A little overwhelmed
I just joined, so hi everyone! I'm a mom of two (a 3 year old boy and a 18 month girl), and a stepmom to a 14 year old girl and a 9 year old boy. The 14 year old lives with her mom and we see her every once in a while. The boy was just (literally) thrown into our lives last week, and turned our world upside down.
His mom passed away last year, and his grandfather passed away 5 months after that. This poor boy is in a very bad situation. His mom use to severally abuse him, and kept him sheltered. He has DiGeorge syndrome, which I'm still learning about. He's currently living with his grandmother, who is his grandfathers second wife, and doesn't want custody. She is living in a hotel, and drags him everywhere with her. For example, she works all day and late into the night (like past midnight) driving around town, with him in her back seat. He also hasn't been in school for the past year, so he is behind. We will be taking complete custody of him, and are just starting the process. My husband wasn't on the birth certificate, and had been pushed away by the mother. So this is going to be a tough process. Technically no one has custody of this kid, so he is a kid of the state, and I don't even know where to start. All I know is the boy needs to get out of the living situation he is in now.
I feel awful for this poor boy. But to be honest, I'm so overwhelmed, I feel like our lives are being turned upside down. We had finally gotten to a good place in our lives. We just bought our first house, I finally got a job (first time going back to work after having my kids), and we were finally starting to save some money. Now, I'm not sure how we are even gonna afford the major help this poor kid needs. I feel absolutely guilty because part of me doesn't want him to move into our house. I know it's wrong to feel that way, but I can't help it. I love my life the way it is, and I don't know if my mental health will survive what it will take to take care of this little boy. He is 9 and he can't speak very well. He will need a hearing aid as well, and he needs some kind of surgery (not sure what, that's what the grandmother said). My mental health hasn't been great, I had some major ppd after my daughter was born, and I was just staring to feel better. Now I feel less like myself than ever before. I have thought of suicide, but the only thing that changed my mind was my kids. I could never do that to them, and I know I will never. I just feel lost and very alone. I don't have many friends so I don't have anyone to really talk to about any of this. I saw this site, and I figured.. why not. Maybe yall could understand in some way. I reached out to a mom group on Facebook, and got a lot of hate over it, so I"m sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.
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Of course you are overwhelmed!
Don't even apologize for being overwhelmed, anybody would be. Something would be wrong if you didn't perceive the big challenges ahead.
I googled DiGeorge syndrome and its a chromosomal disorder that can affect multiple organs. This poor kid has been dealt a tough hand but the fact he's survived this far is positive. He's going to need lots of evaluation and medical care.
I had 3 kids move in unexpectedly and it was a life-changing trip but they were all healthy and the 2 kids already here were school age, not little ones like you have.
I was in counseling when my 3 SKs moved in and it was the only thing that saved me. With the challenge ahead, especially since you've already experienced depression, I'd sincerely recommend it. You need and deserve all the help you can line up. A mature, experienced counselor can help guide and advise you. It was invaluable for me to get impartial, outside input about my situation.
I'm wishIng and hoping for your best possible outcome. I hope you'll keep us all updated. After all the trauma I went thru, looking back, its the most important thing I did in my life. Best wishes to you, ssrow.
Of course, you are
Of course, you are overwhelmed. What is happening is overwhelming.
One step at a time. That's all you can do.
If this child is currently a 'kid of the state', the educational neglect should be enough for him to be removed from his current caregiver. Even if DH isn't on the birth certificate, if he had contact with the child while mom was alive, he could try to get himself named fictive kin for now, and take the boy in now. DH should get himself a lawyer to help guide him through the process (and hopefully speed things up).
If BM worked, there should be Social Security benefits available to help out monetarily.
This is a huge life event. Get yourself into counseling. As JRI said outside, impartial advice is invaluable. (And DH should set up counseling for his son also. He is overwhelmed with change too.)
It is going to be a rough road ahead. Come back to vent whenever you need.
Do not give a single thought
Do not give a single thought to the hateful facebook moms. They have no idea what it's like to be in a high conflict step situation. I had no idea either, despite being divorced with kids myself and having dated a guy with 3 young kids for 3 years. NOTHING prepares you for dealing with a step situation involving mental illness, personality disorders, drug addiction, and severe dysfunction. The feelings of powerlessness and despair. The feeling that you should love people you don't, and that you are a bad person for not. The endless pit of need that arises when parents don't do their god damn jobs. Please get counseling for yourself and couples counseling. I'm sorry you are going through this.
I’m surprised that you dubbed your post as ‘a little overwhelmed!’ In view of your circumstances; two very young children, postpartum depression, a new job and the addition to your family of a seriously ailing step-son (JRI, I also Googled ‘DiGeorge syndrome', eeeeek!), I’m surprised that you’re able to sit up and take nourishment, let alone cope with the stress that you must be suffering.
As far as those judgemental bitches on FB are concerned, they are welcome to live their perfect little lives and feel superior to those of us who are faced with the kind of upheaval going on at Chez ssrow. Perhaps they’ll remember their unhelpful, nasty comments when the shit hits their personal fans.
Please, try to remember that your stepson is exactly that; your STEPson, not your biological child, and the majority of his care is your husband’s responsibility. Any nurturing or financial support that you provide for the boy should be strictly regarded as a favour to your husband, rather than an obligation. That reality needs to be made clear to your partner before his child steps foot into your home.
You seem like a vulnerable young woman and I suspect that you’re also an empath. It’s easy for people to take advantage of and manipulate such females and you need to stick up for yourself at the starting gate. As my sainted Nana used to say, “Begin as You Mean to Go On!"
Hon, you are going to need all the help that you can get with so much on your plate! Do you have family nearby that might take off some pressure by babysitting your youngsters when you need a break?
JRI, notarelative and Rumple have suggested that you contact a therapist and I’m in complete agreement. When things got rocky in my own step situation, my husband and I benefitted tremendously from the help of a family counsellor; he was a godsend!
Be kind to yourself and, again, please try not to assume too many of your husband’s parental duties where his son is concerned. ❤️
Don't beat yourself up about
Don't beat yourself up about having these doubts and feeling overwhelmed- anyone would feel the same way!
My heart breaks for your SS, he has been through so much. I hope your DH can take custody soon before he suffers anymore. My SS23 is Autistic, and I know that isn't the same, but I have dealt with an incredible amount of appointments, specialists, etc. over the years. It is a lot sometimes. The behaviors that I have had to correct and the structure I had to provide has been hard- but oh so worth it!
I was lucky that BM is out of the pictures and my DH is nothing but supportive of me and always backs me up. Those are the 2 biggest keys to successful step parenting -IMHO of course. Thankfully you won't be undermined by BM constantly, but you and your DH need to make sure you are 100% on the same parenting page.
Give both yourself and your SS some grace during this transition. You aren't going to get it all right, right away. That's ok. You will find your rhythm and I have faith that with a heart like yours everything will work out in the end.
Proper medical care and support are going to be the #1 priorities. Hopefully you and your DH also have a good family support system for breaks and taking time for your marriage in all of this too. Don't forget to take time for each other to connect and talk about anything OTHER than the kids!
You are in the right place. Leave those mom-group haters in your almighty dust, they will have their own way of looking at things.
You are feeling overwhelmed because you are dealing with A LOT! I cannot imagine how horrible this SS has been treated on top of his other challenges. But you really do need to have people to lean on during this time. Therapists, friends, famiily. Gather your team together its going to be a wile ride. Dont think you have to do this all on your own.
We are here!
I am so sorry you are having to go through this. Ignore those mom groups. They are bunch of vipers anyway.
Welcome to Steptalk - where we all live in REALITY. Its not all roses and donuts over here, but we are tough and we get through it with the help of our friends. LOL.
No wonder you are overwhelmed. THAT is a LOT to deal with. I would have a talk with your husband and let him know how you feel. Maybe you two can find a way to lessen the load on you. Also, he may be feeling the same way, except for some guilt about his son going through all this too.
You might set a timeline and goals that you want stepson to reach by certain times. You could have a family talk and let him know you guys are there for him, but he also has expectations and rules he needs to follow when in your home. Kids need to know what is expected of them, especially stepkids who are dealing with so much change. Your husband should be the primary discliplinarian with him, but he should always be expected to listen to you and respect you.
My saving grace as a stepmom has been a great therapist, and my ability to tell my DH to go F himself, when he is not being supportive. LOL. I am slow to anger, but once I get good and pissed off, he knows he is in for it.
As adoptive parents to a ward of the State
you will likely be elegiable to significant State social resources. Education benefits, medical benefits, financial benefits, therapy benefits, group home residence/supervised living benefits when he becomes an adult, etc......
I am not sure how DH being the biodad will play, though since the boy had to be adopted rfrom the State rather than just moving in with his dad you very well may be elegiable for help and support.
We have very close friends who have adopted two children out of the State system. The support from the State, schools, etc... has been extensive. I hope you and DH get the same for your SS.
Regardless of the history of this boy's tragic earlier years, set the standards of age appropriate behavior for your home and hold him accountable to those standards while giving him as much support and help available. As tragic as his past is, he cannot be allowed to ruin your family or ruin the lives of your young children.
You will not hurt anyone's feelings here. SKids, even well behaved SKids without major issues are invaders in the homes and families of SParents in many cases at some level.
I hope that you find this a welcoming place to vent, contribute, and pick up some good advice and perspective from others who are living the dream of the blended family adventure.
Take care of your babies, take care of your family, and take care of you.
Not on Birth Certificate?
Has there been a paternity test? If not, I think that's step #1.