At the recent visit with my youngest sons birthmom and grandpa, he decided to voice his need for “alone time” with my kids. Directly after, he invited them to sleep over at his house. W.t.f.
So, let me back up a moment and explain. My youngest is 4. He was placed with me at birth thru foster care. We were able to legally adopt him at 22 mos. During those first 15 mos, he had regular supervised visits with his birthmom, who has paranoid schizophrenia as law required, and visits with his grandparents that I set up and did on my own.
This family lives an hour from my home. Visits take up most of a day, with 2 hours of drive time, and a few hours of visiting.
When adoption was discussed, carefully, because laws exist…I made it known my intention was to continue a relationship with them. But I was careful to never promise a certain amount of time or any specifics.
I’ve been true to my goal in keeping a relationship. But all of our contact has remained supervised by me or my husband (mostly me). The reason is partially due to distance. But, it’s also due to my comfort level and boundaries.
I do not feel comfortable with unsupervised visits. While I think his grandparents are good people, I don’t think they can adequately supervise their daughter with my son. They don’t believe there is any danger, and I believe would allow them unsupervised. There were numerous dangerous situations recorded when he was still in foster care and she was supervised with him. They worked with her extensively with parenting skills and identifying danger, and she isn’t able to understand or react appropriately. She has an illness. It is what it is.
Also, there were some things the grandparents did during the foster care period of time that I felt were inappropriate. I can’t just forget that. When I specifically asked them to feed him only food I brought, and no nuts/seafood til the doctor okay, they would give him things like walnuts, peanuts and shrimp. Luckily, he didn’t present any allergic reactions…but I was angry they were taking the risks with my son, and going against doctor recommendations and my wishes. They would allow his birthmom alone in rooms with him unsupervised. This was against the department of social services instructions, and not safe for him. I can’t just forget these things happened.
His grandma openly admits she wanted to take him from me. She is disabled, and would never be able to keep up with a young child. I don’t fault her for loving him…but to say this in conversation hurts. And it breaks down trust.
So, just before we legally adopted, his grandpa stated he needed to see my son weekly. During the foster care time period, I did visits weekly, since he was required to see his birthmom weekly for the case plan. As I said…these visits take up an entire day. I had no plans to continue weekly visits. My goal was monthly…and that is what we do now.
Yesterday, he expressed that he was “happy” with how things are, but he wants his “alone time” to make “proper bonds.” I explained that my kids do not spend the night at anyone’s home yet. My younger son will only allow me to tuck him in at night currently. Even daddy gets nowhere right now with him at bedtime. He likes a cuddle and mom time. He would not be comfortable anywhere else without me.
Even though I tried to diffuse the situation, he turned to my boys and asked them to sleep overnight at his home soon. As any parent knows, this is overstepping your bounds. Never ask a child when the parent has indicated no. Grandparents need to respect the parents. I believe this grandpa thinks he still can control the situation. He feels entitled due to the sharing of DNA.
This man sat me down for a long presentation to explain I should not change my son’s name at adoption…including his last name. He tries to micromanage the foods we eat, the places we go, etc. He questioned my desire to baptize my son, as he is a different religion.
I don’t believe he’d be appropriate without me present. He isn’t always appropriate with me there!
Honestly, I’m uncomfortable. I’m angry. I feel like they don’t realize that I go above and beyond most adoptive relationships. I try so hard. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.
I’m tired of the learned behavior of biting my tongue with them. For years I tread so carefully, and now I don’t need too…yet I still do.
Boundaries. They are necessary in every relationship…but more spoken about in adoption.
They are necessary for everyone involved. I hope I can successfully navigate them, and enforce them.