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Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD A forum to discuss Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder

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Old 11-14-04, 12:42 PM
granddadj granddadj is offline
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need help in michigan,

My son is married to a woman with OCD hoarding. The house is piled high with junk, it is also filthy. My son is embarrased by it, but doesn't have the backbone to do anything about it. My chief concern is my 3 yr old grandson who has no choice but to live in this mess.

Her condition is longstanding. A previous husband fought her for custody of children here-to-fore and had child protective custody involved. Luckily for the woman, with the help of her supportive mother continually making excuses for her, they were able to clean up the mess in previous homes before CPS visited. She was always able to avoid an unannounced visit. With the previous husband's death, CPS intervention disappeared.

She is now married to my son, who lives in fear that she will take his son and go live with her mother if my son tries to insist the house is cleaned up or tris to throw anything away. If the mother does not take her in, she will likely get assistance, (welfare, etc) and find a place to live and start anew to fill it up with junk. She is very knowledgeable regarding the social services system and will find away to avoid scrutiny about herself.

I don't know what to do. My grandson is outwardly clean and heallthy, but a number of other symptoms bother me. At 3-1/2 years he cannot easily step up one step without holding the railing. He seems to have no energy and doesn't run or exhibit normal activity of a 3 yr old. This I believe to be a result of no room to play or run in the house from an early age, where he was kept in a playpen or held constantly, and nursed till just 6 months ago. Although this is not unique to them as parents, he doesn't eat regular meals, gets hardly any protien and sleeps whenever he becomes tired as there is no bed time enforced.

My impression of the mother is she is extremely lazy and does nothing but sit around the house or go to garage sales to get more stuff. Every horizontal surface in the house is piled high with boxes upon boxes of stuff. There are rooms filled with stuff, as is most of the basement. Whether this is laziness or part of the OCD/deperssion, etc, the outward results are the same.

The only influence on this woman is her mother who does nothing but make excuses for her and occasionally come to try and clean up the kitchen. The last child of the previous marraige has recently moved in with the mother and any effort to keep the house clean has ceased. She as much as told us, the new child was our respsonsibility. Any attempt to touch or throw out any of her stuff is met with hysterics.

I want to take that responsibility and would clean the place myself, but she wouldn't allow it. It is impossible to clean the place without at least exposing even a few square feet of any room. This would require a dumpster to deposit the stuff outside the house.

My goal is to find some kind of local contact who I can discuss options with. I don't know if those options include a possibility of getting custody of my grandson, but at this point, his welfare is my only concern.
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Old 11-14-04, 01:03 PM
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What an incedibly lucky little boy to have a granddad like you!!!!

I myself am OCD but in another extreme. I direct it at myself, I'm never good enough, my house is never clean enough, my kids are bathed at least twice a day (something they have never fought thank goodness), I have washed my car and outside of the house until paint has chipped off. I saved anything and everything pertaining to my kids or husband.

Thru therapy I've learned to accept dirt in my house. I pick up daily and deep clean one room a day from the ceiling, down. I scan all my kids papers and picture's they make at school and at the end of the year burn them off to a cd with picture's from that year (it's the only way I've been able to bring myself to throw the clutter out) I donate my kids old clothes to a local abuse shelter (I've found that giving the stuff to someone who really needs it leaves me a lot less anxious). My kids are ADHD so their alway's filthy-I've learned to accept that. Basically, I've learned to breath and cut myself some slack...there is no such thing as perfect and I spent half my life killing myself to acheive it.

I guess what I'm saying is that you cannot do anything to save your daughter in law until she stands up and takes responsibility for her actions and gets help herself. Her mother making excuse's doesn't help matters any either. You cannot and I mean cannot fix her and your loved ones situation she has to want it. It's like addiction if the addict doesn't believe they have a problem all the therapy in the world isn't going to work.

As a mother I am loathe to do what I'm about to do; and please understand that I'm going to be brutally honest with you. But, you need to be prepared and making my post soft isn't going to do any favors. I feel for your plight and am so sorry for your grandson. Your son he needs to grow a pair simply put. 1.) Get a lawyer quietly and secretly. 2.) Take lot's of picture's of the mess while she's gone (be prepared...my first question to your son would be "your arms broke?" not to be mean but there are two parents living in that house). 3.) If at all possible see if you can get her mother involved in saving her own daughter instead of just making excuses. 4.) Investigate the grandparents rights in your state (I work with a woman who sued her daughter in law for grandparent rights and gets her granddaughter every weekend and every third holiday--Nebraska has excellant grandparent benefits) 5.) Investigate your son's rights (while the woman I work with gets her granddaughter every weekend and every third holiday her son gets his daughter 2 days during the week and every third holiday) She ends up spending a lot more time in a safe enviroment then at home with her mother. 6.) LOVE...unconditional love for your grandson, it sounds like you've already gotten that one down.

I hope you understand that my advice is only advice. But, I hope it gives you ideas of were to start. It's my hope that your daughter in law when faced with the choice of losing her husband and son will seek help for herself and save her family. I know you've been thru a lot but if she does seek help FORGIVENESS AND SUPPORT will serve you well.

Good luck
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Old 11-14-04, 02:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums granddad

I second what Cherity wrote it's great that you are concerned enough to get involved in your grandson's life, we all want what's best for your grandson.

I'm wondering if your daughter-in-law is under treatment now and if there's previous CPS record you may be able to get the courts involved this way.
Hoping that if she is under treatment this will improve your grandson's life.

Your son can get copies of pediatrician’s records if you think there are developmental problems these should definitely be followed thru with.

My understanding is any and all reports to CPS must be investigated.

I did find a free advice forum online that might be able to help you, the following is just one post regarding Michigan law.*******

No, she doesn't have that right. In fact, in the state of Michigan (which is where she would have to sue) she currently CANNOT sue for visitation rights.
In the case, DeRose vs DeRose the Michigan Supreme Court struck down Michigan's grandparent visitation law as facially unconstitutional.

The Michigan legislature has attempted to pass a new legislation, designed to meet constitutional muster, but they have not yet been successful in doing so.

Even if you were in a state where it was possible for her to sue, its unlikely that she would get what she wants since you already visit her regularly.
***********following from a different site



Grandparent Rights to Visitation: Visitation can only be granted when the parents' marriage is declared invalid or dissolved or the court enters a decree of legal separation or legal custody of the child is given to a party other than the child's parent. Michigan Statutes Annotated, Section 25.312(7b) [M.S.A. §25.312(7b)]. This is same as Michigan Compiled Laws Annotated, §722.27b. Additional affidavit required.

When Adoption Occurs: Visitation rights terminate upon adoption unless the adoption is by a stepparent.

Child Custody Statutes: Best interest of child considering: (1) love, affection and other emotional ties existing between the parties and the child; (2) the capacity and disposition of each to give love, affection, guidance and continuation of education and raising the child in its religion; (3) the capacity and disposition of each to provide food, clothing and medical care; (4) length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity; (5) permanence as a family unit of the existing or proposed custodial home; (6) moral fitness of the parties; (7) mental and physical health of the parties and child; (8) home, school and community record of the child; (9) preference of the child, if of suitable age; (10) willingness and ability of the parties to facilitate and encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent; and (11) any other relevant factor. M.S.A. §25.312(3); M.C.L.A. §722.23. Grandparent or other third party may only get custody if: (1) child's biological parents were never married, and (2)

I truly hope to read a happy ending to this story.
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