View Full Version : Keeping Bio family as family...how much is too much?

10-07-2003, 11:29 PM
Not sure if anyone is in an open adoption situation...but in any case...if you are....how close do you keep your childs biological parents? And not only the parents...but also the grandparents etc?

We are in an interesting situation where we are adopting our second cousin. The mother is my hubbys cousin. Any how, now that the adoption is going through (we currently have permanent custody) mom and grandpa have more or less stepped out of the picture, other then the occasional how is she doing and holidays since they are family....Dad on the other hand, no relation to us other then DD's connection...and Grandparents....grandma and grandpa more then anything...are wanting a permenent weekly arrangement to see her. We used to have weekly visits when we first got custody, mainly because they had only seen her twice in her life and she was two by then....anyhow, after several months of this we shortened it to every other week, and now want to only do once a month for an extended visit. We offered special occasions etc, and now they are fighting us saying its not enough. What is making things worse is we are starting the adoption process and he has yet to sign over his rights because the grandparents are wanting to know his rights to visitiaion, and might get a lawyer to ensure they get legal rights to having a certian amount of visits.

Sheesh! that was long....any how. What do you feel is appropriate in this situation? We want her to know them, but as extended family, not the one and only grandparents they are wanting. My parents and in laws we feel should come first as they will with the new baby, which leaves her bio grandparents as what? What do you feel is proper.....do you know of any legal aspects of the grandparents rights? Everything works out now that she is little but how is it when she is older and understands more? Its sooo complicated especially with a new baby on the way! That just throws another monkey wrench in the works. anyone have any advice?

10-20-2003, 12:21 PM
I'm sorry to see that you didn't get any responses on this. I really can't offer much of anything since I have not been through such a process. I've seen many of your posts, and I know you guys have been through the ringer with this adoption, and I know it hasn't been easy. Anyway, I am adopted, but it was back in 1969 when sealed adoption records were the way to go. I have vascillated back and forth on my comfort level with the idea of open adoption. Ask me today and my response might be different than it was yesterday or will be tomorrow. That said, I do agree that if you pursue a legal adoption, you and your DH will be the parents and your parents are entitled to be *the* grandparents. That said, it gets sticky when the bio-grandparents want to be more involved. I guess I'd figure out what their rights are legally and then figure out what you were *comfortable with* and then try to figure out what is best for your daughter. Easier said than done, I realize.

Also, FWIW, my dad never lived with his birthmom, but rather with his aunt and uncle, who were *his parents*, and he called them mom and dad all of his life. That was really never questioned. So they were my grandparents. So I have 3 sets of grandparents (some I know, and some I don't). My dad's parents I called Granny & Papa. His birthmom I call Grandma and her husband I call grandpa (although he is not my dad's dad. I never met his birthdad because he died at a fairly young age). Then I have my mom's parents, who were Grandma & Papaw, and then Papaw remarried when I was little and I have always called her by her first name.

It can all be terribly confusing, and I don't know that I did more than confuse you more with this post, but I just wanted to try and reassure you that between the legalities and your desire to do what's best for your child (which may or may not be what the b-grandparents want), you will do fine making the right decisions. And there are ways for the child to understand her roots and to have different names for, and different levels of relationships with the people in her life.

Best of luck in this process!

10-20-2003, 07:24 PM
Kathryn- I was thinking about your post for some reason the other day, and I have to say that I think once a week visits for grandparents sounds like a lot. My mom and I are very close so she probably sees ds once a week, but his other grandparents who aren't that far away see him much less frequently. I'm sure they would like to see him more, but they understand that we are busy (as are they). In your situation where there are biological plus adopted grandparents it must be even harder. I think it is great that they want to be so involved, but I think you are right to limit regularly scheduled visits while still making sure that they stay informed/involved. Once a month actually sounds fair to me, although I don't know anything about grandparents legal rights etc.
Emily \r\nmom of Charlie born 11/02

11-18-2003, 11:20 AM
I have been following your story and really rooting for you to get this resolved and get your family life on track especially with the new baby almost here. What I don't understand, and this might be too personal, is why are they going through all this effort and not trying to keep the child themselves? It is like having their cake and eating it too.

Have you talked to a lawyer? After the adoption is finalized, even if they have "rights" you are the parent. What if you moved out of state etc? Do they have the right to stop you like an ex-dh might? There was a case a couple of years ago. The DH died and his mom sued to see the baby. The court upheld the mother's right to refuse the grandmother. There weren't any valid reasons to refuse visitation either, just the mothers wishes. The MIL died so the appeals process never finished, but the court was firm in parental rights. So I guess after the adoption is finalized, how much legal ground do they really stand on? After a certain amount of time, the adoption can't be undone unless YOU choose to do so. Do they have the money for a lawyer and the will to keep going back to court? Not that you want to do that either. Could you have a cavet saying "visitations will be twice a month unless circumstances change". I feel like they are emotionally blackmailing you to do their wishes and not caring what is best for the baby. In those circumstances, you might have to resort to a little positive spin on the adoption papers.
Wishing you all the best.

Karin and Katie 10/24/02

11-20-2003, 02:03 AM
Well we had our interview with the probation office last week and had some great eye opening news! Both parents rights have been stripped...YEAH! and we learned that Illinois is a state that has no grandparent rights....double yeah. In other words....no one can come in and take her, they have no say in the way we raise her, and we do not have to let her visit if we dont want!

Granted it sucks for the families involved but its a benefit to us. We are still allowing them visitiation and will hopefully work something good out, its just a great relief that we dont have to worry about any legal stuff any more.

As for why they didnt step in and take her in the first place....I have no idea! THey clearly have the means to do so, but basically werent willing to. THe only way they might have stepped in to take her was if she was put into foster care, which we prevented by the hair of our chinny chin chins! Its a long and complicated story but atleast almost over with. We have a home visit Dec 4th....and then they will complete the investigation by May 17th, which from what we understand is our completion date and official adoption day! YEAH!
If only it were sooner but oh well, she is ours none the less :)

11-22-2003, 11:39 PM
Great news...it must be a huge relief for you not to have to worry about this, especially right now with the baby coming so soon.

mom to Jacob 9/27/02

Kimberly H
11-23-2003, 12:48 PM

That's wonderful news! Congratulations on being one step closer to making Angela YOUR DAUGHTER under the law. We all know she's already yours in your heart.