like son! I would say, if you are able, move far far away.
They are not wanting to see you, or your daughter. They just want control. I would actually be worried about my daughter going over there and her safety. I know you want your daughter to be loved, but there are people highly more capable than them. Just as long as she knows you love her, and would protect her from anything, that is all that is needed.
Let them take you to court, if they feel the need to. Please document and save every email, text, phone call etc.....
Good luck to you and your daughter!
3 moms found this helpful
C.W. answers from Santa Barbara on December 13, 2010
I am a huge fan of not exposing my daughter to neurotic, unstable and mean people....I don't care about genetics!! If it were me I would fight this visitation as hard as I could. If they are going to treat you badly, that can't be good for your daughter.
3 moms found this helpful
T.C. answers from Minneapolis on December 13, 2010
I dont know the laws in your state but i know in mn granparents are only entitled to visitation rights if the parents are dening the right to see the child or if it will cause emotional damage to the child not to see them. I think you are doing everything right. You are not denying them to see your child i think you are being very lenient. I would tell them if they want to see her that is just fine but it will be at your house with you there until your daughter is used to them. From the sounds of it she does not even know them and it would be scary for her to be left with people she does not know. If they dont want to come to you then meet at a restaurant or you go there and stay there for a short while and work up to babysitting visits. They have made no effort in any way to see her before so why now. If they want to see her on a regualr basis then yes they do need to provide her a place to sleep and safe transprtation. I have dealt with mil issues as well, and now she mostly comes to our house once every couple weeks for a few hours to see the kids and that works. She will not babysit yet because i am not comfortable with it. You are the mother and you are doing what is best for your daughter. Stick to what you want because what you are asking is perfectly understandable. Good luck!!
3 moms found this helpful
S.L. answers from New York on December 13, 2010
Your daughter is too young to be put in a situation like this when she cant tell you how the visit goes, cant tell you how she feels about it, who takes care of her, if she is left alone with Dad, what is said about you etc etc
you can revisit this situation when she is older!
3 moms found this helpful
L.M. answers from Dover on December 13, 2010
I would say that if she can't speak to you then she can't communicate for visitation. I would let them (both dad and grandparents) know, in writing, that you are not keeping their child/grandchild from them; however, they do need to provide the necessary supplies while she is there (and I think they should be responsible for the things you stated and more). Additionally, they are welcome to set up a time that works to come visit her if they are unwilling or unable to provide those necessities or if they want to just see her. Then end it...don't debate it and see what happens. If they then file in court, you will have the documentation to prove you are being reasonable. Visitation has nothing to do with child support.
Also, make sure you have filed for legal custody of your child if you have not already done so.
3 moms found this helpful