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As I’ve mentioned a time or two in the last few days, my eldest step-daughter is visiting us from Canada.

One of the highlights of her trips these last two years (she comes once a year) has been getting to know her niece (our granddaughter) Hailie, who she misses terribly all year long.

For a bit of background, relations are currently somewhat strained between Hailie’s mom (our daughter-in-law) and the rest of the family. It has basically been made clear to all of us that if we want a relationship with this beautiful child, then we will have to work for it, because Mom isn’t at all motivated to make any efforts toward keeping her daughter a part of anyone’s life.

Hailie’s father shares his own responsibility in the way things are deteriorating, but many (not all) are eager to excuse him first, because he is a full-time student, holding down a full-time (50 hrs. a week) job, and typically the only one taking care of any of the cooking, cleaning and general care of the family.

Communication being what it is between all of us (pretty much a lack of), we were still somewhat surprised the other day to discover that said son and daughter-in-law have been making plans for Hailie’s future in which NONE of us are really being considered.

Apparently, they’ve decided that son’s best friend is a better choice to raise Hailie in the event that something were to happen to both of her parents. He’s an attorney, see, and therefore would “be in a better position financially” to bear the burden.

I have to say, this news has a cumulative and far-reaching sting.

1.) We wouldn’t even know anything about it, if not for the visiting daughter having overheard the conversation (as they discussed it right in front of her, as if she wasn’t even in the room).

2.) There are a total of 3 siblings and 3 sets of grandparents who have all been determined not worthy of either raising the child, or a face-to-face discussion of such.

Scott’s daughter said that when she protested, she was assured that provisions will be made so that Hailie’s lawyer-guardian will make sure everyone gets time with her. But her own parents aren’t even doing that, so how in the world are we supposed to believe that will ever happen?

I’m just so frustrated, and my heart hurts. Not just for my husband, who was a wonderful father to his three children, but also for my step-daughters, who have taken the news quite hard.

So what do we do? How are we supposed to feel in the face of this news?



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • That is the most hurtful and illogical thing I have heard in a long while. I don’t see how you or Scott could not be extremely upset by this. I have no advice, only an, “I am so sorry you hurt.”



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      AnneMarie Kimberling wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Wow - I’m with Cindy in that I don’t have any advice.  But my heart goes out to you and your family....



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Thanks Lu and Anne Marie. It’s so hard to actually have it thrust in your face that money is more important than family.

      The saddest part of it all (well hell, it’s all so sad) is that there is no reason for the deterioration in the relationships between son & DIL and everybody else. Quite frankly, I believe that it’s because DIL is embarrassed with the way she is handling her own life, and to shut us out is easier than owning up. Ugh.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Inakika wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • How sad. That poor baby is caught in the middle of a mess that she did not make. How completely selfish of the parents to deprive that child of family. One day, when she finds out the truth, she will be none too happy with her parents. The daughter sounds like she needs to talk to Dr. Phil!
      I am so sorry for what your poor family has to go through.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Thanks so much, Ingrid and Lori.

      Hailie has just turned 2, and we are making great efforts to see her on a regular basis. We had initially issued repeated invitations to her parents which were always accepted only to have them back out at the last minute. We finally stopped issuing the invitations and had to go back to the drawing board. They live about an hour away (if we pop for $10 in tolls round-trip) and we work 6 days a week, so we had to get creative.

      Our schedule allows for us to pick her up a couple of times a month on a Sunday evening and keep her overnight, so that’s what we‘re doing now.

      We are insistent upon being a part of her life, whether her parents feel it’s important or not. It’s important to us.

      And yes, we absolutely hope that nothing ever comes of these ‘plans‘. A legal battle is something we’ve all faced in one way or another, and then are never any winners, regardless of the goals.

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Heather..First of all, I am sorry that you, your husband and the rest of the family are going through this.

      I have to agree with mrslorid. Remember this is only a plan that hopefully will never have to happen. Try not to put too much energy toward it.
      Also like mrslorid suggested (although it may be difficult to do)try finding other ways right now to be in her life so that she will know who you are and will hopefully express her desire to see you more.
      Hope everything works out.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Almostfive0 wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Looks like you are doing a good job of keeping contact with her already. Just continue doing what you are doing. I am sure she is in love with you so you don’t have to worry whether or not she will want to see you guys or not.
      much love
      Carol



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • The situation is so similar to what bfly describes above that it is startling. Now, DIL has not been abusive (this is her daughter, and the first marriage/child for both of them) in our presence, but I wholeheartedly believe that her treatment of the rest of us absolutely begins within her own insecurities.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Just continue to love them all, Grandbaby, son and daughter in law. You mention that she may be embarrassed by the way she conducts her own life. If she feel really safe and loved by you and Scott, even if down deep you feel differently, it difuses her defensiveness and control in her relationship with you. This is easier said than done, I know. When our grand baby’s father comes around we just want to throttle him but we smile and are polite anyway.

      We just know that all the love we shower little Jazelle with and the way we provide unconditional love and acceptance for my husband’s daughter and even the lousy guy who happens to be her father will only serve to strengthen the ties as she grows up and can make decisions for herself.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Thanks Cynthia.

      With DIL, it runs pretty deep. After several broken engagements on their part, we stopped issuing invitations. Then she regaled the other parts of the family with “They never call us!“. So, when we decided to change our approach and started calling to see how everybody was doing and to schedule time with Hailie, then it became “All they care about is her, and not us.”

      Quite frankly, we lost before we started.

      She is a very negative person to be around, always finding fault in everybody who isn’t there to defend themselves. And, based on how she’s gone off about her “real” MIL in front of us, there’s not a doubt in my mind she’s running us down to everyone else.

      However, we always remain very supportive and never offer any advice or criticism, since we‘re never asked. We don’t treat her any differently than we do Scott’s son or daughters, but it’s never good enough.

      We‘re grateful that Hailie is the easy-going kid she is, and that we were smart enough to step in and demand what we‘re entitled to early.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Darby wrote Nov 11, 2008
    • Feathermaye, I don’t have any advice for you but know that I am sending you positive thoughts that you will find a solution and aare just able to keep seeing your granddaughter. As others have said it is just a plan—and hopefully nothing will come of it although it is very disappointing and illogical.



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