This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Please help(17 Posts)
OK..so I am 32 years old and have been with my husband for over 6 years, married for 2. I have two wonderful step daughters who are 11 and 13. I get along great with their mom and we have them close to 50%of the time.
Although, I love these girls like my own and do so much for them, I still feel the need to have a child of my own. I have always wanted to be a mother, and even though I feel like one, it becomes very painful on days like mother’s day when the girl’s are spending time with their mother and making her mother’s day cards etc and I’m not really included. Last mother’s day I spent partially in tears because I didn’t hear from them except one happy mother’s day text late at night from the oldest, which happened after my emotional episode.
I go to softball tournaments, chauffeur them around, play games with them and take them out to dinner and have girl’s days with them. I am super involved.
Another part of the history…i have poly cystic ovaries and very likely am not physically able to have my own kids, and even if I was, I’m also a late onset type 1 diab etic and would be a very high risk pregnancy. For all those reasons, my husband and I have decided (since we don’t have 30-50 thousand dollars to privately adopt) to foster 1-2 little boys and hope to be able to adopt.
We have finally bought a house with the room and settled in and started the process which has being going on for several months.
The last few days, the youngest step daughter who has always been a daddy’s girl and who he has always had a soft spot for when it comes to discipline etc… has started having these 1-2 hour melt downs about how she doesn’t want a foster kid and how we aren’t going to have enough time to spend with her etc…
We have tried reasoning with her about how we will make time for all of our kids and they will be a part of the family and we al do things together…we have tried telling her it’s normal to feel this way to an extent but that she should just give it a chance, we have tried telling her how we will be helping out a child who has gone through trauma…we have tried it all…she won’t listen to reason and even after she calms down and seems okay with everything..she has the same melt down later or the next day.
So my husband who is usually a pretty amazing guy..is so worried about how his going to affect her…he is having second thoughts..says he will try it but then says if it affects her, he won’t continue. I have told him it doesn’t work that way. You just don’t give a child back and play with their life like that.
I asked him if he would have me abort the baby if I was pregnant and she was acting like this. He says it’s not the same, but to me..it is. This fostering process is my pregnancy. This is my only shot at having a child of my own who can call me mom. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to not have any children of his own. It’s exactly the same.
We both become so upset when discussing it. I end up in tears, and he tells me that he can’t sacrifice his child’s well being to take in a foster child he doesn’t even know yet. He says that if this ended up causing damage to her, he would end up resenting me and it would hurt our marriage. I tell him that if I can’t have a child , which is the one thing I’ve always wanted more than anything, I would mean to but would probably resent him and my step daughter, atleast subconsciously.
I get where he’s coming from, but to me this is not negotiable. I honestly think once we get a foster child she will be fine. If she needs some counseling she can get some counseling. I don’t want to cause her any pain either but this is just a jealous child who is scared of sharing her daddy and me. The reaction may be a little extreme, but the emotions are perfectly common. She has always been overly emotional.
I don’t know where to go from here, because every time we try to discuss it, we get nowhere.Like
I’m not sure it’s your step daughter that needs the counselling. I’ve been a step mum for years, never expected anything on mother’s day. I’m not their mum.
You are way over invested in them.
You can’t bully your partner into fostering. Because that’s wha5 you are doing. Strongly suggest you take a step back and look at your options.
I'm a stepmum, who can't have children of my own.
We looked into adopting and completed the course, it was my decision to stop the process because of the potential impact on my two stepchildren. They would have struggled to cope with a child liv8ng with their dad full time, and I didn't want to add to their struggles (being a child of divorced parents can't be easy).
I think you need to put the children's feeling before your own, you have plenty of time to foster in the future, focus on your stepchildren now.
(Just an aside, I've been a stepmum for 11 years and never once received anything on Mother's Day - I'm not their mum).
it becomes very painful on days like mother’s day when the girl’s are spending time with their mother and making her mother’s day cards etc and I’m not really included
you are not included because you are not their mother
This fostering process is my pregnancy. This is my only shot at having a child of my own who can call me mom
foster children don't call you mum.
she won’t listen to reason and even after she calms down and seems okay with everything.
to be honest, I think you are the one who won't listen to reason. Your step daughter seems to have a far more realistic understanding of fostering than you do.
Of course it will impact on her hugely.
I am a foster carer, and I think you have very unrealistic expectations of fostering. The child does not become yours, ever. Even if you get special guardianship, the child is not yours. Fostering is massively disruptive to a family.
Fostering is best regarded as a career, it can be an amazing thing to do, but you have to keep in mind that you are doing a job, and have no right to expect anything back from your "customer" - not love, not communication, not appreciation, nothing. Of course sometimes you do, but it is your job to love and expect nothing in return. So similar to step parenting in that respect, except far more so.
I also think your diabetes will be as much of an issue with fostering as it would be with having your own child.
I am very sorry you can't have children. Maybe you would be a brilliant foster carer, and make a huge difference to the lives of many children, but your step daughter is right, now is not the time for that, very unfair on the children already in the family, if they are frightened by the prospect
Fostering is different from a pregnancy, the social worker takes into account the whole family not just the foster parents. They would see that the dd is struggling with it themselves.
Your husband also has to be 100% on board, I'm so sorry for what you are going through. But you have time, are there age restrictions on fostering where you are?
Please don’t do this to your SC.
Fostering is not the same as having your own child. You are putting too weighty expectations on your foster children. You are there to do a job for them, they are not there to do a job for you.
I don't know about diabietes but my sister in law who has been diagnosed with poly cystic ovaries is now expecting...
As for your DH and SD...I disagree that you are "overly invested", I think you sound lovely and your DH and SDs are lucky to have you.
As for you desire for your own child-totally normal..
I think if I were you I would try for my own child and explore all options before taking on fostering..If that definitely fails and you want to foster I would wait. 11 is still young. In 5 years she will be easier..at 16/17 her focus is likely to go towards friends/boyfriends rathar than parents..
Hi @Caity1213 - firstly I'm sorry for what you're going through.
I'm a dm & a sm & honestly, you really do need to take a step back here. You should expect your dsds to treat you with kindness & respect but you should never expect them to treat you like a second mum. If they do, that's fantastic, but if they don't that's their prerogative - you're not their mum & expecting them to do so is too much pressure for all concerned.
You sound so desperate to have a child of your own that you're grasping at straws - the latest one being fostering. Fostering is not adoption & most foster carers I know have to say goodbye to foster kids time after time - that's the nature of fostering. Are you really prepared to do that? Fostering is a very tough job & a marriage & home really needs to be solid & stable for it to reach any level of success.
I also think your dsd is behaving in a totally understandable way & I really don't think you can expect her to go along with your decision. Kids find it hard enough to get their heads around step or half siblings living ft with their dads when they don't, & imo kids would find it truly bewildering that a child who is not even legally yours would get to live with their dad ft when they don't. Can you honestly not see where the kid is coming from & the potential for disaster this situation has?
Your dp is being a really good dad & I think you should respect his wishes & stop the fostering process.
I know this is hard & is not what you want to hear but that's how it is.
As another poster suggested it would be an idea to get some counseling for yourself & try to get to the root of why having/not having a child has become such a big issue for you.
Yes I have kids & it's all very well for me to talk - but I have sisters & friends who are childless & not by choice & they are all leading happy, fulfilling lives in acceptance that having children was just not in the cards for them.
I also have friends with pcos who have successfully conceived & diabetes can be managed successfully through diet, exercise & meds.
Listen to your dh & give yourself the headspace counseling will provide before heading down a road that could blow your marriage apart.
It sounds like adoption may be better suited for you than fostering as with adoption they do become your own child and that’s what you’re looking for.
It’s not wrong for you to want a child of your own. If that is what you want and your husband doesn’t then it might be that you have to break up as you can’t force him to adopt a child and he can’t force you to live childless. Both would lead to frustration and resentment.
Maybe some counselling to work out what you do want?
I'm not sure that fostering will be giving you a child of your own who will call you Mum, they will already have parents who they may have contact with or potentially be returned to at some stage. Going into fostering with the hope of getting your own child doesn't sound healthy, and could be a path of great pain to you if it doesn't work out how you want. It is also an unfair burden to place on vulnerable young children, they aren't there to meet your needs.
Also, the whole household needs to be on board and it wouldn't be fair on children who have already had disrupted lives to be faced with a reluctant foster father or resentful foster siblings. Your husband is absolutely right to prioritize his existing children over hypothetical ones.
You are not wrong to want a child but I think that you are totally underestimating the effects on you dsd. This isn't like having a healthy baby join the family. The foster child will end up with more attention than a baby would and she would have to tolerate other possible effects of the foster child's trauma like behavioral and sleep issues.
Have you had counseling? What will you do if you don't bond with the foster child? How will you cope when you probably have to give them up? Is it possible that the pain you feel now will be worse? Foster children aren't encouraged to call their foster mum "mum"
Out of interest, is there a reason why you have requested a male rather than female foster child? Is it possible that dsd would prefer a girl to boy?
You sound like you are trying hard with your step daughters however you are not their mum. I would never expect my ds to do for his stepmum what you are asking for. It’s his step mum, I am mum.
Likewise with a foster child you will not be mum. They will have their own parents. So please don’t go into it expecting that type of relationship.
I have to agree with a pp that your dad seems more clued up on the realities than you do. I had 3 friends at school who’s parents were foster carers and it really affected them.
I'm not sure you fully understand the nature of foster parenting. It's the nature of the arrangement that foster children are not your own children and may be move on, or back to their birth parents, after a relatively short time.
Bear in mind also that if you put this on ice now you could probably revisit fostering in, say, five years' time.
Re Mother's day and your feelings: I understand you OP and disagree with many of the PPs who say you are expecting too much on mother's day.
Our DCs and SDCs give a card and a small gift to their parents AND step-parents for both mother's and father's day. If they don't see the on the official day, they give the gifts the next time they see them. I think that's entirely appropriate. And I would be disappointed in them, for myself, and for the other adults in their lives, if they didn't. The point is for children to show a little appreciation to those who love and care for them as parents, or LIKE parents.
I know that I love, care, wash, clean, feed, entertain, chauffeur, help, cheer, teach, settle, comfort, celebrate birthdays/xmas/easter, give pocket money, holiday, re-organise work, purchase clothes and stuff, (plus lots more) for my DCs AND my SDCs. So does DP. So do the children's other parents - so why wouldn't DCs and SDCs recognise that? It's not an occasion to say no more than thanks for my genetic inheritance.
Giving a card is a simple and kind way to do that. Cards are available that say "like a Dad/mum" or "special dad/mum", or simply "Happy Father's/Mother's Day" and then you insert "step" with a pen. It's easy.
Re adding a child to the family:
Realistically a new sibling can be one of the most disruptive events in a child's life. It can bring years and years of rivalry. Your DP is NBU to decide against another child when his existing child/ren has made plain her current feelings and you are NBU to want a child for whom you would be the primary mum/carer. And your DSD is NBU for not wanting a sibling who will live full time with her DF when she can't. She is correct that there will be less time, attention and living space for her, and family dynamics will be different with a younger child in the house. Fostering/adopting is likely to be harder and more disruptive than a newborn because the foster/adopted child is likely to have additional emotional challenges.
Are you totally sure you can't have children? Many women with pco do end up pregnant especially with the help of drugs and many women with type 1 diabetes do to. Why aren't you considering at least trying this option?
If your husband isn't 100% on board, then it's highly unlikely you'll be approved to foster.
It's a terribly hard situation, but the existing children of the family have to come first. If you feel she would benefit from counselling, by all mean go ahead - but before you commit to any fostering, not afterwards.
The way you are going - insisting on this being non-negotiable - is going to tear your family apart.