Reformed mom wants to reclaim her son

Reformed mom wants to reclaim her son

There are 138 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Mar 30, 2009, titled Reformed mom wants to reclaim her son. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Dear Amy: My son is 10 years old. I got myself into a lot of trouble when I was 18.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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too old

Springfield, IL

#1 Mar 30, 2009
I agree with Amy on the first 2 letters. Whatever LW1 did was bad enough to have her son removed from the home. She is naive to believe the courts would just give him back to her. She needs to work on their relationship and maybe be able to get partial custody, if it's in his best interest.

LW2 should not ask for the ring back. It's the widow's and should remain with her.

LW3- I still think this grandpa is a stingy old coot, but whatever.
Lifes a Beach

Belleville, NJ

#2 Mar 30, 2009
LW1 needs to discuss with lawyer/social worker etc..what would be best for her son. Doing the math here, this boy is in middle school or high school. Uprooting him to a new school might not be the best answer.

LW2 - Didn't you keep anything else of sentimental value that belonged to your father? To ask your grieving sister in law for a ring back would be completely insensitive.

LW3 - If he's that attached to his patio chair, maybe he could help her find one on ebay or (gasp) Craigslist, or at a foreclosure sale.

United States

#3 Mar 30, 2009
LW1 doesn't read like it was written by someone working on a doctorate. Something smells like fish and I don't think it's a mackerel.
Hawk in PA

Hanover Park, IL

#4 Mar 30, 2009
LW 1 - from my experience, in-laws develop a strong resistance in situations like this and are not likely to cooperate. Legal fees are exorbitant, so don't go down that path. Start by making contacts with all your son's contacts. That means calling and visiting his school, appearing at his games or other events that he may be engaged in, etc. People may be defensive at first, but this will pass. These are your rights as a mother. You can learn how to file your own domestic relations motions and you will get a court date and be heard. It is not difficult, I learned to do it very efficiently. Be very sincere and patient in reaching out to your son. He does love you and will be grateful to have you back in his life. I am not religious, but very experienced with this. So I will say- visualize and pray and, as this is a very special relationship that cannot be broken, you will be very happy with the results in due time.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#5 Mar 30, 2009
LW1: Good for you. See a lawyer. You've been fighting them for 7 years, so I don't think writing a letter will help. You may try it, but go through the courts to formalize any arrangement.

LW2: It is his family's now. You may ask, but don't expect. Amy's advice is good.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#6 Mar 30, 2009
Lifes a Beach wrote:
LW1 needs to discuss with lawyer/social worker etc..what would be best for her son. Doing the math here, this boy is in middle school or high school. Uprooting him to a new school might not be the best answer.
High school?? The boy is 10. That would put him in about the 4th grade.
Michael Shea

Minneapolis, MN

#7 Mar 30, 2009
I went through a similar situation after my divorced ex (who had custody of my son) passed away suddenly. Although I had always paid her the required child support and made heroic efforts to form a relationship with my son (which were systematically thwarted), the ex in-laws circled the wagons to keep me out. Understand that there is a gulf of distance between the ideal situation and reality.

Parents have parental rights that never go away unless they have been terminated by the courts, which doesn't seem to be the case here. She didn't say that the child had been adopted by the in-laws, but only that they had custody. Don't expect much cooperation in any kind of "transitioning." My ex in-laws sabotaged the process. I know it sounds distasteful, but if you bought that nice home and turned your life around, you could probably afford a lawyer. A good one is worth his weight in gold. Find one that specializes in custody law, and see what he has to say. Many lawyers are passionate about this issue of parents rights (like Jeffry Leving, here in Chicago) and can take you a long way in a short time, and cost less than a less experienced lawyer taking the long way around the barn. Good luck to you.

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

#8 Mar 31, 2009
too old wrote:
LW3- I still think this grandpa is a stingy old coot, but whatever.
Well, I think the "kids" should just go out and buy a rocking chair or whatever they need. They are expecting grandpa to give up his things because they "want" it. I wonder why they feel entitled to help themselves to others' property?

United States

#9 Mar 31, 2009
LW1--First stop, lawyer's office. Then family court. Arguing with the inlaws will not get you anywhere.

LW2--Of course you can ask. Nicely, apologetically even. Then accept her answer.

LW3--My parents' furniture made the rounds of all us kids throughout our dorm room/dive apartment/first home years.
Granted, it was usually old stuff they planned to replace anyway, or had stored in the attic. I just don't see the outrage here.

Chicago, IL

#10 Mar 31, 2009
Daria wrote:
LW3--My parents' furniture made the rounds of all us kids throughout our dorm room/dive apartment/first home years.
Granted, it was usually old stuff they planned to replace anyway, or had stored in the attic. I just don't see the outrage here.
The outrage is that this isn't old stuff the parents planned to replace. The kids are going shopping in the parents' living room. Uh uh. If you are old enough to have a child, you are old enough to buy your own furniture. Of course, how many people these days wait until they are financially stable before having children?

Hollywood, FL

#11 Mar 31, 2009
LW1 - Amy is way off. You need an attorney. You need to get your parental rights reinstated. And you need a judge to order custody. The grandparents/aunts/uncles have probably been juggling primary physical custody. If you're not ready to get your parental rights reinstated, you have no business bothering your ex-in-laws.

Showing up at his school, etc, when you're not the custodial parent, regardless of whether or not you gave birth to him, is quickly construed as stalking and I would be highly cautious traveling down this path, especially since you have a criminal history.

United States

#12 Mar 31, 2009
Does the mother not bear any responsibility in this case???? My wife and I are in the process of terminating the right's of my sister-in-law and the father of the baby. She is in jail and he is a drug dealer. Neither one of them cares for this child. I don't care of she ever changes. It would not be fair to us who spent the money to give our niece and nice life (and the associated legal fees) and then have our niece removed because the mother finally woke up and decided to change her life. She was given this chance multiple times and failed each time. The mother in the letter should be allowed to see her son but I don't think she should be able to take him home just because she changed. Kudos to the mother for changing but too little, too late.
Frosty J

United States

#13 Mar 31, 2009
My daughter could have any chair in my house to make her comfortable during a pregnancy. It would be a privielge to do so, on my part. Because, you see, my daughter lost her only child during pregnancy and lost her kidney function as well. Being on dialysis three days a week is her life. Yes, she had two donor kidneys that survived several years, but that is her life now, not holding and loving a child.

Give the chair in love and gratitude to your daughter. It pales in comparison to her gift to you, a grandchild.
semper anon

Tilton, IL

#14 Mar 31, 2009
LW 1 wrote "I got myself into a lot of trouble when I was 18. I am now probation was revoked 10 years ago ..."

LW1 got into lots of trouble when she was 19, 20, 21, & 22. I hope she is re-united with her boy one day though. Good luck.
another viewpoint

Frankfort, IL

#15 Mar 31, 2009
LW1 is very strange. Her son is 10 years old. She had to give him up 10 years ago. Based upon that, her son would not have any memory of her. Now she wants him back? Why?

A very strange letter indeed. One that does not seem to make much sense at all.

Since: Mar 09

United States

#16 Mar 31, 2009
Sorry, I'm going to disagree here. People like LW1 make me tired. She evidently had a child, but didn't find him important enough to say out of trouble. Now that all those pesky sleepless nights, dirty diapers, skinned knees, and panicked dr. visits (we've all had those) are done with, she has decided that "she's all better now," and will step in and take over. NOT. This kid is more than half grown. If she really cared about him, she would leave him be, try to schedule some visits, and recognize that SHE did this, and there are consequences far worse that jail.

LW2 - She could mention to her sister in law that she would like to see the ring kept in the family but she should never ask for it back.

LW3 - Anybody watch/remember the "Frasier" episode, when Frasier tried to dispense with his dad's old recliner to fit in with his anal-retentive decorating style? The recliner is the father's. Somebody forgot to teach daughter one of the most important tenents of manners: Never ask anyone for ANYTHING.
Ivory Dove

San Antonio, TX

#17 Mar 31, 2009
Does LW1 have a neutral meeting place where she can meet
with her son's paternal grandmother and attempt to restore a
relationship with her? Sometimes settling for what you can have is the best choice in less than ideal circumstances like hers.

LW2 would not be out of line in asking her widowed sister-in-law to lunch and taking the time to grieve with her. The ring
is not as important as the man.
view from a new window


#18 Mar 31, 2009
Sorry guys but I am with the grandparents on this one. I have had my grandchildren for 7 years myself. THEY ARE MY KIDS. After 7 years I would be devastated to give them up and so would they. My daughter in law has it together now and she does have visits in fact she can see them when ever she wants but if she fights to get them back she will have a fight on her hands. No matter who gave birth they are mine now. You can't wait that long and get them it is to disruptive to all concerned.

“I'm bringing sexy back...”

Since: Jan 09

Location hidden

#19 Mar 31, 2009
LW1 - Talk to a lawyer, not an advice columnist. I have to agree that if she gave the child up 10 years ago and the child is 10 then he probably has no clue who she is and it would mess him up a bit to be taken from his home and move in with a stranger. That being said, she is also his mother and has parental rights. Everyone makes mistakes and she seems to be trying to fix her life. I just hope she really does have her son's best interest at heart.

LW2 - We had a similar situation in our family. When my grandparents died, my uncle got my grandmother's organ. He has since passed on, and his son now has it and all it's doing is collecting dust. Now, we're a very musical family and my mom would love to have that organ so that it's put to good use instead of just being a picture holder. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen since my cousin has grown attached to it since his father had it for so long. It's just the way things are. She probably won't give the ring back, but as another poster mentioned, it's not as important as the loss of the brother.

Bristol, PA

#20 Mar 31, 2009
I'm very glad that LW1 turned her life around but that in no way gives her the right to re-claim the child she discarded. Sometimes the choices you make change your life and the life of everyone around you forever. You cannot rewind your son's life. Your bad decisions kept him from you and thankfully put him in a loving environment because you could not do that for him. The very best thing you can hope for is a relationship with your son on his terms. Don't even think he'll be living with you, if I were the custodian who raised him, I would fight you with everything the law allows. I give you credit for cleaning up your act, but some things cannot be un-done.

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