How to keep family peace?


I have to give some background in order to get your advice on what to do.

Here it is: My MIL and her dh adopted their granddaughter, or her granddaughter. The way they did it was wrong and they lied to the judge about her son, who is a recovering alcoholic and mentally challenged. Anyway, he agreed to allow the adoption if he could visit with his daughter once a month at our housefor it had to be supervised. We were the visitation persons mentioned in the agreement and the place also, our house. Well, since the adoption last summer, my BIL has come to visit his daughter every month that his mother would allow. Some months, she made excuses.

Here is the problem: Lately, my MIL has been making comments that she thinks that visitation will stop soon. She told me personally that she wants her son out of her new adoptive daughter’s life. I told her that she agreed and signed a document, but she never wanted to sign that or agree to it. She only did so because her son would sign it without going to court over the child. Now, she wants him out of the picture completely. His mother hates the fact that he is truck driver and uneducated and immoral. I don’t disagree with her on that, but she signed a paper and so did her dh and the two lawyers involved. There is no signature from the judge. Today, we get a call from his mother and she wants to talk to us with her husband about the visitations. My dh is upset and said that if they try to completely push his brother out of his daughter’s life, he will not allow his mother to see our dd. I said that is blackmail, but he said that is the only way his mother will stop this. I also told him that this will not only hurt his mother, but our dd who loves her grandmother and the man she calls grandpa too.

I don’t know what to do. I want to keep peace in his side of the family, but if they do decide to take the dad out of his little girl’s life, there is going to be war in this family. My dh and I disagreed with the adoption from the beginning. We know that my MIL was the guardians of our niece, but she knew that and knew that some day her son had the right to come back for his child and that is why they took his parental rights away from him. I don’t know if the document my BIL signed and the adoptive parents and the lawyers is binding in court. I think my MIL and her dh have the right to take away visitation and I think that was their plan from the beginning.

I have been present personally for two of the visitations and let me tell you, I didn’t like what I saw. I think that the dad, my BIL did very well with his dd and the visitation went well. I didn’t like the way my MIL’s husband would act around my BIL. He would say things to make it seem that my BIL was not loving to his dd. After the visits, I would get a call later from my MIL and she would make it sound like he was a bad influence on my niece and she is misbehaving and wetting her bed after seeing her dad. I don’t understand why she hates her son so much, but she does. This was her favorite son when I first married my dh and my dh was the one she could not stand for he wanted to be a priest. She is not mentally well either.

Here is word for word what the agreement for relative adoption says, without his name: "John Doe shall have supervised visitation with (child’s name), minimum of one time per month. Visitation shall be supervised by his brother and sister in law. The adoptive father, may also be present during these visits. The parites agree that the adoption will establish an irrevocable parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the child, the adoptive parents will retain all rights associated with the relationship, including making all decisions regarding the child’s welfare. Should the child suffer any kind of physical or emotional detriment as a result of the visits with her biological father, and upon documented advice or recommendation of the appropriate professional, a copy of which shall be provided to the biological dad, the adoptive parents may suspend or terminate the visits."

From what this says, I don’t think they can stop visitation unless a professional says that visits with her biological dad is endangering her. Is this how you all understand it?

What would you do if you were in this position? Would you stand up for the BIL or not? I do know that in the last visit this past weekend, my BIL said that his little girl’s dog is ugly. I don’t know if my MIL and her dh think this is damaging to their dd. I don’t know, but I want to be prepared with an answer if they say they will stop visitation.


How horribly sad. Do you believe that the BIL is in anyway causing his DD distress or harm? If the answer is no, then I would protect his right to see his little girl. If that meant causing waves in your relationship with your MIL, oh well. How stable of a relationship was it anyway if she could treat her own son like this?! I’ll say a prayer for all involved. God bless.


I went through something close to this,only worse.
My niece was murdered by her live in boyfriend.
He was arrested and charged and we (dh & me) fought and won custody.(He had his rights):rolleyes:

Anyway we had to deal with alot of family.
That paperwork your inlaws need won’t be hard to get.All you MIL has to do is go in to a doctors office and say “she’s wetting the bed after visits” and thats pretty much it.
Speaking as a person who adopted my great nephew,I am his mother in the eyes of the law and anything I say goes. I think your inlaws, if they completed the adoption, will and can cut him out of the picture.
They are now the parents and they have that right to decide as parents who their daughter has contact with.

I would protect any of my children from anyone who was immoral.Wouldn’t you?


Unless the child is in some sort of danger, I would sit back and provide a neutral ground for these visits and refuse to take a “side”.

If that is too difficult, then, request that the court find another suitable place/monitors for the visit and gracefully step out of the entire thing. (Again, unless you see the child is in danger, in that case, contact the authorities).


My dh’s side of the family was very dysfunctional and continues to be so. My BIL while an alcoholic, his mother and her dh stood by him and gave him a home to stay in when he was homeless and made him sober. He would fall back into alcoholism and they wanted him out of the house. I understand completely. When he met another girl and got her pregnant, he goes through a lot of women, they had my niece. He was from what I saw a good father for his girlfriend was lazy. He did everything for that little girl. Unfortunately, since both mom and dad are mentally challenged, the little girl was born disabled mentally and physically. Because my BIL was drinking, he and his girlfriend would have some heated arguments involving domestic violence. He has this in his past and has a prison record for it, all while he was an active alcoholic. Now, he has been sober for three years. He has to take a drug alcohol screen test everytime he comes to see his little girl. He honestly is not doing anything to harm his dd. He is very crude and well a typical trucker. I am not saying all truckers are like this, but he is and so is his brother, not my dh. He is into pornography also. He does not talk to his little girl about these things or cuss in front of her or my dd.

Yes, he is immoral and because he is my dd’s uncle, she sees him too, but not often. He is great with my dd. I just think he is so very immature and says things outloud that he should keep to himself, but recently my dh’s dad came to visit and he was the same. Kids learn from their parents. My dh was the same until I corrected him on these bad habits. Anyway, I know my MIL and her dh are now the parents, but the way they did this really bothers my dh and I and now they will take the biological dad out of his dd life for sure. I know that it is what they want to do. I had this little girl come to me one time, when visitations were stopped on a lie and she was crying. I hugged her and asked what was wrong. She told me, “I miss my daddy.” I did not mention her dad and when I told this to my MIL and her dh, they basically said I must have misunderstood for she doesn’t care for her dad. That made me mad for they were saying I was lying. She does miss her dad and he is not the greatest or most moral, but nevertheless, at the time, he was her dad. She still calls him daddy and her adoptive dad is papa. My MIL doesn’t like that and wants to change that to her calling her adoptive father, “daddy.” I have spoken to her adoptive father and he doesn’t care, but my MIL does and it bothers her. She can and has been unreasonable many times. I think if the two men are fine with what the little girl calls them, she should let it go.

I think they are going to say that because of my niece’s mental issues, the dad’s visit is bad for her. She is 6 years old but has the abilities of a 3 year old. She loves everyone. We think she is a little retarded, but my MIL won’t admit that.

I just feel so bad for my BIL for when he lost his dd, he wanted to commit suicide, but he said he turned to prayer and it helped. I think he turned to women mostly, but I don’t doubt he prayed for he blames God for the lost of his dd. He mostly blames his mother and hates her. I was there that day in court and he cried and cried. He wanted to fight for his little girl, but his lawyer was not for him. I adviced him that if he did keep this lawyer, he was going to lose for I had heard him talk to the other side and he sided with them. His lawyer did not like him. My BIL can be offensive, but the lawyer was court appointed and not getting paid by him, so he didn’t care. That is what I saw, so I adviced my BIL to take the visitations for at least he could see his dd monthly.


I don’t think this will ever go back to court. I think, like someone said here, all my MIL has to do is go to a doctor and if that doctor writes what she wants, my BIL is out of the picture. My MIL wants him out of her life and the life of her new little girl. The child is not in danger from all the visits that myself or my dh have witnessed. I want to stay neutral but they want to talk to us and I know from her past comments, she wants him out of the picture completely.

By the way, if anything, I think my MIL is more abusive to her new dd than her son is. My MIL raised three boys and all have a terrible temper, including my dh and have mental issues. She is not normal herself and abused these boys mentally and physically. The dad in question here was beaten by both his dad and mom when they found out he smoked cigarettes. He said he went to school with a black eye and a broken lip. His own parents did that. I asked his dad if this was true and he said yes for they had to teach him not to smoke. HE still smokes. This was only one episode. I asked my dh if he thinks his mother has changed that much and won’t abuse our niece and he said, “I feel sorry for her. She will mess up her life too.” That is why I wish all of this would have came out in court for my MIL is not the best choice for a mother for this little girl. My MIL is also 62 years old and has no patience. This little girl needs a lot, a lot of patience. My MIL’s husband is my age 43 yr. old and is more patient, but he doesn’t get her all the time. I just hope and pray that my MIL will not be so abusive to this little girl as she was with all her boys. I know that my niece comes from a heavy set mom and is chubby herself and my MIL worries for her weight and restricts her diet so much. She says she doesn’t want her fat and she is already fat. She said this when she was only 4 and still says it.

I can’t judge my MIL for I have not seen any physical abuse to this child myself, but my BIL has. My MIL acts differently around me and is always on her best behavior, but when she is alone with her sons, she is herself. I know for when my dh and I first got married, I could not believe this nice woman was the person he described, but one day he called me to pick up the other phone when he was talking with her and I could not believe the names she was calling her grown up son. After that, I never forced my dh to want to call or go over to his mother’s house. She can be very mean with words.


I am so sorry to hear about your niece and I do agree that my MIL and her husband are now the parents and have the right to do as they wish, but it will cause problems with my dh and his brother and that whole relationship. It is a mess!!


**Wow, what a situation for a poor innocent child to be involved in. Obviously it would have been much better for her to be adopted by a two parent stable household at birth so that could have been the only family she knew (just mentioning it in case it helps someone who is struggling with a decision for their own unborn baby).

If you and your hubby are supposed to be supervising visits then I would make sure you are doing that and documenting everything. The good and the bad. You will need to tell the court how the relationship between your BIL and his daughter is from your perspective. You may be able to counteract some of your MIL’s lies (if they are lies).

As for keeping family peace? You don’t have any. There is nothing to keep. You need to do what is right and moral.

Oh, and please stop bashing truckers. I know you said they are not all like that, but it was offensive.**


You need to contact BIL’s lawyer and BIL and let them know what MIL is up to. His lawyer’s job is to protect his rights.


Ouch - is perhaps English not the first language in the family? The reason I ask, the term “retarded” can be offensive to the those with disabilities. You might suggest a family sensitivity training class to keep these terms out of the family vocabulary.


Keep the peace in your own home first. Let your husband deal with his mother, father, brother and this whole situation. Your husband should decide how he wants handle his family, not you. Offer your thoughts and opinions to him in private, but don’t push it.

At your in-laws home, be polite and bite your tongue. If your MIL speaks to you about it, refer her back to your husband without discussing it further with her. You have probably said enough already so that your MIL and FIL know your opinion. Now let your husband deal with his family. This will save you much worry and keep peace in your home.


If I offended you or truckers that was not my intention. If you talk to my BIL, you would know that I have been the only one to support what he does for a living. His mother is constantly telling me that because he is a trucker he is “white trash.” I think truckers are needed to help America get their products from area to area. So, that was not my intention.

I need to say something to those who doesn’t know me. My English is not the best and I may not express myself properly or to everyone’s expectations. I am sorry. I speak two languages and English is my better one, but growing up with the mixture of both Spanish and English confused me, not some of my sisters. When it came to the English grammar, I did not do well and my parents could not help me. My mom spoke very little English and dad was always working. So I am sorry, that I pick stupid words, but I am not that intelligent when it comes to expressing myself. Sometimes, I don’t like posting here for some of the remarks remind me again, how stupid I am. I did not mean to offend anyone with the word, “retarded”, but that was in the medical report of my niece as well. It said she suffered from “mild retardation.” So I did not know I was being insensitive.

Anyway, as far as all this goes, I wish I could leave it all to my husband, but he doesn’t handle stress well and I can tell you now what his plans are. He is not going to allow his mother to see our daughter if she goes with this and takes visitation away from his brother. They are not close and he only tolerates his brother, but as a father, he thinks he has a right to see her once a month.


I will try to allow my husband to take care of everything, but this will cause problems in our marriage. We already have our own problems being both disabled and in chronic pain, we don’t need this too, but it is going to happen.

As far as my MIL knowing how I feel, she doesn’t. I am very shy and when she talks to me, I just listen and don’t say if I agree or disagree to much. There are times, where she will ask me a question, then I answer it, but for the most part, I just listen. She does not know how I felt about the adoption. I just celebrated with them for that is what family do. We were there in the courtroom for the adoption and it was beautiful and I was happy for them. Trust me, I bite my tongue a lot with her. I was shocked that a mother would call her son “white trash” and kept quiet. I talked about it afterwards with my husband and he was not surprised that his mother say these kinds of things. He knows for he was called many names by her when all he wanted to do is become a priest. She HATES the Catholic Religion.

My regret is not taking this child when the judge wanted to give her to us. My husband did not want this and my back pain was so bad that I could not take care of a baby at the time. She was 15 months old when she was taken from her parents.

Again forgive my poor English grammar. The good news is that I homeschool our dd and I learn as I teach her all the rules and boy are there a lot. Spanish is easier to learn.


My dh and I had the talk with my MIL and her dh. It was not done on Mother’s Day, but today. They told us that they plan to terminate all visitation for the dad with the child. Then they showed us a DNA that was done between the grandmother and the child. They are not related. So this little girl does not belong to my BIL and he is not the biological father. This news is going to kill him. He will be getting this news on Father’s DAy weekend and his birthday that falls on Father’s Day.

We received a detail log from my MIL and her husband and their reasons for termination. Some is untrue for I was there too. Some was made to be worse than it really was. I was surprised, but not too surprised for they were dishonest in what they said to get her in the first place. But it doesn’t matter for he is not the biological father. The test would be more accurate if it was done between the father and child, but I don’t think his mother will go for that. He needs a lawyer and can’t afford one. He will never get to see the child he has called his daughter since her birth. She will be 7 next month.

Please pray for this whole ugly situation. Thanks.


Yes, it is a sad situation. How much do you want to help him? Court is a big, fat stressor. Even just going to traffic court gives me an upset stomach. Family court? No thanks! I simply cannot take it. Perhaps it is finally time to get somebody who can handle it. You have a lot on your plate nana, with your own family, and then your sister’s ex-husband and that mess. You’re only one person! Be careful with yourself and your family!

I, for one, agree with your DH. His parents are loony tunes. They have no business in your life,and they esp. have no business in your kids’ lives, if all they do is abuse and accuse.

If you are the visitation supervisors, then you need to make a report to the court when this happens, and you need your BIL to call you to the stand and have your report entered if he’s going to court pro se (pro per). You can surf the Internet and find a free format into which to type your report. You can then go to the county where this will be held and put it into their format.

This really should have been performed by a professional visitation supervisor, but you can’t undo it. There are such people, specially trained, to watch parents and kids interact. I know it saves money to have supervised visitation at a relatives’ home, but it is a pain to watch. It would be a good idea to get a neutral party ASAP, by the next visitation. Neutral places for visitation abound, as well. There is always the Weekend Home of non-custodial Fathers across the nation, McDonald’s. There are parks and libraries, malls, restaurants, church facilities, clubs and organizations.

I know, because for my ex-son-in-law’s only two visits on one weekend in the girls’ entire lives, DH and I were the visitation supervisors. We made our report to the court, and asked to be excused. We didn’t want the job, got suckered into it by our eldest daughter and her lawyer, and regretted it. We arranged the meetings at a play area in one of our local malls, and at a library/ park. It was pure agnony. I do know what you’re going through.

I would not lend out my home to MIL and then leave. I would be there for the whole shebang. This woman has proven herself untrustworthy. I wouldn’t want her in my house alone. She’s not only capable of coming up with whoppers, she might plant something.:eek:

Although I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, and this is not legal advice- I do know that in most (not all) states, it doesn’t matter whose child she is. If his name is on the birth certificate, and if he has been paying child support and visiting the child with the effect as if she was his daughter, and esp. if he was married to her mother at the time of the marriage, then he is the legal father. They can come up with this evidence, but in the long run, what’s on the birth certificate is the dad. Because this was done behind his back, he can motion the court for a complete DNA test. But it shouldn’t matter. And he could counter-lcaim for fraud and ask for any child support o be returned to him.

This is why if you really want to help your BIL, you need to help him get a lawyer. You need to have your BIL sit his fanny down to the computer and read up on the law as well. His immorality and his lack of attention to the matter, not the fact that he might not be biodad and drives a truck for a living, are what are going to make him lose his child in my opinion.


Today has been the worse Father’s Day for my dh. He is so stressed out over this. I have asked him to leave it between his mother and brother, but he sees how unjust all this is as I do. What can we do? We can only testify to the truth and what really happens at visitations if he takes this to court. I have advised my BIL to get an attorney. He is planning on doing that, but it may be too late. He wants to wait until he moves down here to Florida to get a Florida lawyer and move in with his current girlfriend and have a local trucking job. That could takes months for his probation officer won’t allow him to move down here yet. He is on probation for not paying over $60,000.00 in child support from his marriage. The little girl in question is his second daughter and he was not married to the woman, only lived with her. He was named on the Birth Certificate as the father, but my MIL said that is voided out now for when they adopted her, they are not listed as her parents. I don’t know if that can be done, but that is what they are saying. Yes, he has been there since her birth and paid child support. He is still paying back child support that he owes.

By the way, I found out that the DNA test my MIL did is not legally binding in court. There were no witnesses and this is a test they ordered online and did themselves at home. How do we know they really did it right or didn’t lie about who the test was done on? It is horrible that I think this way, but they are liars to me for the lies they said and how they have betrayed our trust in them.

We only agreed to be the supervisor thinking it would be better for the father, but than the adoptive father said he had the right to be there too and was at each visitation. He was the one to keep a log that was not accurate. We kept a log too and it differs a lot. I can’t believe them lying like this for they are church goers and have been reborn, according to them. My BIL doesn’t go to any denomination and he already thinks all Christians are hypocrites. I told him that we are not all like that. He said he knows, from his AA meetings, that he needs to forgive his mother, but than she does something else that tops the first thing she did to him. They got his signature revoking his rights as the father only because he was going to see her monthly at our house. They they would not allow it some months and put it in the log as he did not take advantage of visitation this month. It is horrible what they are doing.

My dh was so upset today, he wanted to cancel our dd birthday pool party at his mothers next Sunday. I was against it, but he was going to do so. He called one of his cousins and she told him that his “brother is not worth it.” I think his whole family way of thinking is terrible. To say a human being is not worth it is terrible in my opinion. Yes, he is immoral and crude, but he is not trash and that is how the family sees him. He is a sex addict and doesn’t know it, but again that doesn’t make him trash.

I pray for my dh’s family. I just got off the phone with my MIL and had to stay quiet on how I really feel about this whole situation. As she told my husband today, it is there decision and they made it and we have no say so in the matter.

Thanks for the advice. My BIL is going to get an attorney and how long it takes him, that is now his problem. He did say that he wants another DNA test to be done for he is so sure that this little girl is his.


I’d have to agree with your husband - I’d not expose my DD to this messy drama. Have her birthday party with her friends in a drama-free zone.


I agree now. It will make my husband uncomfortable too and he may want to say something and on our dd’s birthday is not the day to do so. He did once in the past and thank God my dd was out in the pool when he approached his mother. Now that I think about it, almost every birthday for my dd, my dh and his mother have something to argue about. I hate it!! The good news, is so far my dd is not aware of them. She is aware that her daddy doesn’t like his mother much, but other than that that is it.

Trust me after this, we are only going to see dh’s mother on holidays and my dd’s birthday and that is it.


Well, nana, maybe the best thing you guys can do is bow out at this point, as obviously your BIL is more concerned about moving and getting his live-in situated than he is about his visitation with his daughter, if he doesn’t see that he needs to hire a lawyer now. If we had this happening again, I’d say no way, no how on the supervision at this point, and MIL could go jump in the lake!

Your MIL is blowing smoke about the birth certificate. Until the day the adoption is final, they don’t touch the birth certificate. And it takes up to nine months to process a new one, depending on the state. And your MIL’s husband is full of bull, as well. He does not have the right participate in supervised visitation. This whole thing would be a deal-breaker for me, and as I said, I would not let these people in my house alone.

I wouldn’t even see them at holidays. And I would certainly not have them to DD’s party, or have DD’s birthday party there!:eek: And sad to say, that means not inviting the combo cousin/ aunt. Again, book McDonald’s, or have the party at a local playground, or your own home, away from MIL!!!


I agree with you. I could not believe my BIL is going to wait. That made me angry. I am staying out of it and so is hubby. It is up to him if he wants to do something about it all now. If I get called to court, I will go. My BIL tells me that he can’t get a lawyer now for he has no money. He use to have a pro bono lawyer for the court date when his parental rights were taken away and that lawyer did not look out for him. He was more for my MIL side so I don’t blame him for wanting one that he can pay, but he uses his money on junk and on his trucker salary can afford to hire a lawyer now. I wash my hands of the whole thing.

I talked to him this morning and he said his mother will not get away with this, but that he didn’t want his brother to worry, my dh. I emailed him last night asking him to please tell my dh that he is fine and will take care of everything for my dh doesn’t handle stress well and has his medical problems to deal with and doesn’t need this now. He agreed with him and told me that he will talk to dh. I am glad he agrees on that point. If I know him as I do, it will be months before he has a lawyer and does anything about it. He has been telling us for 8 years now, no 9 years, that is filing for a divorce from his wife. He has not done so. It is always that he has no money.

Well, thanks for all the support. :thumbsup:

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