I've lurked for a while and finally want to introduce myself.
I've been married for 7 years. I have a SS who is 12 and biological children who are 4 and 2. We have had custody of SS for 4 rocky years.
Bio-mom lives more than 1,000 miles away and still manages to interfere with our day to day lives. She asked us to take custody after several suspensions during SS 2nd grade year. Apparently, that is when him misbehaving no longer was cute. Prior to that, I was a horrible person for subjecting her child to rules and bedtimes in my home. The arrangement works well for her because she is still able to be her child's best friend and he's turning out to be a decent kid because I get to play the evil stepmother role.
In the 4 years we have had custody, we have had our work cut out for us. In addition to all of the pitfalls a child falls into when they are raised in the land no rules, he also had motor delays due to her using television as a babysitter and not having him do the typical active things little boys do. We have finally finished addressing the occupational therapy issues. Currently, our biggest struggle is honesty. He will look you square in the eyes and lie even when he knows he has been caught.
We still deal with his mother telling him we are too hard on him and me getting the brunt of that resistence.
Obviously, there is far more to the story and I'm sure it will come out in time. I can't tell you how happy I am to find a place where I don't have to smile and pretend I love him like my biological children and can finally admit that I fake it with him.