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How do we manage this?

Started by joni, Jan 12, 2004, 08:59:03 AM

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It's the same old story I've seen many times here. I have a beautiful, 6 y.o. SD. SD lives in NY, we're in IL. We see her two weekends a month plus extended time at the holidays, she flies in.

SD is a sensitive and emotional child. She is very bonded with us. It's my belief that the child is emotionally and at times, physically abused by her mom. The BM is emotionally checked out on this child. The child is basically left in the care of maternal grandparents, who they live with. Of course, whenever we take her to court, she's mother of the year.

The child does not want to go home at the end of visitation. She hates her school, last week she faked being sick for four days. She says she's bored and lonely at home.

To challenge custody would bankrupt us. We're in the hole every month just paying child support and property settlement from the divorce. I know challenging custody would entail psych eval's, witnesses and a long court experience. BM would fight us tooth and nail.

It's just devastating to listen to her and worse to have to send her back. How do you get through this?

Dr. D

Dear Step Mom,

You sound very bonded to your SD and very concerned about her. You might try getting her into counseling while she is with you.  (Your insurance might pay for this).  This will give her the opportunity to build trust with a person not directly involved (i.e. she won't feel as though she is betraying either parent), and you might learn a lot.  If the situation worsens, you will have a therapist with some documentation and you might proceed from your end, (when she is in your care).   Start there and move from what you learn.