Lifetime No Contact Order

I didn’t know this was a thing.  It seems draconian and excessive.  There seem to be some cases of children placed into state custody where the parent has not only had their parental rights permanently terminated but is denied permanent contact forever with their own children.  It may relate to addiction.  But lifetime ?  This just seems wrong and it may not actually be “lifetime”.

I read that – the court order essentially is in place until the kids turn 18.  It is thought that the kid’s can choose whether to extend it or let it lapse at that point.

In the case I read about, which is typical of many poor people who encounter the legal system, the mother was coerced through fear tactics to sign this as part of her plea bargain.  I agree with the person who shared this story that such a permanent lifetime no contact order would do more harm than good for the kids and their mom over the long run.

People do change.  Lord, how I know that up close and personal.  I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my lifetime, even put my sweet baby girl at risk in my naivety.  Thankfully, she survived my immaturity.

It may be that how this particular situation resolves will depend on the relationship that the foster parent has with the genetic/biological parent.  Hopefully in this case, both the foster parent and the mother can let the caseworker know they object to this stipulation that was obtained under duress.  It may be that getting all of the parties to request the court make a change will prove successful in allowing the potential for contacts within this family.  If the judge is not willing, there is always hope in an appeal.

Part of our modern reality is that there are parents now who have gotten into addiction – often it begins with a valid need for pain relief – or it did, until society woke up to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry had a profit motive in getting people addicted to begin with.  End of societal inequity and/or injustice rant for today.

Parenting And Maturity

I’ve been known to say that I think Nature got it wrong to make us so fertile in youth and have that period of reproduction end so early in life.  True, the body ages and there are impacts to that.

Yet, I find that men who are ready to become parents do a better job.  Even when we are ready, as I was at 18, we may not really be mature enough to understand the difficulties of life well enough to avoid unfortunate outcomes.

When I became a mother at 19, I could lay down on the floor and color with crayons in a coloring book with my daughter.  I also did foolish things like partying with her in tow and we are both fortunate she survived my immaturity.

When my husband and I had sons late in life (he was 48 and 52, I was 47 and 50), we definitely had the maturity to put our children’s interest ahead of selfish preferences on our part.  I have seen that my husband has been an excellent father and will drop whatever instantly when one of his sons asks for his attention.

Me, not so much.  I’ll also admit I have had less patience with what seems utterly un-necessary than I did when I was so young.  I have more wisdom too – for which I am grateful.  I do think the hardest thing for me as an older parent has been learning to let go of that instant urge that mothers develop in answering their infants cries and let my sons “wait” a little bit as they get older for gratification of their demands.

Health considerations certainly were not given enough weight when we decided to have children late in life.  It was a shock to realize I will be 70 when my youngest son turns 20.  And my body is changing in the ways that aging brings, though I do my best to maintain the best health I am capable of.

For my second husband, he waited until we had been married 10 years to decide he wanted to have children.  By then, we needed a lot of help and thankfully medical advances gave us enough to succeed.  My husband needed to feel financially secure before he could commit to parenting.  It was in 2001 and 2004 that our sons were born and our business was thriving then.  Along came 2008 and the financial collapse and we’ve yet to recover.  We have tightened our belts as much as we can as we have had to.  We do worry about our future ability to adequately support this still young family (our sons as 15-1/2 and 19).

I suppose we have good management skills and we do about as well as most people in the parenting skills department.

Young and Foolish

There is a raging debate in an adoption group I belong to over what it is like to be young and foolish causing one not to be a good mother.  Part of the debate has to do with how much time it could take for a 21 yr old, unsupported and drug addicted, partying mother to get her act together.  Fortunately, the baby in question that was taken by Child Protective Services is currently in place with a relative who has worked hard to keep the child in contact with the mother and wants to maintain family care for the infant so that the child can know the child’s grandmother, great-grandmother and other extended family.

I wasn’t a good mother when I was in my early twenties.  I gave birth at 19 and was divorced by age 23.  My marriage had involved drug use.  My perspective was still wild and free and partying.  I did manage to hold down a job and pay rent but I struggled financially, often going to my mom for inadequate $20 handouts and had an ex-husband who refused to pay child support because he believed I would just party on that money.  He never seemed to give any consideration to the cost of child care, pediatricians, much less food and clothing.

So, in desperation I took my child to her paternal grandmother (not expecting my parents to approve of my plan to head out on an 18-wheel truck in order to make some real money).  Eventually, her father remarried a woman with a child and they conceived another child together.  This ended my plan to come back and continue to raise my daughter because I could not give her the family he could and I was still struggling financially.

I am totally in favor of maintaining family ties when a young mother isn’t mature enough or financially sound enough to support her child.  Adoption by strangers should ALWAYS be the absolute last resort.  Eventually, I matured.  I married a man when I was 33 and we went on to have two sons together.  I truly had felt like a failure at parenting.  I was simply too young and too unsupported to have done better.  I know now that was the truth of it.