Another no contact post

Randy RitchieDecember 27, 2012

Rather than go into embarrassing details, suffice it to say, we are not permitted contact with the grandchildren through no fault of our own. We do live out of their area(s), send gifts that are appropriate and thoughtfully chosen for special occasions, stay neutral on parenting issues, and try to always be amicable. A month ago I received a phone call to give me the Christmas wish lists for several of the children, which I appreciated. Spent money we didn't have, but wanted Christmas to be special for the kids, who have had some rough knocks in life (again not through any fault of the grandparents). Now the mother is in an abusive tirade (once again). Not one grandchild (out of 18) called to wish us Merry Christmas. They just open the gifts and enjoy their loot these days? Or maybe the hand written gift tags are not used, with the gifting being re-directed. Who knows. When I traveled well over 1000 miles and contacted them to ask if I could see the children recently (I attempt this a couple of times a year), I was told they don't care to see me. Really? What did we ever do to these children, when we weren't there to raise them, didn't have them on weekends or school breaks? How is it that some parents blame the grandparents for screwing up grandchildren that the grandparents didn't even raise?! We really have done our best as parents and grandparents; but as we were not the ones on site raising these children, we had no say in their lack of kindness or thought for others' feelings. We aren't the ones who had opportunity to instill any manners, like grandparents' happiness to receive a simple 'thank-you' for a gift, either verbally by phone, or a short note. No acknowledgement the requested gifts were even received. We are bewildered, and heartsick, because, without being inappropirately religious on a public board, we give Christmas gifts in tribute to the original Three Wise Men's gifts to the Baby Jesus. So, once given, the gifts are out of our hands, gifts, as they are called. These days Christmas gift recipients seem to think they are entitled to receive not only gifts, but exactly the ones of their choosing.

Are we wrong to be thinking that in the future we may only send small tokens of love, primarily cards with hand-written notes, which I'll copy, for the day, if it ever comes, to share our mailings with any of them who cares to ever look us up? Why go through all the work and expense (money many of us don't have), the energy (many of us in poor health don't have), and then the disappointment that the recipients don't have a clue that Christmas isn't all about 'me, or her, or him'? We are thinking of just backing off, going about our lives, and loving from a distance. As out of state grandparents, we have no rights, and if a grandparent's health isn't such that the grandparent can't relocate and foster their own grandchildren (seven of the eighteen), if the state intervenes in a less-than-satisfactory home, there seems to no longer be any point in constantly beating ourselves up over this horrid situation. I know I am rambling, but it's feeling like enough is enough here.

Anybody else dealing with grandchild products of ineffective parenting?

Sad Grandma

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I had a similar problem with grand children living a couple of states away. I wanted them to know who we were and that we were thinking of them. I did like my mother did my children when we were in another state. I sent small gifts on every holiday that kids enjoy, Halloween, Valentines Day, etc., nothing expensive. I started this when they were small. I had to trust the grand parents in this case to do the right thing and I became known as Grandma Wichita to my grand kids. I sent money at Christmas because of not knowing what they wanted and because of shipping. Their grandmother who was raising them made them save most of it, gave them $3.00 each to go shopping with. I did not like that, I wanted them in the store enjoying the toy dept. At least they knew what I sent.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 9:20PM
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Well, I would stop sending any gifts. If they ask, I would reply, "Well, since I had no acknowledgement of previous gifts, I had no idea if anyone was actually receiving them so now I choose to send my gifts where they are appreciated." If you want to give gifts a la the Magi you could gift a children's charity, a women's shelter or a homeless shelter. All would appreciate whatever you cared to give.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Randy Ritchie

Thank you ladies for not coming down on us with ugly accusations. We've had enough ugliness to last us several lifetimes. It lends support to our feelings about the direction we need to go (no gifts of value). I am so sorry a single other grandparent in the world has to feel this heartache, and sorry for you who responded. It hurt that the one foster mom who is having her own personal emotional crisis (obvious from what contact I've had in the last year), could contact another parent and persuade her to not allow us contact either. I guess we can't require parents to seek mental health services, now can we?

I read where some grandparents are giving one last warning that they will be revising their wills in response to these situations. I am not sure where I stand on these things as yet, as the wounds are so raw at this time. Not that we have many assets at this point in life, due to ill health...

Anyhow, blessings to you ladies and I will take your words to heart, as to how to handle Christmas gifting in future years.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 8:01AM
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I saw your other post regarding your situation. I am curious. I would have thought that there were rules regarding natural family contact with fostered children, after all the underlying idea is that when the original situation changes and the children can be cared for properly by their birth parents they will be reunited. And I would have thought that continued contact with grandparents, aunts, uncles etc would also be a good thing.
Have you contacted the child welfare authorities in your area about this? What do they say?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 1:27AM
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Randy Ritchie

In theory you are correct. In studies reviewing the children's outcomes with or without extended family contact, you are correct. Unfortunately, there are certain areas in this country where these recommendations are not followed. The entire extended family has been in contact with the authorities, and they refuse to work with any of us. My own repeated requests to them to kindly facilitate sibling contact (based on factual studies of the outcomes with/without sibling contact), have fallen on deaf ears. The particular social worker refuses to do anything but the minimum for the children, and is not required to facilitate sibling contact by law. It's up to her how hard she wants to work. Lawyers in the area are aware of the false accusations and heresay these people have entered into the court records, making it impossible for family members to make inroads. Trust me, there are multiple people who have been trying for years, including myself, my ex, an aunt and uncle...Wish that the world you talk about existed. Not so in the county where my grandchildren's case is handled. I've been told they emphatically will not work with an out-of-state grandparent. The social workers will not return phone calls and emails. Once again, there is no law requiring them do do so, so they can make their decisions on what they want to do personally, or how much work they want to do on a case. It is an ugly system, one that most people, thankfully, have not had to witness first hand. But, your thoughts are kind, well-meaning, and logical. I wish...


    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 8:25AM
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Well, that's crap. And the incomprehensible and sad thing is that ultimately it will hurt the society that created this situation. Gee I wish I could knock some sense into legislators.
You have my sympathy and hope that ultimately things will turn around for you and your grandchildren. I'd keep writing and sending cards in the hope that the children may see them. In the circumstances I would bet that all the gifts you paid for as per the wish lists were not credited to you...... :-(

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 9:31AM
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