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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 06-02-2018, 10:33 AM
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Default Wondering how your child handles lack of contact

Hello!

For all those who have children with another parent , that you’re not in a relationship with, in jail/prison.

How do you do it? Like honestly? I understand at times you the other parent has to choose to spend the money on hygiene & food instead of phone time or envelopes , so there could be a good amount of time between phone calls and/or letters.

How does your child handle that , if it happens? My daughter hasnt asked about why he hasnt called or writtwn, but incase she does one day. How do you tell them where hes at? Shes a toddler.
What if she asks something like , well how come he doesnt come see me since he says he wants to see me. Or how come he didnt call me like he said he would.

She doesnt see him as a father but like an uncle. Her therapist says that right now she cant understand having two dads in her life , so go with what she calls him for now. But when i think shes ready to tell her.

How do you do that? What do you say? Will she feel like he doesnt want her? Like she wasnt good enough??

Any help , advice or suggestions? Thank you!
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:06 PM
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It must be especially hard on children when an incarcerated parent ignores them. Your daughter is probably better off thinking that her father is her uncle, at least until she is older. Father versus sperm donor is not an easy concept to understand.

His priority, if he was a real father, would be child before commissary, especially since a letter costs what, 50 cents? I think that excusing his behavior is not the way to present what he isn't doing to anyone, but you might want to ask her therapist how to best handle that issue with your daughter.
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:37 AM
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You can tell her that her father does not make good choices.
Why else would he not see his daughter? Cause she is good and the best choice ever.
So it must be him. Not her.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:40 AM
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I looked it up last night and a PRE stamped envelope costs him $0.05... and 15 minutes phone call, costs $3. She has not gotten a letter from him since 4 April, i and my husband however, received on the other day with him saying that he's not going to be calling because he needed to buy other things, that he hopes she understands and that he hopes he doesn't sound selfish.

But i had the same thinking you are having. Yes i understand he doesnt have it that easy in there (money wise) but i would hope that you bought some stamps and such before you got what you needed...

Her therapist said that unfortunately there's no way to tell how she'll handle it and tell her when we think she's ready, but to make sure we tell her BEFORE she finds out herself, or else that could break her trust with us. All confusing /:



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It must be especially hard on children when an incarcerated parent ignores them. Your daughter is probably better off thinking that her father is her uncle, at least until she is older. Father versus sperm donor is not an easy concept to understand.

His priority, if he was a real father, would be child before commissary, especially since a letter costs what, 50 cents? I think that excusing his behavior is not the way to present what he isn't doing to anyone, but you might want to ask her therapist how to best handle that issue with your daughter.
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Old 06-06-2018, 08:42 AM
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Yes we will be telling her that, but children often still think that they are not good enough, that maybe at the time she wasn't good enough thats what he made those bad choices? yanno? I could very well be over thinking it

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You can tell her that her father does not make good choices.
Why else would he not see his daughter? Cause she is good and the best choice ever.
So it must be him. Not her.
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Old 06-06-2018, 09:48 AM
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Right now, her stepfather fills that good because she has a mom and a dad. As she gets oldwr, she will ask more questions. You have some time for that.

My kids just want an answer and never a long drawn out one. As rhey age, they ask more questions, but after a certain point I can tell they have had enough. You will learn to read her responses.

If you keep it on the lighter end, her perspective won't be so harsh. You get to shape this and her self esteem moving forward. You can keep it simple. He loves you, but made bad choices and has to handle consequences of those choices.

As he proves or disproves this through actions, you will have to tailor it.
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Old 06-06-2018, 12:51 PM
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Thank you so much for your answer! I will be keeping this in mind as time goes on!

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Right now, her stepfather fills that good because she has a mom and a dad. As she gets oldwr, she will ask more questions. You have some time for that.

My kids just want an answer and never a long drawn out one. As rhey age, they ask more questions, but after a certain point I can tell they have had enough. You will learn to read her responses.

If you keep it on the lighter end, her perspective won't be so harsh. You get to shape this and her self esteem moving forward. You can keep it simple. He loves you, but made bad choices and has to handle consequences of those choices.

As he proves or disproves this through actions, you will have to tailor it.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:12 PM
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Thank you so much for your answer! I will be keeping this in mind as time goes on!
You are welcome. My kids have lived through a natural disaster and divorce. With my guy, they know, but I keep it light. Yet, I reinforce being a man and taking responsibility for his actions because I never want them to think it is ok. Also, I couple it with people make mistakes and if they are trying to make themselves better we support them.

I don't let it touch their lives too much. Make each day as normal as possible.

Sorry for the typos earlier. I was rushing on my phone.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jordan321 View Post
I looked it up last night and a PRE stamped envelope costs him $0.05... and 15 minutes phone call, costs $3. She has not gotten a letter from him since 4 April, i and my husband however, received on the other day with him saying that he's not going to be calling because he needed to buy other things, that he hopes she understands and that he hopes he doesn't sound selfish.

But i had the same thinking you are having. Yes i understand he doesnt have it that easy in there (money wise) but i would hope that you bought some stamps and such before you got what you needed...

Her therapist said that unfortunately there's no way to tell how she'll handle it and tell her when we think she's ready, but to make sure we tell her BEFORE she finds out herself, or else that could break her trust with us. All confusing /:
I look at this a little different. A month ago you didn’t even want him writing letters and said his phone calls were upsetting to her. I can imagine that rather than deal with going through you for phone calls and monitoring letters that he’s decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle. If it were me and my child was a toddler and in therapy I wouldn’t even read letters to her. I may keep them but she is wayyy to young to understand any of this. I’d be thankful that he’s decided not to call and upset her and would be perfectly ok with that. It must be confusing to her when you refer to him as Uncle when it’s been court ordered she call only him Dad. He’s in prison. He’s obviously not going to be what a model Father would be. It’s possible he’s doing the best he can right now.
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Old 06-06-2018, 04:56 PM
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Yes that is correct. I didnt want him any type of contact at all, but we are both going through therapy together about this, im leadning to let go of my feelings about him and looking at it in a different light. Shes a toddler so i dont know how else he would talk to her then through me. If i have to allow him to talk to her and such , i need to act different and think differently about it. I never let him know my feelings towards anything.
I do not go around calling him uncle _____ i say ____ is calling you or sent you a letter. When she wasnt grasping the concept Dad , since her dad is in her life , we switched to ____ brother , thats why she says hes her uncle. Because the other guy is her uncle and she thinks that he is as well. Our therapis said to go along with that for now because its what is working for her to have some connection with him. She has no idea what the court order is or says. Shes not suppose to. I honestly do not care about that part in the court order. You cannot force a little girl to call and not call people things they do not want to. The reason i am concerned about him not calling now is because he did start calling. She got use to a phone call from him, whether she wanted to talk or not. She has an amazing memory and remembers. I do not want her thinking she did something wrong. I am new to all of this, and have too much negative emotions towards him I am trying my best to br unbiased like the therapist says.so i come to this page to vent , ask for advise and opinions.

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I look at this a little different. A month ago you didn’t even want him writing letters and said his phone calls were upsetting to her. I can imagine that rather than deal with going through you for phone calls and monitoring letters that he’s decided that it wasn’t worth the hassle. If it were me and my child was a toddler and in therapy I wouldn’t even read letters to her. I may keep them but she is wayyy to young to understand any of this. I’d be thankful that he’s decided not to call and upset her and would be perfectly ok with that. It must be confusing to her when you refer to him as Uncle when it’s been court ordered she call only him Dad. He’s in prison. He’s obviously not going to be what a model Father would be. It’s possible he’s doing the best he can right now.
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:28 AM
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How long is your ex in prison for, did he go to prison before your child was born? (I'm sorry if I missed your back story.)

My kids are older (14 & 11) and know he's in prison. I don't keep it light with them because he is a pathological liar and will continue to mislead them as much as he can. I did NOT do this with them when we first separated & divorced. I thought they were too young to understand and as long as he didn't do anything to hurt them, I would keep my mouth shut. Fast forward 4 years and his house was raided early one morning on a day that they happened to be spending the night. Once I was contacted by the FBI, it was 'gloves off' for me. Now that we are aware of what he has resorted to and my kids are aware of his necessity to lie, they understand to take everything he says or writes with a degree of skepticism. I do NOT keep them from writing or talking to him. At this point however, I have denied his parents' request to take my children to visit him 7 hours away.

I recently wrote a letter to my ex making sure he understands my stance when it comes to our kids. If he continues to call them every few weeks and write once a month but call his girlfriend daily (and she tells my kids this) then he can forget me doing anything BUT encouraging my kids to move on. I told him he doesn't deserve their sympathy or devotion if he can't 'suck it up' and be as much of a Dad as he can in his position. That means calling & writing AND talking about the kids, not his day to day misery of 'unjust, unfair punishment' as he likes to write.

I think every family is going to have to decide based on their specific circumstances, that's why I asked about the back story.
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Old 06-08-2018, 12:12 PM
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He has been in 2 1/2 years so far, has another 2 to go & from what he told me, he is 95% looking at more time due to his involvement in a riot that lead to assault on staff. He went in when she was about 1.5 yrs old, she's almost 4. Before that, he was never really around. I was a single mother doing everything and he showed up when he wanted to. I never stopped it due to if i tried to , he would get into his ways....
There's a lot of mental and physical abuse I went through, and she went through mental abuse and goes to therapy for it. I honestly do not know if he ever hit her, or hurt her when she was in his car the 3 times she was, which was only about 30 minutes because he "couldn't handle her crying".. Her daddy(the one raising her now) has always been there for me specifically since she was born, he lowkey supported her from the beginning money wise, food wise, diapers, etc. It just so happened that I finally introduced them a few months before he got locked up, so really he has always been her daddy.

She has no knowledge, that we know of, what her bio dad has done to her, but ive heard many stories of children remembering years later, and then reflecting back on that person, what they've done to / with them since then, things like that.

I'm going to stop reading the letters like a user below suggested. She is too young to even know what the letters mean. So if she wants to look at them I will let her.

I 100% get what you say about the kids & girlfriend thing. That's why I mentioned stamps only being $.05 and phone calls $3 for 15 minutes.

I'm just a lost confused parent who is trying to get through the emotional part of my past with him, and do right by my daughter. and I'm lost. A therapist can only do so much, and I know other peoples stories and situation aren't mine... but it helps you know?

I even hired a lawyer to terminate his rights, and I was all about it, making sure he didn't have any rights to her, my husband could adopt her, as he should since that's her daddy, all of that. Bio dad could be her uncle and that's it. If he wanted to write he could, call sure, but just as an uncle.
The lawyer came back and said it would be tricky & hard due to all the abuse that we could actually prove was towards me. The main thing going for us was his sentence time.

So now me and my husband are just trying to get okay ish with the idea of all of this. Him having rights to her, custody battles for when he gets released and all that. I'm just trying to due right by her, work out my emotions AND making sure she's okay.


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How long is your ex in prison for, did he go to prison before your child was born? (I'm sorry if I missed your back story.)

My kids are older (14 & 11) and know he's in prison. I don't keep it light with them because he is a pathological liar and will continue to mislead them as much as he can. I did NOT do this with them when we first separated & divorced. I thought they were too young to understand and as long as he didn't do anything to hurt them, I would keep my mouth shut. Fast forward 4 years and his house was raided early one morning on a day that they happened to be spending the night. Once I was contacted by the FBI, it was 'gloves off' for me. Now that we are aware of what he has resorted to and my kids are aware of his necessity to lie, they understand to take everything he says or writes with a degree of skepticism. I do NOT keep them from writing or talking to him. At this point however, I have denied his parents' request to take my children to visit him 7 hours away.

I recently wrote a letter to my ex making sure he understands my stance when it comes to our kids. If he continues to call them every few weeks and write once a month but call his girlfriend daily (and she tells my kids this) then he can forget me doing anything BUT encouraging my kids to move on. I told him he doesn't deserve their sympathy or devotion if he can't 'suck it up' and be as much of a Dad as he can in his position. That means calling & writing AND talking about the kids, not his day to day misery of 'unjust, unfair punishment' as he likes to write.

I think every family is going to have to decide based on their specific circumstances, that's why I asked about the back story.

Last edited by jordan321; 06-08-2018 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 06-08-2018, 01:48 PM
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It's sad that so many kids have to be affected by their bio parent's poor choices in life.

Sounds like you are definitely trying to do the best for your daughter. I think you are doing the right thing so far. Keep his letters and when she is old enough to understand, then sit down with her. Sticking with therapy will help you to handle that when the time comes, I'm sure.

Do you communicate directly with her bio dad at all? So glad she has her Daddy to help take care of her as well as be there for you.


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He has been in 2 1/2 years so far, has another 2 to go & from what he told me, he is 95% looking at more time due to his involvement in a riot that lead to assault on staff. He went in when she was about 1.5 yrs old, she's almost 4. Before that, he was never really around. I was a single mother doing everything and he showed up when he wanted to. I never stopped it due to if i tried to , he would get into his ways....
There's a lot of mental and physical abuse I went through, and she went through mental abuse and goes to therapy for it. I honestly do not know if he ever hit her, or hurt her when she was in his car the 3 times she was, which was only about 30 minutes because he "couldn't handle her crying".. Her daddy(the one raising her now) has always been there for me specifically since she was born, he lowkey supported her from the beginning money wise, food wise, diapers, etc. It just so happened that I finally introduced them a few months before he got locked up, so really he has always been her daddy.

She has no knowledge, that we know of, what her bio dad has done to her, but ive heard many stories of children remembering years later, and then reflecting back on that person, what they've done to / with them since then, things like that.

I'm going to stop reading the letters like a user below suggested. She is too young to even know what the letters mean. So if she wants to look at them I will let her.

I 100% get what you say about the kids & girlfriend thing. That's why I mentioned stamps only being $.05 and phone calls $3 for 15 minutes.

I'm just a lost confused parent who is trying to get through the emotional part of my past with him, and do right by my daughter. and I'm lost. A therapist can only do so much, and I know other peoples stories and situation aren't mine... but it helps you know?

I even hired a lawyer to terminate his rights, and I was all about it, making sure he didn't have any rights to her, my husband could adopt her, as he should since that's her daddy, all of that. Bio dad could be her uncle and that's it. If he wanted to write he could, call sure, but just as an uncle.
The lawyer came back and said it would be tricky & hard due to all the abuse that we could actually prove was towards me. The main thing going for us was his sentence time.

So now me and my husband are just trying to get okay ish with the idea of all of this. Him having rights to her, custody battles for when he gets released and all that. I'm just trying to due right by her, work out my emotions AND making sure she's okay.
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Old 06-10-2018, 09:40 PM
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It is sad. I was also ome of those kids , which is why im even more comfused about all of this and just trying to do right.

Thank you, i really am trying.
I have had some direct contact with him. When he does call, my husband is the one who is home with our daughter. He tries to talk about me to my husband but my husband doesnt allow it. The one actual phone call i had with just him directly wasnt very good . When he writes me its about how he doesnt like what i let my daughter do , he doesnt like how i write the letters or the pictures of her i send (its court ordered) so its very hard to talk to him. My husband actually is my rock when it comes to this and helps me keep civil with him , when bio dad isnt . Im very glad too. I just wish she disnt have to go through this.
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It's sad that so many kids have to be affected by their bio parent's poor choices in life.

Sounds like you are definitely trying to do the best for your daughter. I think you are doing the right thing so far. Keep his letters and when she is old enough to understand, then sit down with her. Sticking with therapy will help you to handle that when the time comes, I'm sure.

Do you communicate directly with her bio dad at all? So glad she has her Daddy to help take care of her as well as be there for you.
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Old 06-21-2018, 08:25 AM
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Jordan, I was 8 when my mom left before a warrant caught up with her. It's a long complicated story but i didn't care because she didn't take care of me and my 3 younger sisters. My father did all the caring for us, along with working all day. I remember stuff. But my sisters were 3, 5 and 6 and even the youngest kept wanting to know why and did bio mom feel they weren't good enough because she abandoned them. As adults, they found her and two of them talked to her. I had no desire to know anything, but I did have real memories and they didn't other than what they heard from others as they got older.

Now, the other end of that spectrum. My ex is an alcoholic. He demanded a divorce when my son was 8 and my daughter was 13. My daughter had the benefit of 8 years of memories where dad didn't drink. My son only remembers the drunk. They both know he didn't support them financially. Our son has no respect for his dad and considers him useless. But, being in prison and the way I raised my children, my son does send him a Christmas card and a letter each year. Dad has not sent his son a single card or note and changes the subject when I mention our son. Dad is drunk every day by 3:30. Our daughter visits him when she comes to AZ (she is in WI) and calls him. Our son wants nothing to do with him after all this. My son told me that my 2nd husband is the person who was dad to him in regards to who was around as that parental figure from ages 10 to 20. Former stepdad sends money to him and contributes to seurepaks, unlike bio dad. (He is transgendered (hence the divorce) so that would make things complicated for my son, which is the only reason former stepdad doesn't visit or write. My son has not seen him since he transitioned, but even getting money from some women's name that wasn't me raised questions by other inmates. My son finally decided to say it was his stepmother since he knew he was safe from his dad ever being around to controvert it.)

What I am trying to express is don't overthink and over plan. For now, your daughter is too young to remember bio dad and is unlikely to have her own memories even into the future. But, what she overhears by you will become her memories like they did for my sisters.

In regards to bio Dad's behavior, you don't know what kind of person he will be in the future, when he gets out. For now, he can make issues of things because he doesn't have anything else to do. When he gets out and has life to deal with, he may or may not pursue things. Realistically, he is more likely to do whatever aggravates you if he is simply an ass. If he grows up and changes into a real dad, then he will want to do what is best for his daughter and to have a positive relationship. If he doesn't change, your daughter will recognize him for the jerk that he is, just like my son does.

For all parents who are dealing with this type of situation and not as legal advice to anyone, specifically or generally, here are some things to keep in mind, using a biological dad as the inmate and stepdad as the male parenting figure in this example -

Getting parental rights terminated is very difficult. Anything less than a 10 year sentence isn't that long in the family law arena. Make it mom's goal to limit bio dad's future access until and unless he proves himself as a better man. Keep a diary of every contact and every letter, telephone call, etc. Directly quote any time he makes derogatory comments about you to you or stepdad. When bio dad gets out and pursues parenting time and shared custody, after having insisted on any current court order, not following through on it and not exercising what is or becomes available to him is how you can limit his future endeavors. Documentation made over the course of time and not generalizations at the end (or reconstructing what you remember) is key in custody/parenting time cases. Documenting what you do too - so if necessary to disprove his claims that you didn't follow any existing court orders. Showing you followed through and he didn't is important. Print out a monthly calendar on paper and put the info on it, such as he called at 3:30 p.m. Received letter dated x/y/2019. Make notes on the back of the calendar page on any noteworthy comments or demeanor. Put it all in a 3 ring binder. Keep the original letters with envelopes stapled to them, but make a copy of the letter and highlight anything helpful to your case to put behind that page in the calendar. If your phone records show incoming calls, put that page behind your calendar with the calls highlighted. Put the calendar and copies in a 3 ring binder. You will already be organized when the time comes, which will save you time and save on your attorney's time/fees.

If a court order states you need to refer to bio dad as a child's father, that is one of those things judges can be sticklers about. If a child calls her stepdad, Dad or Daddy, then you might want to refer to the ex as "father" or "Papa" or something similar that indicates a parental figure. Any decent lawyer will jump all over using, for example, Uncle, and blame mom regardless of what a therapist or counselor may say. But, your lawyer can make a good case of not confusing her current father figure known to her all this time as "dad or daddy" with calling both men daddy.

Be very careful what mom and stepdad or other people say or discuss about bio dad. Especially, when a child is at the parroting age; kids often hear much more than what we think they do. Whatever a child overhears, if the child repeats it to bio dad, a witness, or the therapist, it can be used against mom and stepdad.
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Old 06-21-2018, 09:17 AM
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First off, Thank you so much for your response.

You are 100% i do not know how his behavior will be when he gets out. He sometimes seem like he is changing and then all of a sudden i say something in the letters he doesnt like and he blows up and starts talking like he use to. He refuses to learn songs to sing with her, or to even say her numbers when she asks, so it's very hard to even think about him doing anything more when he gets out. But you're right, he could very well change when he does get out. Who knows until it happens right?


Thankfully when we do talk about him, it's almost always in text messages, or lunch break from work and we are alone, our work schedules are pretty much the same and then when we are home our baby girl is awake and we are playing and then after she goes to bed we have our time alone, we hardly use it to talk about him. But I understand what you are saying, 100%. Even if we do talk about him now (our first year together we had lots of conversations about him, about everything he has done to me in the past, but again, baby girl was not there) it's not really anything negative. More like "Hey ___ wrote a letter, what should we respond? No don't put that, that will most likely start an argument. Write about how baby girl did this and that, and send this picture" We even try to get her involved when doing that, asking if she would like to say anything or draw, she always says no.

My husband is the organized one BY FAR and has done an amazing job keeping everything and marking when the letters came in and making copies of every letter we have sent out and received, so there can never be a mix up of what we have done and not done. We recorded all phone calls, even though the jail will have them, so when we write about the phone calls we actually have them to go back to.

The dad/daddy thing is very hard. 1. She chose to call him daddy/dad/papi. She did that. At first we told her to call him, his name. She didn't like it. She would then call him babe dad (i call him babe and that is the first name she remembers of him lol ) and it's continued. There was no stopping it. She would fight if someone called/calls him different then dad/daddy/papi. Her school would say "___ your step dad is here" she would say "no that is my daddy only. "

We have tried to show her pictures of her bio dad, and say "baby girl this is your other dad/father/papi etc" She would yell no. Daddy is my only daddy and i am his baby girl. ONLY" She use to find the letter from him before we put them away and try throwing them away, saying she didn't like him(again we never said anything bad in front of her that would warrant that extreme measures) She has a picture box, with pictures of her as a baby, all of us together, her and bio dad together, other family members. & when she looks at it for some reason she always takes the pictures with him out and tries to throw them away or asks "why is he holding me" We try to explain but she doesn't understand.
When he called once he told her "you have daddys smile" so looked at me and said "daddy ___ said i have your smile" he then said "no you have my smile, i'm your daddy too" she was so sad the rest of the day and said she didn't like he said that, and wouldn't really talk. So thats when we stopped all that kind of talk from him. Told her he's ___ brother. & that's when she thought oh he's my tio too, and actually started having some type of connection with him. Yes, she is young, not even 4 so i know as she gets older she will understand. But for now we just call him ____ and she does too. Rarely will she said Tio____.

But again I 100% get what you are saying and I appreciate your reply! My husband does his best when he calls to not say anything against him, or to even talk to him really. When bio dad tries to talk to my husband he will try steering the convo to baby girl.
They have had 2 conversations just the both of them. 1 was only about the phone calls(when he can call, what times, that babygirl doesnt really like talking on the phone so don't get upset" the second one was bio dad called my husband to talk about their relationship(hubby & bio dads) and how babygirl doesn't understand who he is to her, and he has to be patient and not get so upset at her. Bio dad tried to bring me up and how i need to "grow up" and tell his daughter the truth. My husband shut him down very quickly but as respectful as he could. At the end he said thank you for calling but the phone calls are suppose to only be about babygirl so please only call for that. My family does not like him at all so they don't talk about him or ask.
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Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
Jordan, I was 8 when my mom left before a warrant caught up with her. It's a long complicated story but i didn't care because she didn't take care of me and my 3 younger sisters. My father did all the caring for us, along with working all day. I remember stuff. But my sisters were 3, 5 and 6 and even the youngest kept wanting to know why and did bio mom feel they weren't good enough because she abandoned them. As adults, they found her and two of them talked to her. I had no desire to know anything, but I did have real memories and they didn't other than what they heard from others as they got older.

Now, the other end of that spectrum. My ex is an alcoholic. He demanded a divorce when my son was 8 and my daughter was 13. My daughter had the benefit of 8 years of memories where dad didn't drink. My son only remembers the drunk. They both know he didn't support them financially. Our son has no respect for his dad and considers him useless. But, being in prison and the way I raised my children, my son does send him a Christmas card and a letter each year. Dad has not sent his son a single card or note and changes the subject when I mention our son. Dad is drunk every day by 3:30. Our daughter visits him when she comes to AZ (she is in WI) and calls him. Our son wants nothing to do with him after all this. My son told me that my 2nd husband is the person who was dad to him in regards to who was around as that parental figure from ages 10 to 20. Former stepdad sends money to him and contributes to seurepaks, unlike bio dad. (He is transgendered (hence the divorce) so that would make things complicated for my son, which is the only reason former stepdad doesn't visit or write. My son has not seen him since he transitioned, but even getting money from some women's name that wasn't me raised questions by other inmates. My son finally decided to say it was his stepmother since he knew he was safe from his dad ever being around to controvert it.)

What I am trying to express is don't overthink and over plan. For now, your daughter is too young to remember bio dad and is unlikely to have her own memories even into the future. But, what she overhears by you will become her memories like they did for my sisters.

In regards to bio Dad's behavior, you don't know what kind of person he will be in the future, when he gets out. For now, he can make issues of things because he doesn't have anything else to do. When he gets out and has life to deal with, he may or may not pursue things. Realistically, he is more likely to do whatever aggravates you if he is simply an ass. If he grows up and changes into a real dad, then he will want to do what is best for his daughter and to have a positive relationship. If he doesn't change, your daughter will recognize him for the jerk that he is, just like my son does.

For all parents who are dealing with this type of situation and not as legal advice to anyone, specifically or generally, here are some things to keep in mind, using a biological dad as the inmate and stepdad as the male parenting figure in this example -

Getting parental rights terminated is very difficult. Anything less than a 10 year sentence isn't that long in the family law arena. Make it mom's goal to limit bio dad's future access until and unless he proves himself as a better man. Keep a diary of every contact and every letter, telephone call, etc. Directly quote any time he makes derogatory comments about you to you or stepdad. When bio dad gets out and pursues parenting time and shared custody, after having insisted on any current court order, not following through on it and not exercising what is or becomes available to him is how you can limit his future endeavors. Documentation made over the course of time and not generalizations at the end (or reconstructing what you remember) is key in custody/parenting time cases. Documenting what you do too - so if necessary to disprove his claims that you didn't follow any existing court orders. Showing you followed through and he didn't is important. Print out a monthly calendar on paper and put the info on it, such as he called at 3:30 p.m. Received letter dated x/y/2019. Make notes on the back of the calendar page on any noteworthy comments or demeanor. Put it all in a 3 ring binder. Keep the original letters with envelopes stapled to them, but make a copy of the letter and highlight anything helpful to your case to put behind that page in the calendar. If your phone records show incoming calls, put that page behind your calendar with the calls highlighted. Put the calendar and copies in a 3 ring binder. You will already be organized when the time comes, which will save you time and save on your attorney's time/fees.

If a court order states you need to refer to bio dad as a child's father, that is one of those things judges can be sticklers about. If a child calls her stepdad, Dad or Daddy, then you might want to refer to the ex as "father" or "Papa" or something similar that indicates a parental figure. Any decent lawyer will jump all over using, for example, Uncle, and blame mom regardless of what a therapist or counselor may say. But, your lawyer can make a good case of not confusing her current father figure known to her all this time as "dad or daddy" with calling both men daddy.

Be very careful what mom and stepdad or other people say or discuss about bio dad. Especially, when a child is at the parroting age; kids often hear much more than what we think they do. Whatever a child overhears, if the child repeats it to bio dad, a witness, or the therapist, it can be used against mom and stepdad.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:06 AM
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Jordan, it sounds like you have it together. Having someone else who is organized is a big help. I was great at doing it for other people, but lousy when it came to my own stuff. From your response, you have it together emotionally and mentally, with your daughter's needs at the forefront. I expect your daughter will grow to be happy and healthy.

Her frustration of others in the picture, people using words or names that she doesn't like, may simply be the age she is at. My granddaughter will be 3 this summer and she is very definite in how she thinks things should be. She was upset the other day on a video call because I didn't have my glasses on and grandma wears glasses. When she is done talking to me, she is done and completely ignores anything I say or do. She is aware, but I am tuned out.

As for changing, I think I generally hope for the best and expect the worst. Prison definitely has changed my son for the better, but that wasn't because of the prison, it was the older inmates who decided to mentor him. Him at 22 and and now at 28 is worlds apart. But, he was willing to listen and learn from them what he wouldn't hear from me. The other part is simply maturity. He was very much a kid when he went in and now a man.

I wasn't trying to lecture you on him changing but just wanting you to prepare legally but not stress over the future now, as that is not in your best interest of your baby girl's. It sounds like you have your head on pretty straight and his comments about you growing up are way off base and one he should apply to himself.
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:22 AM
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I may sound like i have it together on here but my mind is all over the place, crazy. I'm an over thinker and always have been. I can write out a plan and then look and it and think about all the what if's lol which is probably my biggest problem when it comes to this.

That is true, no one really can tell what a toddler is thinking lol Which is why even though she tries to throw them away we keep them, for the future.

I hope he does change. Even though me and him have a bad past, i hope they can have a good future... BUT it's scary cause i know how he truly gets.
I did not see it as a lecture, but amazing advice
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
Jordan, it sounds like you have it together. Having someone else who is organized is a big help. I was great at doing it for other people, but lousy when it came to my own stuff. From your response, you have it together emotionally and mentally, with your daughter's needs at the forefront. I expect your daughter will grow to be happy and healthy.

Her frustration of others in the picture, people using words or names that she doesn't like, may simply be the age she is at. My granddaughter will be 3 this summer and she is very definite in how she thinks things should be. She was upset the other day on a video call because I didn't have my glasses on and grandma wears glasses. When she is done talking to me, she is done and completely ignores anything I say or do. She is aware, but I am tuned out.

As for changing, I think I generally hope for the best and expect the worst. Prison definitely has changed my son for the better, but that wasn't because of the prison, it was the older inmates who decided to mentor him. Him at 22 and and now at 28 is worlds apart. But, he was willing to listen and learn from them what he wouldn't hear from me. The other part is simply maturity. He was very much a kid when he went in and now a man.

I wasn't trying to lecture you on him changing but just wanting you to prepare legally but not stress over the future now, as that is not in your best interest of your baby girl's. It sounds like you have your head on pretty straight and his comments about you growing up are way off base and one he should apply to himself.
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