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Thread: Hard decision

  1. #1

    Hard decision

    First a bit of back story. Got married at 18 in 1999 to my high school sweetheart( so I thought). He was controlling in school but once we got married it stopped, for a year anyway. Then got worse. I was isolated from my family, had to get his permission to spend over $100 of my money from my job ( we had separate bank accounts) I was only allowed to have friends that he was friends with first. It was never physical just emotional and mental abuse. I kept thinking it would get better. Fast forward to 2009 and I got pregnant. Thinking things would change I was happy. Mental abuse continued. Fast forward to 2012 I finally get the nerve to leave but what to do about my daughter? I didnt have a guarantee I would have a roof over my head since I had been isolated from my family so I chose to leave my daughter with my husband. I wanted her to have a roof over her head, clothes on her back and food in her belly. Many people have told me I was wrong in that decision but I felt it was the best for her. Especially when I became homeless just a few months later. Fast forward to 2014 and I was living with my grandmother and according to divorce court I was getting my daughter 2 over night visits every week. About a month before she started school she starts telling me she doesn't want to stay the night anymore because "daddy and grandma cry when I'm not home" so I gave in when she started crying and stopped having her over night. Then the ex starts only allowing me to have her every other Sat. I can't afford a lawyer at this time so I argue with him, without her present, and fight trying to get her more often. She comes to me crying telling me she doesn't want to come with me more often. Again I give in to make her happy even though its killing me inside. Then the ex husband starts dating his now current wife. My daughter loves her. I notice my daughter pulling away from me more. I'm no longer being told of school plays and events. I keep asking and am told my daughter doesn't want me there. This past year I got my daughter on mother's day and Christmas Eve. I went to every lacrosse game I could which wasnt every single one being that I worked every other weekend. When she started hockey I was told an hour prior to the game that she was having a game that was at least a 2 hour drive from me. When I couldn't make those my daughter started saying guess something else was more important then me. Instead of them telling her the truth that they didnt inform me till it was to late for me to make the game they just shrug it off. My daughter started asking me to give up my rights to her so her new step mom can adopt her. It breaks my heart every time she asks and I tell her no its never going to happen. She gets mad at me and doesn't want to spend time with me now because she thinks everything else is more important then her. Every time I'm around her I tell her how much I love her and how it breaks my heart to see her upset with me so now she just refuses to see me. This year she asked me not to get her anything for Christmas or her birthday which is the week before Christmas. All she wants is for me to give up my rights so her step mom can adopt her. I refuse to force her to spend time with me. I know it will make her hate me more since she literally is a mini me. All this on my mind is hurting me and my new marriage as well as her. So my question is this... Do I keep hurting her and myself by not giving in or do I give in and let her step mom adopt her but destroy myself in the end? I can't see any healthy way out of this.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    You don't need lawyers to petition the courts regarding custody and child support. You need to enlist the help of social services and provide a suitable home environment. Make sure you are employed and do not have legal or substance problems. Stop talking to him. In fact petition for supervised visitation. If he was a monster to you imagine what he is doing to her.
    Originally Posted by KatrinaH81
    I can't afford a lawyer at this time so I argue with him, without her present, and fight trying to get her more often.

  3. #3
    I am employed, no substance problems. Happily remarried to a wonderful man who has 3 adult children and 4( soon to be 5) grandchildren. I pay child support every month. Our agreement is joint custody with him having physical which I gave up physical because I was homeless at the time of our final divorce. The ex husband is a cop and gets free lawyers from the fop. I however would have to pay for one which I cant afford( my husband can without a problem). The issue is I don't want to force her. Ive talked with lawyers who have all said I have enough to charge him with content of court. I'm sure with all the things he did to me that he has done to her when she was younger. She is now almost 10 and very mature for her age. I see how she is with him and she is very happy with him and his wife. I just dont know what to do about her practically begging me to let her step mom adopt her. 4 years ago I had to have a hysterectomy due to cancer so my daughter is my only biological child and she is my world. Ive been strict to a point as in only letting her watch tv or play on her tablet for a set time before her and I would go outside to play which her father and step mother do as well. I just don't want to give up my rights with their "promise" of me seeing her when I dont get to do so now according to my court agreement. But I dont want her to hate me more then she already does by dragging her and her father to court to force her to visit with me.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Stop making excuses. You're in a position to have full or at least partial custody. She is at a tender age. You are the adult. If you keep turning your back on her she will grow to resent you and possibly never forgive all the excuses you are making to fob her off on your ex and his wife.
    Originally Posted by KatrinaH81
    I am employed, no substance problems. Happily remarried to a wonderful man who has 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. I pay child support every month. She is now almost 10.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Tough situation, for sure. Sorry about the long road that led you here, but happy to hear you've found stability.

    What I find hard to understand, reading all this, is what you want, what you think is best. As Wiseman has pointed out—along with lawyers you've spoken to—you have a very solid case here to get the courts involved in ensuring you see more, not less, of your daughter. While I understand it must be heartbreaking to hear your own daughter asking you to give up parental rights, the person asking you to do that is a 9-year-old—completely unaware of what all that really means, both in the immediate sense and in the "rest of her life" sense. You, on the other hand, are very much an adult.

    Children are very impressionable, and right now it sounds like your ex and his wife have an enormous influence in terms of how she sees things—and even, in ways, how you do. With more time with you, that would shift—not in a war zone or manipulative manner, in which your daughter becomes a pawn, but in the holistic manner that comes from just spending more time around you and absorbing your energy, your care, your support. She will one day be 14, 21, 30, and as those milestones pass the story of who she is will become more clear. Assuming you are of pure heart and sound mind and ample resources, as you seem to be, I think a kid would like to know a parent stepped up, rather than away, as what we feel when we are 9 is much different than what we feel as we come into ourselves. I have a parent who stepped away, for instance, and while I genuinely believe that was the best he had to offer, it leaves a very real mark that changes shape as years pass.

    That said, this is your life and only you know the full situation. What I can't tell is if part of you genuinely thinks your daughter would be better off without you having any parental rights, if you yourself doubt your ability to be a positive influence in her life, or if you remain a bit frightened of your ex, with your daughter now absorbing that fear passively in the way you absorbed it actively when you two were together. There is so much fear here—of going to court with your ex, of what your daughter might think of you—that I worry it's getting in the way of the biggest thing when it comes to kids and family, which is love.

  7. #6
    You are correct. There is still a lot of fear for me. We have been divorced for about 6 years now. So for me im just now coming to realize who I am as a person without his influence. In a way I'm still growing as a person and I'm 38 years old. Ive always been told my heart is to big. I'm a vet tech for over 20 years, a volunteer emt and a paid emt. I'm the person that tries to save everyone else and always puts myself last. Part of me does feel she would be better without me because then she wouldn't have to worry about her father getting upset with her if she gives me affection or wants to speak to me or see my grandmother. She wouldnt have to worry about anything but her own school grades or practices for hockey or lacrosse. But then the bigger part of me says no she isnt better without me because I can teach her how to be everything her father isn't... I just know from my own situation growing up that when I was forced to go with my own mother I was upset with my grandmother for making me go but I hated my mother more. And it hurts to see that hate in her eyes, the same hate my own mother saw from me. I just can't force her to want to spend more time with me. I know I probably need to wait till she gets older and understands more and sees her father for how he truly is. I just dont know if my heart can wait that long.

  8. #7
    Bronze Member Skeptic76's Avatar
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    Oh Katrina - this is a tough one and I can almost feel the pull of the conflicting forces you typed about.

    If it were me I would set up a court date, prepare my ideal scenario and the rationale behind it, present it calmly with NO emotion (even when the ex tries to bait you and push buttons in the courtroom) and let then let the judge decide.

    If your daughter is upset about the results in any way, then you can let her know that since mom and dad don’t agree they had to ask somebody who helps kids for a living to choose what is best, and now it’s the law that we follow the decision. Make the judge the bad guy for giving you more time with your daughter. *edit: IF that’s how your daughter frames it at first. Of course in reality nobody is a bad person for giving a mother and child the opportunity to bond.*

    Breathe. Don’t struggle with this. Clear your mind and follow your heart and it will work out in the end. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for.
    Last edited by Skeptic76; 11-05-2019 at 08:53 PM. Reason: Clarification

  9. #8
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Well, there are clearly a lot of live emotional wires to this whole thing, going back not only to your marriage to him but to your own childhood. That's tough.

    Still, at some point you need to draw a line in the sand and own your own truth. Giving up parental rights while hoping she comes to understand who her father "truly is" is passive. That's you, as an adult, hoping for a child to grow into something you'd like while removing yourself from the child's life. Does't really work that way, I don't think. Her father will be, in her eyes, whoever he is. That story will change a million times over the course of her life, and hopefully, for her, it's a much better story than who he is in your eyes. Whether you remain in her life or not, your job as her mother isn't to teach her that her father is awful, but to support her in blossoming into whoever it is she'll become.

    This moment, the way I see it, is about two things: who you want to be, in your own eyes, and what you think is the best foundation for her development as a human who, ultimately, is not an extension of you or him or his wife, but a complete individual who, at age nine, is presently very vulnerable. I get that all the paths before you are hard ones—which, as you don't need me to tell you, is sometimes how life goes. Best thing in those moments, at least in my opinion, is to actively walk the path that allows you to sleep at night and stand tall in your own skin rather than being passive and hoping life deals you a hand that allows for good sleep.

  10. #9
    Bronze Member Skeptic76's Avatar
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    And agree with everyone else - you don’t need a lawyer. Just the truth and a calm confidence in the courtroom.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Have you thought about family therapy. There is a reason why she doesn't want to be with you that I think would do well to be addressed. I suspect if you take this to court, the judge would order such a thing in order to find out why she doesn't want to have visitation with you. If her father is turning her against you, that would be a good reason for her wanting to be adopted by her step mother.

    He appears to basically have full custody anyway, do you pay him any child support? How was that finalized when you were given the two nights a week custody?

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