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From: Mettenn (c-69-251-78-110.hsd1.va.comcast.net)
Subject:         Re: ex, newly released from prison, is getting married --
Date: September 6, 2006 at 3:04 pm PST

In Reply to: ex, newly released from prison, is getting married -- posted by Brenda C. on September 4, 2006 at 12:36 pm:

Brenda,
My heart goes out to you - I relate to everything you are thinking and feeling about your family's current situation. Your feelings are normal and valid. Having said that, I'm sure people have told you that dxh's personal choices/lifestyle/problems as an individual, do not remove his right to parent (in whatever way he can, no matter how much it doesn't meet a mom's personal standards). As long as he is not "harming the children", that is, bruising, providing alcohol, etc, he is pretty much allowed to have parenting time with his children - there are MANY, MANY lifestyles that are NOT illegal, but which you and I feel make a very detrimental environment for our children. We, as moms, don't want to have the children exposed to these things, don't want them to have the heartache, confusion, disappointment, disruption, etc. If dxh can stay clean and sober, there's not much to be done to keep the kids away from him. Even if he gave you full legal and physical custody, he is free to request visitation at this point, and a judge may very well give it to him when/if he asks.

I will pray for you to have peace - the peace that passes all understanding - as you will need it. God's grace truly is sufficient for this, and He is still in control. I will pray that you will have uncommon grace and love toward your dxh (and his current partner). I know, seems impossible, maybe and not what you want to do. Accept graciously, with God's help, whatever it is that dxh has to contribute to these children - the children he committed to raise, and then resoundingly failed for a period of time. Even let him know that you SUPPORT him as the children's father (you support them having a DAD, which is different from SUPPORTING/APPROVING of the dad's personal life and history. Try, as much as is within you, to start TODAY with a fresh slate - nothing in your heart held against him, but interact with him in the present moment - forgetting the pain/transgressions of the past. Don't live in the future thoughts of how everything can/will go wrong, the children will be hurt/ruined, etc. just don't go there, not worth it. Don't predict failure. Pray for grace and strength to do right by your children and right by DXH. I can say that if you aren't careful, even the most protective and innocent actions can be perceived as attempting to alienate the children from their dad. The end result of that COULD be that the children are then at some point removed from YOU. I know, seems improbable, but DXH is NOT asking for the children to have little/no contact with YOU, just to be able to parent. IF YOU ARE PERCEIVED as blocking/discouraging/bad-mouthing/cutting down/being hateful/venemous of DXH and of NOT wanting the children to see their DAD at all, THAT's perceived as a huge red flag - much worse than getting out of jail and trying to once again parent one's children. Again, all of my comments presuppose that DXH meets the basic requirements to parent on SOME level. If he is using/dealing/blah, blah or abusing the kids, that's a problem. That the mom disapproves of his less that squeaky clean history isn't enough to stop the kids from seeing him, in most cases.

I hope you don't find these comments offensive or unsupportive. I have been through so much with my dxh, much of which I've not yet brought up here, as I'v e only found out in recent months. I keep going by finding that spot of forgiveness that recognizes how much I've been forgiven, and how I want to be treated. Humans are the only creation that likes to repeatedly bring up mistakes/past and beat each other up over it repeatedly. Not even our job :). Our sins/mistakes have consequences of some sort and no one needs repeated reminders or to relive those mistakes over and over again. This is a poor paraphrase of something I read this spring that was very helpful to me. If you CAN find love and forgiveness for dxh (please don't vomit at this point), it will be very freeing for you. It will free you from much worry and anxiety - fear is more the opposite of love than hate (hate and love are really very close to each other). It is not fun to live in fear - fear of what the bad influences will be, that the kids will be around the less than savory female partner - NOT what we want for our kids, I know. I hope you find inner strength and beauty and that you can completely confound all those around you with the grace and dignity you have under these circumstances. Please don't hate me for these comments - not trying to be Polly Anna-ish - would love to talk to you some time, and have been thinking of what to say since you first mentioned dxh's release. Try to talk to someone who's "been there" and to have a counselor of some sort help you keep your head level. My heart goes out to you and my prayers go up for you daily.


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