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My Daughter Is in Rehab and We Have Custody of Her Children. Now She Wants Contact What Do We Do?

by Debbie C
(woodland, CA)

My 37 yr. old daughter lost custody of her two children. The 4 year old is going to be adopted and we have the 15 year old with us. My daughter is in out-patient care and wants to talk to her daughter.

I have refused as I don't think it is in my granddaughter's best interest. When the court wanted her to go through counseling and drug rehab she refused - now that she has lost all her rights she has entered out patient drug rehab.

Drugs were not her only problems she is bipolar and has mental issues. 3 months in rehab doesn't show me anything and I don't want her talking with her daughter. Am I right in doing this or should I let her talk to her? Answer

Hi Debbie

That really is a difficult question to answer because it is complex and you ultimately have to do what is best for your grandchildren, while trying to decide whether your daughter having a part in their lives would serve their best interests.

Your daughter is having to face up to the consequences of her drug addiction, which is ultimately a good thing, because the harder the reality of the choices she made hits home, the less likely she is to return to a life of addiction.

But at the same time is there a point where you will consider her sufficiently rehabilitated whereby you will permit her to have contact with her kids, because if she does turn her life around, maybe she can still have a positive role to play in their lives?

And that's a tough call to make. You're right in saying 3 months in rehab doesn't show you anything, so there's a lot she still needs to do to show she really is on a new path. Words are also meaningless in that regard, the proof will be in her actions.

So maybe you can somehow quantify what she needs to do before you'll allow her contact with her kids again. That will show her there is light at the end of the tunnel and maybe help motivate her to keep working at her recovery.

Don't do it in a nasty or degrading way, but simply say to her that because you have her children's best interests at heart, you don't want her potentially letting them down/hurting them again unnecessarily, so until she's more embedded in her recovery you don't want her having contact with them.

And then maybe make it clear what that looks like so there can be no confusion as to when that will be. So for example it may be something like 6 months sober, actively working her recovery by going to AA/NA meetings 4 times/week and working the 12 steps, have her own job and be in a position to look after herself financially etc.

But whatever you do, you're right in saying that you need to put your grandchildren's best interests first, and ultimately you're in the best position to determine how to go about doing that. So it really is difficult to offer advice since only you can judge the dynamic of what is going on and what the best course of action to take will be.

Good Luck with your decision

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