I also started having my family young. I got PG at 18, although I was FT military at the time. Then I married a different man, he abandoned us. So, my parents took me and my toddler in. They required me to either work FT, go to school FT, or PT in both. I worked FT at one point, then did college FT and babysat with my son PT, and then quit school to go to work FT since I was PG again at 20, for my soon to be inlaws benefit. That was a dangerous job, so soon to be DH made me quit. So, we prepared for our sooner than planned wedding, and I went with him.
During the time I worked FT, I paid my sister to babysit. When I went to college, the state paid for my daycare. I had 3 mos of TANF (we called it AFDC), and the babysitting and FS when they yanked them because of my age. They pursued my son's father, but never found him. How can you lose a military man? My DH has adopted my son since though, and he has never known anyone else.
My Dh lived with his parents until we wed. MIL wanted FIL to make the boy give them some rent to live and eat there, but FIL wouldn't. She said she planned to put it into savings, because they didn't need the money. She just wanted him to stop getting himself into debt, and take on some responsibility. He worked for them FT, and another PT job, so I consider that responsibility. But, his dad would bail him out by taking the CC and his paychecks to pay all the debt off.
Anyway, my point is, what if you asked her to start paying some rent and food? If this is hard on your financially, then she should be willing to do this. MC will pursue the fathers, if they can be found. Encourage her to get MC and have them do this. She can use this money for the kids, and the rent she is really paying you. Charge her babysitting. Whatever money you don't need, put in savings for her without telling her this. Ask her to save what she can towards getting out on her own. INSIST that she get her GED. Then, when an emergency happens, or she is looking for furnishings for her new place, you can go shopping with her to get those things with the saved money. My parents did NOT let me live there "for free". No, I didn't pay rent or food, but I did pay babysitting and diapers, baby's food, etc. I didn't get to just run around with my friends. I was required to be going to school or work FT.
As far as DH, we didn't have s#x until we already decided to get married. I think Dh was trying to make it easier on his Dad to accept me, and that he needed to cut the apron strings. I tell ppl on occasion that DH trapped me. LOL And, that is true. My mother was so mad at me. She said that the first time, okay, but this time, I knew better. I told her that soon to be Dh was probably hoping to get me PG so that his Dad couldn't object to the marriage. She said, "Oh, Danny wouldn't do that." We were all family friends, his parents to mine, his siblings to mine, so she thought she knew him. LOL My Dad always blessed our union from before our first date. I got so very lucky in all of it. DH's Dad wanted him to pay child support, because his first marriage was also a shotgun marriage, and it didn't work out. And, his son was all he had from one crappy marriage to the next. He didn't tell DH this until he was 24yo and I was PG, and DH never did the math. I thought it was a little late then.
And, as far as the kid going over the edge. I had been battling an eating disorder since I was 15yo. It lasted nearly 10 yrs. My mother could have been softer, as she always thought I would go over the edge. But, she would still take the tough love approach, because she knew it was the best thing to do. I am sure she cried many nights, when I was at my worst. Only during PG did I have a miraculous recovery with the ED because I was so pro-life. She said the first time that if it was just PG that cured me, she wouldn't have minded a teenage PG. Only kidding though. It was a lot of pressure, and I did struggle all that time with the ED, but I also went to counseling while at home, at Mom's insistance, and I knew it was best. I think that counseling should be required if you think her emotional state is iffy. I did that until marriage. That was the catholic counselor that really encouraged me about the impending marriage. I mentioned my mother said she never wanted us girls to marry the father of the child if the child came first, because it would never work out. The counselor said, "what makes you think it can't work out, really?" That straightened me out to give it a go. I was only having doubts because my mother did, and he left his underwear on the floor in his room at home.
Our first three years were rough, but after that, it did a huge 180 and we are soooo happily married. So, yes, it can work out. But, we were both very dedicated and don't believe in divorce, in most cases.
I hope she does join these boards. I think they are truly a Godsend. Kymberli