Kids want BM, SM & BD want to do what is best for the kids (and for them to behave!)
Hello. I am a new SM to this forum and became a member because I desperately need some advice. This will be a long post because I am going to give a good deal of backgroung on my situation.
My DH and I have been together for 7.5 years, married for 4.5. DH has twin almost-12 year old girls. DH was never in a relationship with the girls BM and was 18 (she was in her mid 20s) when she became pregnant. BM also has a 16 year old son and a 5 year old daughter, both with different fathers. BM had majority custody of all four kids until 3.5 years ago. At that time SD121 (SD121 and SD122 since they are both 12) saw a video in school about good-touch bad-touch and then proceeded to tell a school counselor that her SD had touched her inappropriately. Neither I nor DH found out about these accusations until several weeks later when BM called and told us about it. We were ordered by the courts to not let SD121 or SD122 speak to their mother or have any contact with her for over 6 months. We were also not allowed to discuss with them why they were taken from their mother for almost 2 years.
Long story short, BM initially lost custody of all 4 kids for failure to protect. Her son went to live (and still lives with his father) several states away, her youngest daughter was placed with a relative of BM, and SD121 and SD122 were placed with DH. After a year or so the youngest daughter was returned to BM but not other kids. The courts FORCED BM to divorce her husband by telling her that if she did not then she would lose rights to all children. The abuse charges were dropped as SD121 recanted her story and has remained insistent that she said what she did about her SD because he used to beat her brother with a belt and she wanted to get him into trouble. SD121 and SD122 continue to live with me and DH and BM is ordered to pay child support. DH has full physical custody and joint legal custody.
Over the last (approximately) 3 years, BM has seen SDs maybe 6 times. She calls them once per week even though we have told her many times she can call whenever she wants. She only asks to get them on holidays and for family reunions (when she can show them off). She has payed $70 in child support in 3 years (this does not matter to us except that when she goes a period of time without paying then FOC will issue a show cause order and then a bench warrant for her arrest, and if she has a warrant then we will not allow the kids to go with her for their own safety in case she is arrested). When BM does make her weekly phone call she constantly tells the kids that she will have them move back with her (she lives 180 miles away from us) as soon as she gets a bigger house, or that when they move back with her she will put them in a fancy dancing school, or some other story that she either has no control over or cannot make happen.
BM has never worked since I have been with DH and has always counted on a man to provide for her. Even now she gets alimony from her ex. She has instilled these values in the kids (when they first moved in with us SD122 made several comments that she if she was ever going to live on her own when she was an adult she would need to find a man first. She also made derogetory comments towards people of other races). When she did have custody of the kids she was not abusive, but was what I can best describe as borderline neglectful. She would smoke cigarettes while the kids were sitting on her lap and then wonder why they kept getting ear infections. She would have them make their own dinner all of the time while she stayed in her bedroom for half the day. BM always bought the kids lots of toys and junk food, but never really spent any time with them. They had family movie night a lot, which consisted of her making malts for the kids, putting them in front of the tv, and then going off with her husband. When the kids moved in with us they had over 30 missing homework assignments. In third grade! BM also never put them into sports, clubs, etc. DH and I lived too far away to offer tranportation for these events and she would tell the kids that they could not do soccer, dance, etc. because DH would not pay for it. This was never the truth as DH was willing to do anything for the kids.
Since the kids have been with us they are both getting all As and Bs in school, participate in any activity they want as long as they can keep up their grades (soccer, band, basketball, softball, student council, recycling club, etc.), have learned how to cook, work with wood, and do other household tasks, and go to friends houses and have friends over. We do things together as a family at least a few times a month, whether it be cards, board games, reading together, movies, hiking, picnics, etc. DH and I have both had to learn to be parents as prior to their removal from BM we only got them on weekends and a few weeks in the summer, so it has been a learning experience for us and I am not claiming that we are perfect. We have overreacted to small missteps, begged each other to go to practice so the other one could stay in bed and hide for a while, worked later hours and missed fun events, etc. But, in general, I think that we are doing a pretty good job.
So, here are the reasons for this post:
1) SD122 blames SD121 for them being taken away from their mother and hates SD121. It does not help that SD121 does have a natural tendency to be better at most things than SD122. Grades, music, sports, making friends, SD121 beats out SD122. This, combined with I don't know what (age, hormones, not seeing BM very much, ???) has resulted in SD122 acting out quite a bit at school and with other adults that are supposed to be supervising her. I'm not talking about issues half as severe as some others I have read on other posts (I definetely feel for you guys/gals!), but still SD122 is disruptive, snotty, and refuses to listen or learn. She also LIES A LOT, not just to other adults but to me and DH as well. This behavior has been going on for years and we have tried everything we could think of to get it to stop to no avail. She has also tried to set up my 5 year old nephew by: SD122 and SD121 stayed at my nephews house one night. The next day SD122 claimed that her bra was missing out of her bag and then later stated that she found it in nephews play chest and that he must have taken it. This was a lie. She has tried to accuse him of other things as well and my sister no longer wants her at her house. She has no issue with SD121 at all. Any thoughts on working with these behaviors? SD122 did two years of counseling after she was removed from her BM. Also her BM told me that she has had depression and anxiety since she was a teenager and is still in counseling for this. BMs proposed solution (I was so desparate I called and asked her deluded advice) is to split the kids up, for her to take SD122 and for SD121 to stay with us. She claims that she cannot have both kids living with her but that she could get bunkbeds and have SD122 share a room with her 5 year old half sister. (I personally think that the only reason she wants SD122 is so she would have someone to watch the 5 year old and so she would not be charged child support).
2) Kind of goes along with the end of the post under 1). Both SD121 and SD122 want to live with their BM. I understand that a girl wants to live with their mother but this does hurt me. Their mom is a piece of crap and I feel that I am doing everything I can to make sure the kids have a good life. We can spend an entire week doing great stuff together and they do not remember any of it at all. All they remember is that they got to watch 3 movies when they last went to their BMs house 4 months ago. It makes me and DH feel like crap. No, this is not about us, but I am trying to be honest and it is not like I can share these feelings with others without looking selfish. I digress: SD121 used to tell us (we do not ask this question, they volunteer it) that she wanted to live with DH, and SD122 has always said that she wants to live with BM. One weekend last July the kids went to their BMs for the first time in 8 months and when they returned both kids began saying that they wanted to live with BM. BM is telling them lies (see above) and making it sound as if she can just have them back with her whenever she wants! Even now when they go to visit her she pawns them off on another relative for half of their visit. They can be down there for a weekend and she only actually spends 1 entire day with them. DH and I feel that the kids are better off living with use, but they both want to live with mom. SD122 is exhibiting numerous behavior problems and this is now interferring with my family gatherings that include my nephew. BM says that her therapist thinks splitting the kids up would be good for them and that she wants to take SD122 and have her share a room with a 5 year old. So, what do we do?
Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, I need it!
Frustrated, stressed, confused