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When Birthgrandparents Don't Agree


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Years ago, Abrazo got a call from a school guidance counselor, concerned about a 14 year old student who was pregnant for the second time and wanting to place, but whose mother was adamantly opposed. I met with the child, who was overwhelmed with caring for the baby she already had. She told me her mom was only insisting that she keep the coming baby as a means of increasing the amount of public assistance for which their household was qualified. This young mother had dreams of going to college, a dream her mother derided. She wanted the baby she was expecting to have similar opportunities in life. In the end, though, there was no "fixing" the fact that while she could place her baby for adoption without her mom's consent, we could not provide her ongoing housing and support afterwards, and her mother refused to let her come home without the new baby, so she did, and college became just a forgotten dream in a distant memory.

In Texas, as with many states, there is no "age of consent" in adoption planning; any female who is old enough to become pregnant is considered old enough to make her own choice whether to place her baby for adoption, independent of her parents' wishes. (The same is not true of abortion, however; parental consent is required for Texas teens to terminate a pregnancy, unless they obtain a judicial waiver enabling them to do so without notifying their parents, first.) Texas law doesn't automatically guarantee "grandparents' rights." A birthparents' parents can, in some cases, seek to intervene, if they have 'standing' (proving to the court that they had a "significant" and long-lasting relationship with the child being placed, or that the child was in their sole care and custody for a period of more than six months, etc.) This does not give them a sure claim to possession, but may induce a judge to order continued visitation opportunities, etc.*

Out of Ohio this week came a judicial decision denying birthgrandparents the right to overturn their teenage daughter's relinquishment, which had been completed without their knowledge: Judge Upholds Baby's Evelyn's Adoption. My heart goes out to the birthgrandparents, who are surely doing what they think is right; to the birthmom who did what she truly believed at the time was best for her child; and for Evelyn's adoptive parents, who are providing this little girl the stability they undoubtedly believe she deserves. If only they could come together to share in a loving plan for her future...

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and her mother refused to let her come home without the new baby, so she did, and college became just a forgotten dream in a distant memory.

How incredibly sad. I hope somehow they were both able to thrive.

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I am thankful that I did not hold my mom's opinion as gold when I was choosing. I knew her opinion without even asking. I knew she would think that I should allow HER to adopt. Which is not what i was thinking when it came to adoption & my stituation. I chose based on my own brain and the knowledge I grew up with and found on my own. I DID talk to other friends who had adopted & placed, however I did not consult my imidiate family members due to my own issues of which were to deep to deal with at the time. I have since dealt, and I still feel my decision was the best both for my son, my daughter I was already raising and myself.

My mom does know now, but will never agree. If she thought there were a possiblility of her getting anything in her favor she would try to change the decision. She has gone around me & my requests, contacted my son's AP's which ARE NOT interested in having a relationship with someone who would disrespect my feelings in such a way. She continues to try and make all the positive feelings between the AP's and myself become negative. She continues to "talk bad" about me and my choice in writing to them. The refuse to even acknowledge her letters. thank God they know it is all about CONTROL for her.

As for my Dad, it wasn't that I didn't tell him because he would disagree, I didn't tell him because of those issues I had, I know he will support me in anything, even if he doesn't agree. He might want to be sure I have all the facts, but he would in the end respect that it was my decision. I did finally tell him and he has been GRAND about it all. He & his wife have a great relationship with the APs and in the end we all are happier.

I know it is not a GOOD thing to hide things from family, especially from your parents, as they have knowledge we do not, but if their knowledge is not "level headed" then tread lightly. And remember it will all work out and God will see you through. After all, the lives we lead are merely a story He wrote before we were even a single cell, he knew us, and in turn we should trust in Him. He will never steer us wrong.

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Lisa,

How wonderful that you and your dad and his wife have a positive and ongoing relationship with your child's adoptive parents. I was struck by the loyality the AP feel toward you and the support they show through their approach to dealing with your mom's contact attempts. How sad she can't just "buck up" and approach it differently to have a positive relationship there and with her birth grandchild.

Somebody did something right as you have grown up pretty smart and level headed! Thanks for sharing that part of yourself.

Hugs,

Jean

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I agree Karen, Hooray for all the Dad's that make it so their kids KNOW that no matter what they have the support that they need.

And Jean, hugs girl! Thanks. I try to be level headed, but it is a struggle. I attribute that to having a sister who was the "bee knees" and who even after she passed when I was 10, I knew what she would have done & went with that. Amen for all those siblings who really do raise the younger ones.

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I agree Karen, Hooray for all the Dad's that make it so their kids KNOW that no matter what they have the support that they need.

And Jean, hugs girl! Thanks. I try to be level headed, but it is a struggle. I attribute that to having a sister who was the "bee knees" and who even after she passed when I was 10, I knew what she would have done & went with that. Amen for all those siblings who really do raise the younger ones.

Bless your heart, Lisa. You have a personal guardian angel who is the bee's knees. (Love that)

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Lisa,

Thanks for sharing. Your story is amazing. I am so happy to hear that your father and his wife play such a positive roll in your child's adoption story. It really is a wonderful thing. I know my son's birthgrandmother still calls, visits and sends presents to all my boys. It really means alot to me that she accepts all of my kids as her family.

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  • 4 months later...

Last week, we had a visitor at Abrazo.

It wasn't her first visit to our office. The same lady had shown up in our lobby some time ago, to protest her son's decision to cooperate with the adoption plan his girlfriend was making for their baby's future.

In her day, she'd said, you didn't just "give away" your own flesh and blood! If you weren't ready for a baby, you passed it on to another relative, to raise and care for. You kept it in the family, and the bloodline was never broken as a result.

She didn't understand all this talk of "wanting a better future for (their) child." What could be better than their own kin? What were they saying about all their parents and parents' parents had tried to give them, had tried to do for them over the years? She was willing to help them with this baby; why wasn't that good enough? How could they instead opt for what strangers had to offer her grandchild?

She was, understandably, hurt and upset. She was stunned to learn that her sheer opposition to the adoption did not give her the legal right to overturn it. She left in tears, and her son's newborn went home with the family of his choosing.

This time, however, it was our staff who was left in tears at the close of her return visit.

For she had come in peace, this time, with a carefully written letter for her birthgrandchild's adoptive parents. In it, she apologized for not supporting the adoption plan. She admitted that she still didn't entirely understand that choice. But she realized that what was done is done, and she was humbly asking the baby's new parents to let her have some part in his life. She wants to know that he's okay, that they're happy, and she wants him to know how much she and the rest of the family love and support the little person that he is-- new last name and all.

We hope they will. Because if we've done our job right, they'll appreciate what a precious inheritance it is, to be blest with the love of both the family you're born to and the family who adopts you.

Because they'll understand there's no such thing as any child being loved "too much" and the more folks who cherish their tiny boy, the better.

And because they'll know that the kind of person who has grace and courage it took to come back to Abrazo with that letter is surely someone worthy of knowing their son and having the reassurance to know her birthgrandson is growing up happy and healthy, in the home that God intended.

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And because they'll know that the kind of person who has grace and courage it took to come back to Abrazo with that letter is surely someone worthy of knowing their son and having the reassurance to know her birthgrandson is growing up happy and healthy, in the home that God intended.[/font]

How hard that must have been--especially since she isn't 100% in agreement with the decision <_<

Cathy

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How wonderful!!!

Grace Ann's birthmom's mom felt the same way as this grandmother did when we took placement of Grace Ann, but now after almost 5 years it looks like she maybe visiting with us when we come down before camp. I am so happy that she is finally willing to accept us and the adoption, but I am sad that it took her so long to accept the adoption. She and Grace Ann missed four years of knowing and loving each other.

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My mother had a hard time with my pregnancy and later with the choice that I made to place Joshua. She is just now opening up to me about how much she enjoys the pictures and stories that I share with her and we can finally talk about everything. She has even said to me recently that she is ready to meet Larry, Susan and Joshua, and when the time is right (hopefully soon) build a realtionship with them as I have in the past six and half years. I am so proud of her for being there for me and supporting me the best that she knows how, even if it isn't always what I need or want. I am ready now to support her and hope that she will find the peace and love that I have found in my relationship with them.

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Your visitor will be blessed by the peace she received making restitution of something she has no ability to change. God Bless her for sharing such a growing moment of character.

This brings to mind the experience of a former customer. Her son and daughter -in- law had one young child, they were already parenting. Then chose to make a secret, loving decision for there second child. They just didn't feel equiped at the time to parent two children.

The grandmother was made aware after the fact by a mistaken call from the daughter in laws OB office. She confronted her son who told her it was none of her business. She compounded his already grief striken heart by making irrational statements in public, notifying every family member she could and allenating her daughter-in-law. What a nightmare~

Over the next several months of seeing her and hearing the resentments; her only sons betrayal, etc...I saw what was once a bubbly lady, turn into a resentment striken person. I barely recognized her and dreaded her faithful appointments. She just could not get over the fact that they made the decision and there was nothing she could do to change it. That her son made this decison with his wife, without her and she had no control. "Unforgiveable at best" are the words I can still hear her say.

I have wondered about this lady over the years. She was none to happy with me leaving my job to be a full time Mommy to an adopted baby.

Reading this story gives me hope of healing and forgiveness. For all the Grandparents who are missing out on the treasured gifts in life, their Grandchildren.

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I grieve for my mom & all she is missing out on. I just can't bear to discuss any "happiness" I may have due to my choices to place Joshua or my glimmer of hope in th placement of Zoe. She is so consumed by her own feelings that she is missing out on the love joy and firendship of Joshua & his family and will in turn miss out on any info I gain on Zoe. My mom is just so hateful about things that it has driven a wedge into an already strained relationship & I no longer trust her with my feelings, hopes or dreams. I pray her heart brings change and that God will someday win out in this battle for control of her emotions & outbursts. I am a vitim of a mother who does not hesitate to bad-mouth or "spill the beans" on everything I do. So sad for all of those birthgrandparents to have missed so much. I wish they would consider just how the lack of inclusion by their children came to be during their time of decision making for that baby, maybe things will change for us all.

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My mother had a hard time with my pregnancy and later with the choice that I made to place Joshua. She is just now opening up to me about how much she enjoys the pictures and stories that I share with her and we can finally talk about everything. She has even said to me recently that she is ready to meet Larry, Susan and Joshua, and when the time is right (hopefully soon) build a realtionship with them as I have in the past six and half years. I am so proud of her for being there for me and supporting me the best that she knows how, even if it isn't always what I need or want. I am ready now to support her and hope that she will find the peace and love that I have found in my relationship with them.

We are looking forward to that!! :)

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  • 2 months later...
Grace Ann's birthmom's mom felt the same way as this grandmother did when we took placement of Grace Ann, but now after almost 5 years it looks like she maybe visiting with us when we come down before camp. I am so happy that she is finally willing to accept us and the adoption, but I am sad that it took her so long to accept the adoption. She and Grace Ann missed four years of knowing and loving each other.

When we where visting Grace Ann's birthfamily this summer, her birth grandmother changed her mind and did not want to see us. Yesterday Grace Ann received a two page letter from her. The first of any type of contact since the day that Grace Ann was born.

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Oh Melissa!! How special for Grace Ann. Time has a way of mending old wounds. Hoping this is the beginning of good things to come!

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When we where visting Grace Ann's birthfamily this summer, her birth grandmother changed her mind and did not want to see us. Yesterday Grace Ann received a two page letter from her. The first of any type of contact since the day that Grace Ann was born.

I'm so happy for you, Grace Ann, and her birth grandmother. That's a big step and hopefully just one of many :)

Cathy

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  • 4 weeks later...

An Oregon couple is fighting to adopt a Mexican child whose grandmother wants to raise him, instead: Who Does Gabriel Belong With?

Under Texas law, a grandparent's rights have traditionally been derivative of the parent's rights, meaning that a birthgrandparent has no rights to a child that the child's parent doesn't possess, unless they prove they have "standing", meaning they have a significant past relationship with the child that should entitle them to seek custody and/or visitation.

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Wow I hope that the new committee will think of the best interest of the child. I think the child should stay where he is. Just my opinion.

Char

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Wow I hope that the new committee will think of the best interest of the child. I think the child should stay where he is. Just my opinion.

Char

Wow is right. I agree with Char in hoping the new committee weighs all of the evidence. It sounds clear to me the safest choice for the child is to remain in foster care. I pray for the poor foster parents. To know you may lose the child you had hoped to adopt and raised for so long is hard enough. But to realize what a dangerous situation it would place him, living with a child predator. How very sad. Hopefully little Gabriel is able to stay in his home.

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