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Really struggling(23 Posts)
I really need some help right now. I adopted two half siblings with my ex husband (9 and a half and 8 and a half years ago) they are now 12 and 10.
Our marriage ended 6 years ago, because of his appalling behaviour towards them, and his refusal to change.
It hasn’t been easy, both DDs are very complex and he still is not able to be emotionally attuned to them, but I need my break to recharge every other weekend.
They haven’t been keen to go to his recently (he lives with his fiancée, they have been together for five years and they are getting married soon) and I feel very guilty when they go.
He used to have them for five nights every fortnight, then a couple of years ago he unilaterally reduced it by 40% to three nights (he lied about working away for six months as his “reason”)
A couple of months ago my oldest DD made an allegation against him. I don’t know how much truth there was in it, she has severe MH issues and struggles with separating reality and fantasy and has made false allegations before. However, I’ve also had to report stuff that’s gone on during contact to SS myself (hitting her around the head etc - which he admitted but said it was “only a tap”) but SS didn’t investigate, she still wanted to see him and contact continued.
He wasn’t allowed to see them during the weekend immediately following the allegation, but SS decided on the monday not to investigate.
He then declared (to PAS, not me 🤔) that he was “suspending contact” with the girls and has only seen them for a couple of hours on a couple of occasions since February. Apparently he’s going to review it after three months.
He seems very afraid that DD12 is going to make further allegations against him which could affect his job, he claims that the whole wider family are terrified of her making allegations against them. He is also very afraid of her having a “melt down” which she did on two consecutive nights over the Christmas holidays when she was in his care (he nearly called an ambulance as she was threatening to self harm and hurt her sister)
He has now decided that the girls can only attend his wedding for three hours, for the service and the photos. I’ve tried to explain that his fears of a meltdown or an allegation are not very realistic (she’s been to the wedding of a distant family member with me recently - where she knew much fewer people- without incident) and that if he’s trying to rebuild his relationship with the girls it’s really important that they don’t feel excluded from part of his wedding, especially the most fun part.
I’m really struggling with his rejection of them. I feel heartbroken and raging on their behalf.
Last night he took them out for tea for less than two hours and during that time his fiancée told DD12 that her top didn’t match her trousers (DD12 had pointed out her new clothes) I’m really upset by it all. Part of me doesn’t believe that they want to “rebuild the relationship” and a larger part of me feels hugely protective to my DDs.
I’m finding it really hard to function today. I’m exhausted, and so angry and upset for my DDs
ExH has messaged me saying that he wants a chat and I am too angry to talk to him (it might be because I told the CMS yesterday that he wasn’t having overnight contact)
He also wants a meeting with PAS and me, I’m not even sure why, but I can’t bear the thought of being in any meeting with him.
Im not sure why I’m posting, I think I’m just really struggling and need to vent
It sounds a really difficult situation and one in which everyone is getting hurt.
However if DD1 makes allegations I can see why maybe contact needs to cease. Either they are true, in which case she needs to be protected, or they are false, in which case your ex needs to be protected from her lies.
Who would be looking after the DDs at the wedding? Can't they stay with the proviso that if they get overwhelmed then they leave?
I hope you and your DDs are getting support.
I have nothing useful to advise, but I just wanted to say that you are an absolute hero. I don't know how single parents of 'easy' kids do it, let alone when it's multiple kids with additional needs. I don't think I'd cope.
I have strong views of adoptive parents (depressingly it's usually dads isn't it?) don't live up to the commitment they've made. He's a pathetic man child and you are to be commended in putting your kids first.
Rant over, I think you have to make best of what you have. That does mean speaking to him, when you feel up to controlling the conversations and making sure it's constructive. It probably won't do any harm to have a third party there.
I don't think you are unreasonable at all to want to control the contact and protect your DDs- you have to do what's right for you guys and just get what you can from him. As Sanders says, that might mean no contact at all for a while. That does mean listening to his concerns and trying to negotiate- just hold your nose and get the best outcome you can.
In a decade's time, when your kids are adults with a life of their own it will be because of your hard work. Hope it gets a bit easier in the meantime.
Sanders - they are not really "lies" as such, she has huge problems with executive functioning and believes things that are not real. She's the world's least credible witness because of this. Which makes her very vulnerable, but also protects everyone else.
Also, why should he be protected from her (potentially false) allegations while I'm not?
Thanks donquixo, I also have a four year old birth DS (and no family locally, or any support network really)
I feel like exHs withdrawal puts so much extra pressure on me and I honestly don't know how long I can do this for without going under. My physical health has deteriorated, I've had to go to hospital for an infection and A&E for a separate infection (with lots of antibiotics) since I haven't had a break
ExHs extended family, including both his parents will be there. The girls were supposed to be sharing a hotel room with his parents.
I didn't mean 'lies' in a vindictive sense, but the effect could be the same.
I guess I was thinking maybe of lies regarding sexual abuse which some girls might make about men not women. But if this isn't the kind of thing and she equally says things against you then I agree it shouldn't be just you who bares the brunt of them.
This must be so hard for you.
Thanks, it's just generic stuff, not specific to his sex
I remember your posts from a while ago about her “allegations”. I am so sorry that things aren’t any better and that you are so exhausted from it all - I have some idea of what you are saying when you say you need your breaks to re-charge.
What a tricky situation. Do you still have any sort of relationship with your Ex’s parents? Is there any way you could try to get them on side? Could you see if perhaps they could go for the day but that you are only a phone call away? It is his wedding (not an insignificant event) and if he has a genuine fear that your eldest DD might cause some issues - I do understand why he might want to reduce that risk. Could your DD1 also feel threatened of being usurped by her new step mother and possibly additional kids down the line?
I have been in a situation where a good friend’s child has made some awful verbal threats against my DH saying that if DH didn’t do something he would allege X. I have huge sympathy for the (obviously quite damaged) child but I am very scared of what might happen and so we have stopped any contact with family for a while as too much of a risk.
Do you have any contact with any of his good friends or a sibling which might be able to see your point of view and who might be able to talk him round?
I think you need to let go and move on. Hes not ever going to be the father you want for your children.
Sadly his parents are pretty toxic, he blamed me for the marriage breakdown and they all swallowed it. Last time I saw his dad, he wouldn't even look at me, which was really upsetting as we had been very close.
I don't think there's anyone I can approach tbh
I'm so cross with him because he's trying to frame it as what's best for the girls but not once has he asked what they want or talked about how to help them to feel safe with him.
Yesterday DD1 was talking about the wedding and I said "you might be going for just the ceremony and the photos" and she thought that was MY decision and got really angry with me. It was so hard
True Hellywelly, I'm just heartbroken for my girls, that this is such further rejection for them. I'm desperately trying to protect them
I've gotta say that you are doing a great job and I really admire you for it. Just a small perspective that I went through my own research on adoption, as we couldn't have children. My DH pointed out several times about how they would have special needs most of the time. I read lots of stories and we ended up cancelling our adoption orientation to start the process. I just knew we didn't have it in us. We ended up having a. Surprise pregnancy, so we feel complete, but I feel like he had gone in with the best intentions and realised he wasn't up for it. I wouldn't push it as well. No point having someone around that has shown those actions. I also see it from his point too. My DH has a son from a previous relationship. We don't see him except once a month now and we agreed he wouldn't be left alone with me or our joint son. His son tried making false allegations against us. This was horrible and with our current son, I stopped my own contact with him for six months. The mother knew he was lying. In the end we see him, but my son and I only see him for about 3 hours of it. I did like him at one point and now I just have no real relationship with him. I know I never will now.
I hear you about needing a break at times to protect your own health and sanity. It’s very hard going parenting children who have such complex needs and it sounds like them going to him was a real life line for you. Is there anyway you could get a new life line - maybe an activity the DC enjoy doing that you can leave them at while you breathe a bit? Any friends that they would sleepover with?
It’s so hard but he doesn’t sound committed to them - ivtoo can understand his concerns about them making allegations but if they could similarly do that with you, it just adds to your stress levels. I don’t have any easy answers, but I hear you.
I remember your earlier posts too.
It sounds like at least a part of your wanting him to stay in the picture is because you need a break. Is there any chance your LA could provide respite on a regular basis so that you’ve got that covered and then you can tackle the exH issue separately? It would give you the room to be honest about whether or not his involvement is beneficial to DCs without it getting muddled with you needing a break. (That’s not at all judgemental btw - you deserve medals, not just some fortnightly breathing space...)
Mountaingirl, I'm glad things worked out for you.
I suppose one of the things that annoys me is that he's committed now, he's been their dad for 9 and a half years, and anyway, why should he get a choice? He only has them for four days a month, with another adult! How can it be so bloody hard for him when I'm by myself with three kids all the time?!
Fellow single parent here.
I noticed you said you have a birth son too. That makes things trickier I think. Does he treat him differently?
I didn't want to read and run, I don't have any advice to offer but I do want to say that I think you are an amazing person..
I know mate. It isn't fair. I hate it when parents don't own up to their responsibilities. That is something based on character too.
I remember your posts from long ago.
I am so sorry this is so hard.
We have a birth daughter (13) and adopted son (7) who has been with us 4 years.
Our area has introduced post adoption support in the form of a hub similar to fostering hub (where families meet informally with a professional and part of the arrangement involves overnight respite care).
This was suggested when we had some issues. We have yet to fully explore any of this.
Costs are met (I believe) through the 'allowance' all adopters can access for additional support.
In your shoes I would try and access some help like this I'd available.
Plus would counselling help? Some that will allow you to let go of some of the completely understandable anger you feel and to find a way to move forward and move the girls forward?
I wonder if you all nee help realising your ex, their dad, is sadly not up to parenting them successfully.
You chose together to adopt as many couple have families together then when the going got tough he got going.
He failed you and them. It actually seems alarming common for dads to step away from their children.
I do understand slightly how he may feel after allegations.
Plus I do see how you feel and have enormous sympathy for your situation.
Does it feel like there is hope he may step up or do you feel you are flogging a dead horse, so to speak?
I really think the girls need professional help to adjust to the new situation 're their dad. New marriage etc.
Good luck and please do ask for all post adoption and respite care you can access.
Especially as you are suggesting things may break down without help. Your ex sounds like not a good source of help, so please get assertive again with whatever post adoption support looks like.
I found crying down the phone for help, helped (and I have not been through abywhere like what you have!).
I did not cry on purpose. It just came out. Still took months. But help came and things are better. (In my situation the teenage non-adopted child was more of an issue!)
Thinking of you. Please do not take offense at any comments, all are well meant!
Thanks everyone. There's no prospect of any respite here, the local authority fundamentally do not provide it. Reading between the lines, it may be available if I disrupt but that feels like a terrible gamble. I'm actually thinking of moving area, nearer to some support.
My birth son has a different father, he was a very surprising outcome of a post divorce relationship, I'm still good friend with his dad but we are not together.
I've had over a year of counselling, which has recently finished (it came to a natural end, the counsellor was having planned major surgery and I think she took me as far as we could go together, it felt a bit repetitive towards the end)
I think one of the issues at the moment is the uncertainty. I honestly don't know how much exH actually wants to see the girls and repair the bond or if he's just saying it, maybe it's new wedding, new life for him?
I don't know which is my worst fear, that he will stop seeing them altogether (no rest for me) or that he will want to reinstate contact back to how it was (which was stressful for me as the girls didn't like it and I could never fully trust him)
In terms of this latest allegation, DD2 has independently confirmed the incident but exH has denied it, I have no idea what really happened. My instinct was to believe it (based on knowing him and on previous behaviour) and he is very devious and dishonest.
I think it's so weird that he's withdrawing like this. When DD1 made an allegation against my ex boyfriend (DSs dad) exBF didn't react like this, he never flinched, he knew it wasn't true and was happy to be interviewed by the police etc as he had nothing to hide (it never got that far, DD1 was interviewed but they dropped it) his behaviour towards her never changed
We have had good support. I know we are lucky.I really wish you all the very best for support for you in a new area.
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