What would YOU do?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by TeDo, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I have an interesting dilemma that I really want your input on. I need to give you some background first so please bear with me.

    X and I were engaged when I found out I was pregnant. We planned to get married after the babies were born. At some point after that, he went off his medications and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. I was working part-time and came home to find him and all his belongings gone. Vanished without a word.

    I moved back home (had been living 2 hours away). He called 4 months later to see how I was doing and let me know where he was (living with his parents in TX) but that was less than an hour after I found out my Dad had just died in a hospital 3 hours away while I was home because of an ob/gyn appointment. I blew up at him and hung up. Three weeks later I had the kids with my family's help. I did not put his name on the birth certificate because I was even angrier and had no intentions of having anything to do with him.

    When they were 18 months old, he "moved" back up here to "be a dad". LOL I would not allow him to stay with us but allowed him to visit when he wasn't working. After 2 months, he quit taking his medications again, ended up in psychiatric hospital, and vanished again.

    Because the boys were on Medicaid and I was receiving food stamps, the county went after him for child support. He was working "cash under the table" so they couldn't get anything unless he voluntarily sent it. He sent partial payments a couple times a year and that was it.

    When they were about 4 years old, he came up to visit. He spent a week here but spent a total of 2 hours visiting with them one day at our house with my sister and her family here so the boys would feel safe around a stranger (this was after their sexual abuse and difficult child 1 was still having "issues"). He ended up being arrested and jailed for non-payment of child support. His parents bailed him out 2 days later and he went home to them the minute he got out.

    He called them when they were around 5 years old and they talked to him briefly. I found out at Kindergarten conferences that he'd been here and some other dad had taken him to the school where he requested that report cards be sent to him. Needless to say, I went ballistic. He received ONE report card for ONE of the boys before I raised a stink with the school and put an end to that.

    He has had NO contact with them or me since. I've been receiving child support monthly for about a year now (must have a REAL job). Yesterday in the mail, I recieved a note from the county child support office saying that X wanted me to call him and gave me the number.

    Now the dilemma I have is that I don't know if I should or want to call him. I'm curious about what he wants after all these years. I have no intention of telling him squat about the boys. Frankly, it's none of his business. If he cared at all, he would have maintained contact over the last 9 years. Part of me wants to know why, all of a sudden, he wants me to call him. The court papers give me sole legal custody, sole physical custody and any contact is strictly at my discression.

    What do you think I should do? I'm sooooooo confused.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Well, I haven't walked in anything even remotely resembling your shoes... but my first gut reaction was? Have your lawyer return the call. This guy is definitely not to be trusted, not predictable, and even if THIS call is innocent enough, you don't know what he has in mind.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    **Edited to add: I love IC's idea!!! Have the lawyer call him - that way he will know you're not interested in any monkeying around at all. May make him go away again.

    First, are your kids even remotely interfested in anything pertaining to their biological father? If so, then I would call just to see what he wanted. I would block my number so he didn't have it and would not be able to harrass. If he begins to tell you his hard luck story or his "I'm a different person now" story, I would tell him you're not interested in having any contact with him and to please leave you and the kids alone and hang up.

    If the kids are not remotely interested in knowing anything about him, I think I'd tuck the number away somewhere and ignore his request.

    Sorry you are having to deal with this dilemma after all this time. Hugs~It's not easy.
  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    difficult child 1 has major abandonment issues (VERY long story) that go along with his PTSD from the abuse. Not having a "Dad" is a very touchy subject for him.....sometimes. Neither are angry with him, so to speak, but they could care less about getting to know him. They are more interested in me getting married so they can have a dad. LOL My response to them is "I already have two of the most important men in the world so why do I need another one". LOL
  5. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I agree with having a lawyer call since you have no idea what he wants. The "official-ness" of that might thwart any non-serious things he wants to bring up.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'd opt for either the lawyer returning the call.

    You've been dealing with an unstable difficult child all these years. Going off medications seems to be his major issue. It *might* be that X is finally stable, sticking to medications and treatment, and is hoping to start a relationship with his boys. Notice I said *might*, and we both know if he IS stable it could last years, or until the next time he decides he doesn't need medications.

    The latter is what you're dealing with.

    I wouldn't be inclined to stand between a parent and a child unless there are abuse/neglect issues or their behavior is just so off the wall mental as to affect said child in a very negative way. Why? Because in in my humble opinion every child has a right to know their parent, even if they're an absentee parent most of the time. Unless it's going to cause harm to the child, a child should get a chance to know a parent for who they are. The boys are old enough to have their bio's dxes explained to them......that even should they get in touch with him it might not last long due to his issues ect.

    I'm for giving a person the benefit of doubt. Much of X's reason for not being around the boys could be simply because he doesn't want to expose them to him unstable.....or perhaps unstable he is off in his own world so to speak (who knows).

    I say this because while they're not interested at this time in having a relationship with bio........it will happen, probably within the next couple of years. So prepare yourself.

  7. Jody

    Jody Active Member

    My 19 year old daughter just began a relationship with her father, about 6 months ago. He is an alcoholic and had many issues that I did not feel were in easy child's best interest. He moved back to Springfield after many years and I ran into him at the store. I talked to him on the phone and then spoke to my daughter about it. We went and picked him up and went to dinner. He has another son, that is 10 years old. He is an incredible young man, (he was not raised by his father, lol). He looks so much like her its weird. She's not impressed with her dad, but is nice and has forgiven him for not being there. She is most thankful for her relationship with her brother, and I hope that he continues to be such a nice kid. My child was 19 when this happened, I understand it's different with a 13 year old. I felt like I did not want it to come back to bite me in the behind, and I knew my daughter was old enough to decide. What if I had not given her the choice and she may have had 50 years or so of a relationship with her dad. Sometimes people do change. I feel for you its a hard decision to make. Sometimes kids won't admit that they want a relationship with the other parent if they have been absent also, because they don't want to upset or worry the other parent, also, they might feel its disloyal. I am just glad I don't have to have a relationship with him, gag me.
  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Hound, I wholeheartedly agree with you......in most cases. I guess what I didn't voice enough about the dilemma part is that difficult child 1 has SUCH a hard time letting people in and then when they leave (we even went through this with 2 Occupational Therapist (OT)'s) he crashes and burns. His behavior escalates and gets to the point that he "tests" me constantly with behavior to make sure I'm not going to leave hi too. He's actually even come right out and asked me that many times. He yells it at me when he's having a meltdown, "I don't care, you're just going to leave me too anyway!"

    Yes, I am angry at him but not just about the child support or even that he abandoned me more than once. My concern is for difficult child 1 and what it will do to him. We finally have him in a good place and I don't know that I'm willing to play that game again. X has always been selfish. EVERYTHING he does revolves around what he wants. What I found out later is that when he came to town and didn't see us but got this other dad to take him to the school is that he TOLD this other dad that he didn't like it that my sister was here when he came to visit HIS kids. Everything has always had to be on his terms. My guess is that the guilt is getting to him, finally, but if things don't go the way HE wants, he will "leave" again and it will all be MY fault for whatever he doesn't like.

    It's basically satisfy my curiosity and maybe (depending on what X even wants) risk difficult child 1's emotional stability or leave it alone until difficult child 1 decides HE wants to look him up?
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Given that difficult child 1 abandonment issues are so intense, I'd wait until he's stable and abandonment is not really an issue for him...........unless like you said, he shows an interest. I wouldn't risk a child's emotional stability, that to me goes right up there with abuse & neglect.

    You might want to discuss this with difficult child 1's therapist though, as believe it or not, this *might* be some of his issues with abandonment even though his bio wasn't in his life really much to cause you to think about it. When he is more stable, and has been so for a while.....it might be good for him to explore how his bio might have played a part in the issues he has. Know what I mean??

    But I would not risk his emotional stability over it, nope. Not unless forced to do so.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I agree with Lisa... no way do you play with a difficult child's stability unless you are forced to do so.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I think that either A) your lawyer should call or B) you should ignore the message until the difficult children express their own interest, on their own time.

    Since when is Child Support involved in secretarial duty? That, right there, sends up all kinds of red flags for me. The ones I've dealt with have NEVER been interested in helping dads at all.
  12. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Step, we live in a VERY small county and the child support officer stated in her note that "I am relaying this request as a courtesy only." I'm not too worried about that. He's always had my address (so that's no excuse) and I only recently had my landline disconnected so he has no phone number for me anymore. I'm just glad they didn't give it to HIM. That makes me feel good that they are willing to protect US like that.
  13. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I, too, like the idea of having the lawyer call.

    Given the abandonment issues and all of the other stuff, I can see your wanting to be cautious and if it were only you involved you'd tell he to drop dead and stay that way. However, kids see things differently. Even if you choose not to have him involved with the kids right now (and I believe it is your choice), I'd leave the door open to communication. I can forsee a time in the future when they are older that they may have contact and if the sperm donor says he was not allowed to have contact even though he wanted to, that could open a whole other can of worms. With his psychiatric issues it could be that he is getting medicated and straightening out or it could be that he is crazy as a bedbug and just wants to cause trouble.

    You could explain all this to a lawyer and have him contact the guy and see if he can get a feel for what's going on. I too, believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt and if he really wants to step up to the plate at this late date, good for him but that doesn't mean you have to throw caution to the wind and capitulate to everything he wants. If he is truly concerned about the kids, it should not be too hard for him to understand your concerns, provided they are explained in a non-confrontational manner.

    Hopefully, this can be worked out to the benefit of everybody.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Add me to the list that thinks contact via the attorney makes sense. Even with "stable" Ex's our children are so vulnerable. Having a protective cushion is a good idea. Hugs DDD
  15. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    While I like the idea of the lawyer calling him; I also think it could be prudent to call him yourself if you are so inclined and don't want to get a lawyer involved yet. Just *67 (or however you disguise your number) from your phone before calling him or call from a public phone or a lawyers office or even a police department- just some place else that's totally unrelated to you. (not a friend's house or workplace etc)

    I am guessing that if he really wanted to get a hold of you to mess with you - he could since he has your address. I guess I see the contact through the C/S officer as kind of a polite attempt to open communication?

    I think I would be willing to call myself and feel him out over the phone and be prepared to hang up if the call goes in a direction I don't like...and I definitely don't think you should consider involving your kids...

    I guess I am concerned that he is ill or found out about some genetic condition or maybe just needs to know his kids are OK? I don't know... honestly, in your shoes the curiosity would get to me!
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes, as you asked "What would you do?", the answer for me is that I would call him.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    As the mother of sons, I would call. *67 your number if you want or go buy a cheap disposable phone for this. For 10 bucks you can do this. Just get a trac phone with very limited minutes and he wont have but that number and you can turn it off and hide the phone unless you want to talk to him.

    You never know what it could be...his family could be ill, he could be ill, someone could be dying, he may have a good job now and need to put the boys on his life insurance. You just never know. I would call but probably wouldnt tell the boys unless you find out its something that they really need to know. I dont have much use for fathers who dont want to be in their kids lives. Kids need their dads.
  18. I love Insane's idea as well. Maybe if X is stable and can provide some medical records to the lawyer to show he's been receiving medications and treatment for x period of time you might feel a little more comfortable letting him have some contact with the twins?

    My concern would be that if you don't at least look into it and the twins find out (now or later) that they will resent you for not allowing them to have a relationship with their dad. The flip side to that is that they could resent you for reintroducing someone that is unstable into their lives. Tough call.

    But if he can communicate with you through the lawyer and provide some documentation as to his mental status and how long he has been stable then you could certainly consider it. Another thing I might request is that he have a waiting period and continue to communicate through the lawyer during that waiting period. That would rule out impulsivity on his part and would show a commitment from him for pursuing this relationship over the long term.
  19. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    My personal opinion is don't spend the money on a lawyer unless there is some legal issue to be handled, in other words- ignore it! But, I tend to get scared of people like that-unpredictable. I might go to court and have a no contact order issued for him based on the fact that he went tho the school and got report cards sent to him. Not having custody, and he has mental health issues, he has no business being involved at all. He left those kids before they were born. He is entilted to nothing from you. Don't engage him by even seeing what he wants.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well....its not like he doesnt have an interest in something in that house...he does. His kids. If he simply wanted to know about a sofa then nope. But he has twin boys and he could have just shown up at the house if he wanted to be a jerk about it. Maybe I am a pollyanna about it but I would hope that if this was in any of mine's cases, the mother would at least contact someone before writing them off forever.