Contact agreement

First, thanks to all of you for your very kind comments on my infertility post a few days ago. You guys are the best! Especially my mom and dad. :) :) :)

Bio mom called me today to talk about the contact agreement. We talked for an hour and a half, for real. I felt a little caught off guard and also my husband was not there so it was a little awkward. I definitely won't make decisions on stuff like this without his input. We talked about a ton and a TON of things, but basically it boils down to a) she wants more than 2 visits a year, like "at least once a month", and b) she doesn't want us to supervise the visits. Oh and she wants us to have also visits with aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. So, you know, basically every other weekend we'd be having a visit with somebody. Not gonna happen.

She thinks that if we supervise the visits that we will be sitting there judging her the whole time. Her reasoning was very convoluted and kind of hard for me to follow, but basically she said she would be OK with a stranger supervising. She also said she is afraid of what I think because what it boils down to is that I'm not outgoing and smiley happy and I think before I speak. We are NOT ok with a stranger supervising, or anybody else besides us. I just feel like my husband and I and the kids are the ONLY people that have to deal with any emotional/behavioral fall-out from the visits. Not the visit supervisor, not the bio mom, not the attorneys, not anybody else in this entire world. Just us. And we cannot know what is happening, or what we are comfortable with, or look out for our kids, if we are not there. Especially when they are 1, 2, 4 years old and can't tell us what happened to upset them! She wants us to agree to have unsupervised visits "once they are older" too. And unsupervised visits now with D.

I feel for her, I really do. When I'm talking to her it's very hard for me to not just give in to all her requests, because I feel like she is making them with the best of intentions. She has had a very hard life, and not all of it is her fault. But I just don't see how a child can have normalcy when they are being shuttled around for all of their entire lives!

One thing I did agree to is her and D Skyping once a month. We had initially said a phone call once a month, but she said D doesn't like to talk on the phone that much which is a valid point. And she can get the Skype app on her phone for free so I think that will work out. Assuming she keeps a phone of course.

So I went ahead and contacted a potential attorney for us tonight. I feel like it's time we had our own representation. We got a referral from some friends that adopted out of foster care, but they adopted infants that the moms had decided to give up from birth. So their experiences are a little different from ours. But the attorney seems very well-qualified, it's just a matter of if she will take our case at this point. I feel like it's a little late in the game, I probably should have done this a few weeks ago but I just didn't know. I feel like everything is moving so quickly all of the sudden.

I also don't know if the bio mom knows that contact agreements don't stand up in court. And that at any time we can just stop it. I almost told her tonight because she is SO concerned about laying every single thing out in black and white. But I refrained because really that will probably only make it worse. She wanted to know what we were going to do if the kids had problems after seeing her, and just all kinds of stuff. I know she is concerned for them. But she has to know that WE will be their parents and trust me, WE want what is the very absolute best thing for them. We won't always make the perfect choices for them but we will always seek their best interest and put their interest above our own.

I almost think she thinks that once the kids are 18 that they will all come back to her and be a part of her family. So we are just taking care of them while they can't take care of themselves. Obviously I hope they stay a part of our family, spend Christmases with us, etc. Like, this is a forever thing for us, not something we only want to do for the next 18 years.

Comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean. The girl I am adopting has a bio mom just like this. She couldn't see why I would not be letting her three yr old daughter come spend the night with her after she was adopted. I had no intent of keeping her child from her until the court told me that the child was not allowed to have any contact with her bio family at all while she was in their care still. Her adoption will be finalized very soon. She hasn't seen her bio family since November sometime and, trust me, she has done so much better behavior wise since the visits with them stopped. I thought I would be able to let them see her once every month or two, but after seeing how much better she is doing now I really don't know if I will be able to even let her see them once a year or not. I am glad that those visitation agreements don't hold up in court because YOU are the parents and you need to decide what is best for your kids.

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  2. I realize I have only limited understanding of your situation. I also realize that I lack both grace and mercy toward bio mom. Furthermore, I realize my level of tolerance for her yanking you and the kids around is incredibly low. I'm also running on very little sleep... As such, what I am about to say will reflect my lack of knowledge, grace, mercy, tolerance, and sleep.

    Like you, I feel like bio mom is trying to find any way possible to keep these kids - even if it means "letting you raise them" for a while. This makes me angry. Why? well, for one obvious reason, because she ISN'T MOTHERING THEM. I don't beleive she is entitled to ANY time with them. ZERO. The fact that you are even considering allowing her to contact them annually is more merciful than I could ever be to a woman who put these kids through the last three years the way she did.

    I feel like the more contact she has with "her" kids, the more influence she and various aunties and uncles will have. This could (but may not) encourage YOUR kids to idolize their lifestyle, and the unrealistically spoiled way they will be treated when they're there. What makes me wonder this? I grew up in a home of separated parents - because my mom had primary custody, and my dad had visitations, I grew to cherish my time with my dad (who could really give me anything I wanted and not have to deal with the fall out) and abhor time with my mom (who, you know, had the responsibility to raise me, and give me chores, and discipline me - which my dad did too, but not to the same extent). the very moment I had the opportunity (age 15)I moved right in with my dad to escape my mom. It was a decision based on immaturity and I regretted it. MY (uneducated) opinion is that the more visits these kids have with bio mom, the more likely they are to resist you, and build her up; even to the extent of doing something crazy like running away. hey, I considered it.
    Am I correct in understanding that if she doesn't relinquish rights, they'll be taken from her anyway? If so, what bargaining rights does she really have? I get the feeling that all relinquishing does is allow the process to move along faster - which has inherent value, obviously - but is it possible that more value could be found in having a clean break from bio family for the littles, such that their influence can't muddy your parenting efforts, and confuse the small impressionable minds of your children?

    Whew. What a huge HUGE decision on your part. I don't envy you two. I do know, though, that over the past two+ years I've heard you both say, on multiple occasions, how much you dislike "co-parenting". I'd get as FAR away from co-parenting as possible, especially as these kids enter formative years.

    There. I'm done ranting now. I'm not as unfeeling for her as I sound, but she does make me angry. She has NO grounds at ALL for arguing with you. NONE. in my (not so) humble opinion.

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  3. this is interesting to me as we may hopefully go through this someday. I was told we would be given an attorney when the time came to adopt. Are you not getting one or are you picking your own? The idea of trying to make contact agreements is hard because the needs of the child may change as they grow and I would think that agreements would need to change based on that. It does sound like bio mom does not realize, or choose to realize that YOU will be the parents not her and you are not just babysitting her kids for her until they turn 18. Still praying for you guys!

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  4. Having made it to this side of a contact agreement, I'm reading the stuff you're saying and thinking (forgive me) "HELL NO!". That's what I'd say. Of course you know your kids and the situation better, but don't feel like you have to give up everything to be able to adopt them. We made the mistake of telling CPS that we'd like XX and then in the WORST case scenario we'd accept XX (2x a year visits). We never heard about it again until the TPR trial where they'd included everything we said we'd CONSIDER and then some. As you pointed out it doesn't hold up well in court, but still you don't want to fear being held to the agreement at some point. Bottom line you'll be the parents after adoption, no one else, and you'll need the freedom to make the best decisions you can for your kiddos. A good attorney can help you sort things out.

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  5. You are not their babysitter. You are their Mommy and Mommies don't share. We allow others to admire our kids, but we don't share them. Send her pictures, maybe even videos if you are feeling especially sweet. I understand D needing more maybe. Let them talk via Skype. Supervised! She can admire, but she has lost her right to Mother.

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