Q: My wife and I adopted our grandsons, 10 and 12, due to our daughter's long history of drug addiction and arrests spanning over 13 years. She is again working and has set up house with another man. She wants to regain visits with the boys, but I am resisting getting back into the cycle of visits.
She states that we've pushed her away from her family, but, less than three months ago, she got pulled over for speeding and tried to pass herself off as her sister. She just went to court for obstructing government operations
The boys have lived with us since they were 2 and 4. I can't dismiss all the damage she has done. I see her now as the boys' biological mother and not as my own daughter. The boys have different fathers, neither of whom has ever contributed to his son's well-being.
If I choose to let the boy's mother back into their lives, there have to be boundaries. I just don't want to continue to bear witness to a life less lived. Advice?
A: The recent arrest isn't the only sign she's not ready to own her actions; any criminal-court regular who still blames others for "push(ing) her away from her family" has a few more dots to connect.
What counts is the health of these kids, so that's your last word. If your grandsons can't afford the risk, emotionally speaking, of being exposed to their mother's chaos, then you say no to your daughter and withstand the heat for it. If the kids would instead benefit from a carefully supervised reintroduction to their mother, then that's what you undertake and withstand the heat for.
I urge you not to assess this on your own. Given the boys' history, and the teenage waters you're soon navigating, a relationship with a good family therapist could be anything from a convenient reference to the beacon that guides these boys to safety.
Remind yourself as needed: Doing right by them was — and still is — the only right thing to do.