Dear Amy: I am currently in the process of voluntarily terminating the parental rights to my child. It’s not that I’m an inadequate mother or hate the child.
I remarried when my son was 5 years old, and my husband obtained a job out of state. The child did not want to move, so I allowed him to live full time with my ex.
For the last five years (he is 10 now), he has voiced his dislike of me and my husband, and says he does not want to see me at all (and it’s not just because of my husband).
He always acted out at home and at school, refused to eat, would break things in our home, and refused to do schoolwork.
Since living full time with my ex, his behavior has improved, he is gaining weight, and is doing great in school.
Because I moved so far away and was unable to exercise my parenting time (due to my own medical reasons), my ex’s lawyer claimed abandonment.
Knowing the child would be happier with his father, I have agreed to terminating my rights.
I’m OK with this decision and have accepted it.
The problem I’m having now, is how to continue on with my life.
We’ve moved to a new town in a new state. My husband has friends and family in this state, but I do not, so it’s a blank slate for me.
My husband and I have two children together, so my question is, would it be rude or wrong to talk and act as if I only have the two children?
I feel that would be easiest for me, as far as explaining, as well as healing and moving on in my life.
So, am I the mother of two, or three?
– Blank Slate Mom
Dear Mom: Termination of parental rights can only be done through a court, so I’m going to assume that this legal process is underway, and you are agreeing, cooperating, and participating in this extremely serious process.
Termination of parental rights happens most often after a parent abandons a child, which is what you did when you moved away and didn’t return to see your child.
I appreciate your candor that your son is much better off living full time with his father, but although you claim that you were not an “inadequate” mother to this child, you obviously were. I hope you have changed.
When you legally terminate your parental rights, you and your child are considered to be – quite literally – strangers.
You completely sever your relationship with the child opening up the possibility that he might be legally adopted by your ex’s partner (if he has one).
Legally, you now have two children instead of three, and that’s how you could describe your family when meeting people.
However, I hope you won’t maintain this as a deep and dark secret. You should be open and completely frank with your two children when they are at an appropriate age. This child is their biological half-brother.
Because you have legally terminated this relationship, it would follow that they don’t have any legal rights to have any contact with this brother, but when they are all adults, they may choose to find one another.
Dear Amy: I received a “Save the Date” note for the wedding of the son of a very close friend of mine.
I was searching the internet for the wedding registry, and several porn sites with the bride’s name came up in the search.
My friend may already know about this and I don’t want to seem judgmental by mentioning it.
However, if they don’t know about it and she is involved in something, they might want to change their plans.
What would you suggest I do?
– Concerned Friend
Dear Concerned: If you were able to find this wedding registry, despite some initial confusion, then leave it alone.
Otherwise, you could notify the couple about the results of your online searches, without attaching any judgment at all to your notification: “When I was looking for your online registry, the following sites came up in my search. I thought you would want to know, in case this creates confusion for other guests, as well.”
Dear Amy: The letter from “C” caught my attention. C wanted to get married, but her longtime companion didn’t. He told her he would only get married to make her happy.
You questioned his commitment to her.
I would have told C to set the date!
– Faithful Reader
Dear Reader: Many readers agree with you.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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