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Raising Children with Parents in Prison For the Parent left behind with children AND for the Children that have a parent inside. Discussion of unique challenges facing this group!

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  #1  
Old 07-17-2018, 10:40 AM
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Default It happened: My 3 year old broken hearted due to no letter in over 4 months

So what I feared finally happened....

Little back story for those who haven't seen my others posts.

BD is in prison, I have a 3 almost 4 year old. They never really had a relationship, he was abusive towards me, and verbally abusive towards her, until she was almost a year and I left. She has anger issues from him that run in his family, as well as PTSD(diagnosed) from what happened within that year.
Fast forward when she was 2 , i filed for custody due to his behavior and got an an order of protection. He then got a locked up.
The judge awarded him, phone calls and that I have to send 2 letters a month about her w/ pictures.

I've been struggling back and forth if I want him in her life, if I should try to terminate his rights, so the guy she calls daddy can adopt her, all this crazy back and forth trying to do that right thing for her.

Well, she was on vacation for a little bit, before that he was calling 3 times a week, she didn't really ever want to talk to him BUT she did get used to him call, saying hi. She also got used to checking the mail and seeing he wrote a letter. She's very smart and remembers everything. No matter how small it is.

Well since she was on vacation, obviously they didn't talk on the phone.
But yesterday... my husband took her with him to check the mail. She loves doing this because when he was stationed overseas he would send her letters all the time. It's part of her routine.

Anyways, she was looking for a letter from BD, again there was none. Last letter was over 4 months ago. She asked my husband, if BD has called, he hasn't so he said no.

she started crying and said "_____ doens't love me anymore..."
When my husband told me this... i broke. I always feared this would happen... He did this within her first year of us still living together, come and go as he pleased...
I always feared she would get used to him being some what in her life and then he leaves....


If it was up to me, I wouldn't tell her anything about him, or show her the letters or anything, but her therapist thinks it's a good idea, so when she is older she doesn't think we've hidden anything from her/lied to her about it, also she does talk to his side of the family. But not to try to explain to her biological father vs the father thats raising her just yet, she's smart but she is only 3.

My poor baby... I know she does not know exactly who is his to her... but i can just imagine her face when she said that...


Some of you may say, well prison isn't always easy, he may not have money or stamps... but he does...
He gets money twice a month, and has been calling and writing to his other family.....

I guess i just needed to vent ... i don't want her to go through this... when she finds out that's her real dad, and thinking she wasn't good enough... ugh ...
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:10 PM
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I had a very similar issue when my son was about the same age. His bio-father was an abuser, an addict, and very absent. When we separated (I went home to parents), he called once, then not again for 10 years!!

When he did get in touch again, he was as erratic as ever. Made promises, broke them....all the time.

Finally I commandeered the phone and gave him what for. Told him if he couldn't follow through then shut the f up, but not to keep breaking his kid's heart and trust.

It was another 15 years before we heard from him again.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:12 PM
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You know him best, so either do nothing except trying to explain to your daughter why he isn't calling or writing her, or write him and explain what his selfishness is actually causing her.

She will probably be dealing with this for a very long time. One of my adopted grandchildren (his sister is my Son's child; he died at age 19), has never met or spoken to his "father". It is much easier on her than it is on her brother, who's father ran away even before he was born. Making excuses for a total loser at life is not easy, but I still am sad when the boy asks me "why doesn't my Dad love me?".
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:10 PM
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The answer for a child is "It's not that he doesn't love you, it's that he doesn't love anybody".
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:03 PM
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It's sad this happening to her how horrible of a father to try to be in her life and then just suddenly stop. Maybe you can make up for it by sending her a little letter yourself and in it include maybe a coupon to your nearest ice cream shop. Or maybe a coupon for McDonald's or something just to keep her mind busy and off of her father Etc. She'll love getting the mail and be excited about checking it. And if she finally does get a letter from him then good if not maybe this will help keep her mind off of him.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nygirl17 View Post
It's sad this happening to her how horrible of a father to try to be in her life and then just suddenly stop. Maybe you can make up for it by sending her a little letter yourself and in it include maybe a coupon to your nearest ice cream shop. Or maybe a coupon for McDonald's or something just to keep her mind busy and off of her father Etc. She'll love getting the mail and be excited about checking it. And if she finally does get a letter from him then good if not maybe this will help keep her mind off of him.
I like this idea. Or do you have any relatives that can send her a card just because? She can then write them back etc.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:16 PM
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I think it’s really up to you. The child is only three years old. If she thinks he is an uncle or something along those lines I think you should divert her attention to something else. You did say that it was court ordered that her father have contact and since he isn’t holding up his end of the bargain I think you have a good case to terminate his parental rights. It’s your responsibility to see that the child is affected as little as possible. Keep her away from the drama as much as possible. This is just way too much for a three year old to have to deal with. My guess is it’s more traumatic for you than it is for her - or it should be.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:54 AM
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I like this idea. Or do you have any relatives that can send her a card just because? She can then write them back etc.
It will work I went through something similar to this with my child when she was little my ex-husband wasn't in prison but it's pretty similar I diverted her attention elsewhere. I never spoke ill of him though I let her figure that out on her own I always spoke positive about him after all he is her father. Obviously she has learned on her own how he is and what he's all about. She thanked me recently for being such a great mom.
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Old 07-18-2018, 07:08 AM
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A few thoughts.
First you said she was on vacation. Assuming Dad knew this? So no phone call. It also could be that something happened (lockdown?)
Or he could be lazy. Dont know.


Second it sounds like the phone calls for her are eh. Not as big a deal as a letter.
After all, a letter is something physical. You can see it. Touch it. Not like a phone call. So it makes sense that those are more important to her.
I think I would for sure be telling her father in one of your letters exactly whats happened, and what was said.


And keep record. Track each phone call, each letter. If he starts *missing* them.......it could possibly help with you getting his rights terminated should you want to go that route.


As to your daughters comment about *dad * not loving her anymore.......my reply would be something like.......Now how can that be? Your very loveable, impossible not to love you!!
Then DISTRACT as best you can.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:01 AM
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I have told him many times "you need to be consistent, and do not tell her something you're going to do and not do it. she remembers pretty much everything"
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Originally Posted by nimuay View Post
I had a very similar issue when my son was about the same age. His bio-father was an abuser, an addict, and very absent. When we separated (I went home to parents), he called once, then not again for 10 years!!

When he did get in touch again, he was as erratic as ever. Made promises, broke them....all the time.

Finally I commandeered the phone and gave him what for. Told him if he couldn't follow through then shut the f up, but not to keep breaking his kid's heart and trust.

It was another 15 years before we heard from him again.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:02 AM
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Yes i wrote him a very serious letter.
I'm sorry for your lose. It is pretty sad.
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Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
You know him best, so either do nothing except trying to explain to your daughter why he isn't calling or writing her, or write him and explain what his selfishness is actually causing her.

She will probably be dealing with this for a very long time. One of my adopted grandchildren (his sister is my Son's child; he died at age 19), has never met or spoken to his "father". It is much easier on her than it is on her brother, who's father ran away even before he was born. Making excuses for a total loser at life is not easy, but I still am sad when the boy asks me "why doesn't my Dad love me?".
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:03 AM
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My husband hasn't stopped sending her letters, even though he's not overseas anymore he throws a letter in the mail for ever every now and again, and did so yesterday. It made her day. She loved it.
She just knows that he(BD) used to write her and now he doesn't.
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Originally Posted by nygirl17 View Post
It's sad this happening to her how horrible of a father to try to be in her life and then just suddenly stop. Maybe you can make up for it by sending her a little letter yourself and in it include maybe a coupon to your nearest ice cream shop. Or maybe a coupon for McDonald's or something just to keep her mind busy and off of her father Etc. She'll love getting the mail and be excited about checking it. And if she finally does get a letter from him then good if not maybe this will help keep her mind off of him.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:07 AM
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I'm not sure if I will have a good case sadly. In out court order it's only in there saying I have to write letters, and make my baby girl available up to 3 times a week to call. No where does it say he has to do anything. It even states in there that he is incarcerated so him frequently contacting is not possible..

But yes, I have decided that my husband will check the mail before she goes to check the mail, to make sure there is nothing from BD, if there is, he will take it out, and will continue to do so for a while. I will make sure that she is not around when I write his letters so she does not ask.

& if he calls, then he calls.
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I think its really up to you. The child is only three years old. If she thinks he is an uncle or something along those lines I think you should divert her attention to something else. You did say that it was court ordered that her father have contact and since he isnt holding up his end of the bargain I think you have a good case to terminate his parental rights. Its your responsibility to see that the child is affected as little as possible. Keep her away from the drama as much as possible. This is just way too much for a three year old to have to deal with. My guess is its more traumatic for you than it is for her - or it should be.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:11 AM
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Yes BD did know when she was on vacation and when she would be back. Before leaving he stated " I will save my phone time for her when she gets back, and I will still continue to write her." Sadly that never happened.

No there was no lock down, and he did not get put in the whole or anything like that. I know that, because I am close friends with his brother and his brother has told me that he has been calling and writing their mom just fine.

Hubby gave her icecream that night, and told her that he loves her very much and is the most amazing girl, so hopefully that helped her a little bit.
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A few thoughts.
First you said she was on vacation. Assuming Dad knew this? So no phone call. It also could be that something happened (lockdown?)
Or he could be lazy. Dont know.


Second it sounds like the phone calls for her are eh. Not as big a deal as a letter.
After all, a letter is something physical. You can see it. Touch it. Not like a phone call. So it makes sense that those are more important to her.
I think I would for sure be telling her father in one of your letters exactly whats happened, and what was said.


And keep record. Track each phone call, each letter. If he starts *missing* them.......it could possibly help with you getting his rights terminated should you want to go that route.


As to your daughters comment about *dad * not loving her anymore.......my reply would be something like.......Now how can that be? Your very loveable, impossible not to love you!!
Then DISTRACT as best you can.
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Old 07-18-2018, 09:16 AM
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Thank you everyone for your time and replies. I wrote BD a letter knowing what his actions are doing to her. That i know he is in prison but if he can write and call his family, she should be receiving calls and such, especially since she's been back. I told him, that just because she was gone, he should have written asking about her, or writing her letters to come back to like he said, you don't just not ask or talk to your child because they are simply not there.
I asked him to think about if he was here in person and if she went on this vacation, would he just not call to check on her? How would that make her feel. What if I had not called her the whole time I was on vacation.

like i stated in one of my replies above, we are going to let her see as little as possible for a while. Making sure she doesnt see his letters, and making sure she's asleep when I write his letters.

Hopefully that will help her get use to not getting letters? Or maybe make it easier when he doesn't write? Hubby said he won't stop his letters so she will be able to at least still get letters and be all excited about them.
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:07 AM
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How about we write her postcards or something? I could send something fun from Germany? You can tell her they are from friends or something like that...
Always happy to cheer up people especially children
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:13 AM
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Oh my yes!! She would love that! She loves stamps so seeing a stamp from another country would be mind blowing to her! I will message you
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How about we write her postcards or something? I could send something fun from Germany? You can tell her they are from friends or something like that...
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Old 07-18-2018, 11:52 AM
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Awesome, will do that this weekend!
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Old 07-18-2018, 12:38 PM
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Wow this guy sounds like a total jerk.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:30 AM
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I am in the uk and also happy to send a card or a letter just PM me the details
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:45 AM
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If she is into stamps, I'll look for this coloring/activity book we have at the Post office.
(I work there) I'll look today and grab one if we still have them, and send it off to you if you would like.
Or you might try asking your local Post office if they have any. I cant remember the ages its designed for, but it might be fun for her. I'll pm you later.
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Old 07-19-2018, 06:47 AM
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I have not heard of that. Thank you so much!
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If she is into stamps, I'll look for this coloring/activity book we have at the Post office.
(I work there) I'll look today and grab one if we still have them, and send it off to you if you would like.
Or you might try asking your local Post office if they have any. I cant remember the ages its designed for, but it might be fun for her. I'll pm you later.
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Old 07-24-2018, 08:04 PM
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PM me with how to write as well. This could be a good thing for her to receive cards and letters from a variety of places... help her know she is important. You might also consider taking her to a counselor and see if she will tell him/her how this has made her feel. Then if you do try to terminate his rights, the counselor will be able to support you in how this is affecting the well being of your child. Just a thought....
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