step child adjustment - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > step child adjustment
clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 03:07 PM 06-09-2013
hi, this is my first time posting in this area of the forums. DH and I have been married for 2.5 years and are about to TTC our first child. this plan has been set up for a long time and I'm not looking to delay it, but I have a worry. DH has a 5 yr old son. we have been together since the kid was a baby; I have never met him and DH hasn't seen him since he was a month old. he lives with other relatives he believes are his parents, and doesn't know we exist. birth mom wanted us to leave it alone, and for a long time we did. then she died. we have spoken to a lawyer who says we have no chance at custody now, because we waited too long; but we could try for visitation. every time we've talked about doing that, we've run into financial or transportation problems that forced us to delay. my worry is, I know that if we do succeed in getting time with him, it's going to be traumatic for him just because his life is a lie. a friend of mine went thro this and told me she wishes her birth parents had stayed out of the picture. but it's painful for us, not being able to have a connection with him... anyway my worry is, will it be even harder for him if we have a child before we succeed in meeting him. I've heard horror stories about kids coming into a family out of birth order. I don't know if that applies, since he is already a member of our family, he just doesn't know it. how upset would you be if you found out you had been kept away from your real family? (note - the relatives aren't actual blood relatives.) would it be worse if you had a younger sibling? would that matter? is it better to just leave it alone, and let him find us when he grows up and sees his birth certificate?

LLQ1011's Avatar LLQ1011 11:12 PM 06-09-2013

Why had he not seen him so long.


To me I would talk with his parents about how they feel about it. I agree with your friend in that it could really be a terrible thing especially if you fight for visitation but then cannot make it or keep at it. Telling him his parents aren;t his parents and then making him get used to you for a year and then disappearing could cause serious issues for him. Unless your DH really plans on being there until the end of forever with this kid I would leave him be. What does your DH feel? Is he as into the idea of this as you are?

clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 02:56 AM 06-10-2013
we certainly wouldn't want to see him for a while and then disappear! we want a relationship with him. the guardians (I refuse to call them the parents, as legally they are not in any way) do not like us or talk to us. the birth mom didn't want us to rock the boat, but she's gone now. my friend grew up thinking another relative was her mom, then was reclaimed by her birth mom; she was traumatized and wishes she had never found out, even tho she continued to live with her birth mom. it was the shock of finding out she was lied to. I think she was 6 or 7. I can't imagine not wanting to know the truth and have a chance to meet your birth parents, but I didn't have that kind of childhood so it's alien to me.

let me add that DSS was placed with the guardians due to the BM's problems, not because of anything involving DH; and he didnt even find out til the paperwork was signed. BM asked him not to rock the boat, and he thought he was doing the right thing and it would get sorted out later. now we're told that she couldn't legally sign without his permission, but because he didnt act when he found out, the court won't care.
Polliwog's Avatar Polliwog 07:59 AM 06-10-2013
How do you know what the child knows/doesn't know?
clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 08:50 AM 06-10-2013
that's what the birth mom told me before she passed. she had a couple visits with him, but he wasn't aware who she was.
clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 08:54 AM 06-10-2013
I see something else I need to clarify - based on our experience of the guardians, we know they don't want us involved, but we are afraid they are the kind of people who might hurt DSS and say we did it. we really don't want to put him in that position! that's why we don't just sit down with them and hash something out.
grisandole's Avatar grisandole 09:31 PM 06-14-2013

I don't think your legal advice is completely true. Yes, a court may decide that he has no rights. However, he has every right to TRY, and you do not need a lawyer to go and file paperwork. It is damaging for kids not to know the truth about their parents and situation, I really hope that you start the court process asap; hopefully they will appoint a guardian for the child, who will ensure his best interests are met. Good luck!!! 

clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 11:09 PM 06-14-2013
thanks for the input grisandole!
limabean's Avatar limabean 10:16 AM 06-15-2013
Wow, that's really too bad. Your DH abandoned his son because be was told not to rock the boat? And then when you guys have tried to move forward with visitation things like finances and transportation have prevented you? I don't know, your DH doesn't sound very motivated to put in the work necessary to have a relationship with his son.

That said, if you believe the boy's current guardians could hurt him, authorities should be notified. I don't know what else to say.
clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 01:32 PM 06-19-2013
pretty harsh words, limabean. hind sight is 20-20 and he knows he made the wrong decision, but he wanted to keep the peace. as for finances, it doesn't make much sense to apply for visitation if we don't have the money to follow thro. stepson lives over an hour away from us. every time we've gone to apply, either the car has died and we've had to wait months to repair it, or we've lost a job. last time around we lost all our income except me getting unemployment. tbh it feels like we're cursed, or not meant to do this. but then I see DH cry himself to sleep over it, and I know we have to keep trying.
limabean's Avatar limabean 01:57 PM 06-19-2013
I'm sorry for the hardships you guys have suffered, that must be hard.

I guess I'm just coming at it from the standpoint of picturing one of my children being an hour away from me, and believing that there is no obstacle that would prevent me from continuing to try to get to them. My car breaks down, so I get on a bus. I run low on money, but parenting isn't something I'm allowed to opt out of based on finances -- providing for my kids is top priority. To stop trying just wouldn't be an option, so the fact that it's an option for your DH makes me have the same concerns as an earlier poster, wondering if your DH would be there for the long haul if he were to win custody.

I do realize that your DH is used to the status quo and there may be some understandable inertia involved, and comparing the absence of a son he hasn't seen for years to the absence of one of my children who I see daily probably isn't fair.

I read my earlier post and you're right, the wording did sound harsh -- I apologize for that. It didn't sound so abrupt in my head.
clarwyn's Avatar clarwyn 12:05 AM 06-20-2013
thanks for the apology. we run up against dad-haters a lot, so I may have knee-jerked a little too. sorry. DH is in it for the long haul, tbh the reason he didnt rock the boat is because he was still hoping to put their family back together. he grew up in a broken home, with his dad paying child support even tho he had the larger share of custody. DH would have done anything to keep his family together. he also doesn't trust the court after everything he went thro with his own parents, so it made a lot more sense to try to fix things the other way. obviously we're playing a different ball game now, and he's struggling to figure out the rules of this game, but he's serious about it.