So, I have a deliquate situation. My fiance and I have been together almost 5 years. He has a 14 year old and a 5 year old daughter. The 14 yr old has come to stay with us every other weekend the whole time but the 5 year old we haven't seen in almost 3 years. Her mom contacted us recently and has found out that she has a terminal illness and wants the little one to start staying with us. She is not wanting to ease her into it either she wants to start next week when she just contacted us yesterday. Of course we are excited to have a relationship with her but at the same time I feel that maybe this will be tramatic for her and I just need some advice on how to handle the situation. We have two children together and then he has the two girls. I'm close with the oldest one and hope to be with the younger one to. Any advice on things I can do, other than the obvious, to help her fell comfortable but yet not feel like she has the upper hand in our relationship?
Is the idea that the girl will live with you full time after her mom dies? I think the mom is actually being smart here... it might feel awkward and rushed to suddenly have a whole new big family now, but hopefully by the time her mom dies it'll feel like home to her. As exciting as it is to have her, the best bet is probably to try and keep life as normal as possible and treat her just like the rest of the kids. Make her feel welcome but don't make too big of a deal about it. If she gets the idea that it's always a party at your house, then that'll just create another headache down the road.
One thing I'd probably do is create a space for her that's just hers... I know you can't just make a whole other room materialize, but if there's a spare bed maybe get her a blanket & pillow in her favourite cartoon character or colour. If you don't have a bed for her yet, then try and think of a space where she can go for some privacy or quiet time if she wants it.
Make a space for her at the table... if everyone has a usual seat and you're going to have to juggle it a bit, maybe do a practice run and set her space the night before she'll actually be there so the other kids will be prepared for the change. Ask the mom for one of her school pictures if you don't already have one, and put it up with the rest of the kids pictures. I think little stuff like that might help. Maybe you can set the tone so that the other kids will get involved with making her feel like part of the family.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.
How gut wrenching. I would seek guidance from a counselor who has experience wih grief counseling and young children. This will be so hard for all of you. Take care of yourselves too.