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Old 04-01-2012, 09:25 AM
 
508 posts, read 1,648,483 times
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This is long-- bear with me.

My parents divorced when I was very young. They had joint custody for a little while, then when I was 12 my bio-father gave up his rights (by choice). He was not a nice person, put me through a lot of crap, was an abusive alcoholic and a drug user with a criminal record, cheated on my mom with her best friend (who he later married, and it certainly was not a loss on my part.

Last year, out of the blue, a kid messages me on Facebook. He tells me he's my brother (half). Turns out my biofather had 2 kids with his then-wife (who I knew well as stated above)- ages 11 and 9 respectively. I ask my new found brother for his mom's email as he was a minor and it didn't feel right to be talking to him without his parents knowing.

Long story short, I spoke with his mother (who I knew well in the past). Turns out she and bio-father divorced some years ago, he appears to still stick with his old ways. They made the decision to tell the kids about me and gave them permission to contact me on FB. Before I began a relationship with them, I made it clear to their mother that I want it to be with just them, but I am not willing to open up the relationship with her or my bio-father. She agreed and said she spoke to my bio-father and that he also agreed.

I began talking to the kids, mainly through email and Facebook. We live in different states, didn't meet, nothing. Just talking. A couple months in, my bio-father emails me with this long winded email of how horrible a person my mother was and that she took advantage of him etc., basically straight out lies. I responded reiterating that I was not interested in a relationship with him, only with the kids (I did not address the lies about my mom as that would simply open 2 way dialogue) A couple of days later I received an angry email from him telling me to stay away from his kids.

I spoke to their mom about it and she responded "You know how he is" and said that the relationship had been good for them and that we can still continue it the days they're at her house. This was a few months ago, and the kids and I have been talking once a week or so-- they're young, so it's mainly hearing about their school and stuff. Their mom said that they don't tell their dad that they talk to me and asked her not to either. I asked her that if he found out would they have a reason to be afraid (he was abusive in the past), and she said no.

A couple days ago, I received another angry email from him telling me to stop talking to his kids and that I'm causing a lot of problems for the family.

At this point I feel I should back off. He CCs their mother on every email so she is well aware. She hasn't responded to me yet as to her perspective, but I don't want to interfere with their family life. I am more than willing to wait till they are adults and can make the decision whether to start the relationship on their own.

Also, I am concerned with this legally-- did I overstep anything? They are minors, I am an adult. I hate to break off the relationship-- I know they've had it tough, and it was a good outlet for them to have someone to look up to.

I am just so lost on what to do here. I don't want to get into any sort of legal issues, I refuse to have a relationship with him, and I don't want to hurt the kids.

Any and all advice is welcome.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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Here is my opinion. Stay in contact w/ those children unless the Mom tells you to back off. Ignore your Fathers emails, why even open them. You said he accused you of interfering w/ the family. If he is divorced from the children's Mother, there is no family. He is a part time parent. Do as the Mother suggested, participate on her time. Don't cut yourself out of these children's lives at the request of the person you described in your first paragraph, " He was not a nice person, put me through a lot of crap, was an abusive alcoholic and a drug user with a criminal record, cheated on my mom with her best friend (who he later married, and it certainly was not a loss on my part."
To stop communicating w/ these children would be an injustice to the children. I do not believe there are any legal issues to worry about. But, to ease your mind you could certainly consult an attorney. You are not responsible for this man's bad behaviors, neither are these poor children. They probably benefit greatly from your communications w/ them.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Arizona
1,204 posts, read 2,171,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanND View Post
Here is my opinion. Stay in contact w/ those children unless the Mom tells you to back off. Ignore your Fathers emails, why even open them. You said he accused you of interfering w/ the family. If he is divorced from the children's Mother, there is no family. He is a part time parent. Do as the Mother suggested, participate on her time. Don't cut yourself out of these children's lives at the request of the person you described in your first paragraph, " He was not a nice person, put me through a lot of crap, was an abusive alcoholic and a drug user with a criminal record, cheated on my mom with her best friend (who he later married, and it certainly was not a loss on my part."
To stop communicating w/ these children would be an injustice to the children. I do not believe there are any legal issues to worry about. But, to ease your mind you could certainly consult an attorney. You are not responsible for this man's bad behaviors, neither are these poor children. They probably benefit greatly from your communications w/ them.
I completely agree^^ You have permission to speak with your siblings via thier mother so there should be no legal issues, but you can always just contact a lawyer to be on the safe side.

These kids deserve to have you in their lives and as long as Mom says it's ok, just continue the relationship.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:57 AM
 
508 posts, read 1,648,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanND View Post
Here is my opinion. Stay in contact w/ those children unless the Mom tells you to back off. Ignore your Fathers emails, why even open them. You said he accused you of interfering w/ the family. If he is divorced from the children's Mother, there is no family. He is a part time parent. Do as the Mother suggested, participate on her time. Don't cut yourself out of these children's lives at the request of the person you described in your first paragraph, " He was not a nice person, put me through a lot of crap, was an abusive alcoholic and a drug user with a criminal record, cheated on my mom with her best friend (who he later married, and it certainly was not a loss on my part."
To stop communicating w/ these children would be an injustice to the children. I do not believe there are any legal issues to worry about. But, to ease your mind you could certainly consult an attorney. You are not responsible for this man's bad behaviors, neither are these poor children. They probably benefit greatly from your communications w/ them.
Thanks! Hearing it from your point of view makes me wonder what I was questioning.

I am worried that he can pursue a restraining order or something? I don't know how it works-- he gave up custody of me and I was subsequently adopted by my stepfather, so wouldn't that mean legally I am not related to these 2 kids? Then, in the eyes of the law, am I not just an adult who's refusing to sever contacts with 2 minors despite being repeatedly told not to by their parent. Thinking of it that way feels like I am in the wrong somehow...
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Old 04-01-2012, 05:35 PM
 
16,019 posts, read 19,675,331 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaFemme86 View Post
Thanks! Hearing it from your point of view makes me wonder what I was questioning.

I am worried that he can pursue a restraining order or something? I don't know how it works-- he gave up custody of me and I was subsequently adopted by my stepfather, so wouldn't that mean legally I am not related to these 2 kids? Then, in the eyes of the law, am I not just an adult who's refusing to sever contacts with 2 minors despite being repeatedly told not to by their parent. Thinking of it that way feels like I am in the wrong somehow...
Restraining orders are issued because of abuse and/or violence. You were contacted by them with their parents permission...You continue contact w/ Mom's permission. No legal issues that I can see, but talk to an attorney or go get yourself into some sort of support group for adult children of alcoholics, or alanon or whatever applies to your early relationship w/ your bio father. He is pulling the same crap on you now that he pulled then.......don't fall for it...don't give him permission to harass you by even opening his emails.
You are doing the right thing concerning these children.....seek advice to ease your mind, then proceed to be a good caring influence in their lives...Lord knows they need one if he is their father. Bless you for being such a good & caring young person. Keep us posted if you can.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:23 PM
 
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maybe ask their mother (from whom you haven't heard back yet after his latest tirade) what she wants you to do now. She has eyes on the situation and knows best for her children.

Let me add that you are acting admirably and much better than many would.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:24 PM
 
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I vote for ignoring dad and continuing the relationship with the kids. Obviously, they want to know you and have some sort of relationship with you. Who is he to get in the way of that? Sounds like he was a pretty crappy father to all of you.

If he were still married to their mother, or had custody of them, he might have a leg to stand on. He is trying to control you, these kids, and their mother when he has no right to do so. Their mother doesn't have a problem with you contacting them, that's all that matters. Only stop if she feels her kids are being harmed in some way, or if it is causing them some problems or suffering. Right now, sounds like dad is the only one with the problem.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:34 AM
 
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Thanks for all the advice and compliments guys. I really worry whether I am doing the right thing. It really gets to me that one man can make life so difficult for so many people.

I did receive a response from their mom-- she says the kids are scared as their father is very upset. The older one (who has FB) has deleted me as a friend. They're still at their father's, so she hasn't been able to talk to them in private, but it seems right now, they want to back off. She's asked me what my thoughts on it are and is wanting to know what I suggest. She doesn't want to cut off contact, but right now it appears the kids are acting out of fear.

It makes me sad because this isn't their choice. Also, why tell them about me, encourage them to reach out, and then force them to cut contact?

I hate getting them in trouble/ putting them in this position.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:44 AM
 
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You aren't the one who put them in this position. As other posters have said, you're doing the best you can in a difficult circumstance. Please don't allow yourself to be held responsible for the consequences of these children's "father's" actions.
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Old 04-02-2012, 07:27 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
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Clearly mom was wrong when she said the kids wouldn't be afraid of their dad if he found out - either that, or dad has the password and has "unfriended" you himself and told the child YOU did the deed. How did he get your email to begin with? From the mom or the kids?

Either way - the mom has told you the children are frightened because of their father's upset. It also sounds like she's upset. Remember, if he's an abusive alcoholic, no one has control over what he does or says when he is alone with those children. Lawyer up - seems to be the safest route.

I think I'd ask mom to ask the kids what they truly want to do when they are in a position to talk with some privacy. All that being said - dad probably can't get a restraining order against you, but he could perhaps make yours and the children's lives miserable in other respects....the internet is a strange place for strange people.

Wishing you all the best - hopefully this will come to a peaceful conclusion.
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