Thursday, September 26, 2013

How I Became a Step Pt.4

On May 18, 2013 I became a wife and added one more title to my list of steps. The dreaded stepmother title. After the heartache I experienced in my own step family I never in a million years would have thought that one day I would end up with stepchildren of my own. But life has a funny way of sneaking up on you.

When I met my (now) stepdaughter in November of 2010, I had been dating her father for five months. By this time there was no doubt in my mind that her daddy would one day be my husband. So this meeting was especially important. I was meeting my future stepdaughter. I would love to say that we hit it off immediately but that would be a lie. During that first meeting she was sweet and warm and accepting. But I couldn't make myself reach out. Instead I spent that first day sitting on the sidelines, observing father and daughter interacting, doing my best to not intrude. And while I didn't feel like the encounter was a knock out success, I felt confident that I would have plenty of time to get to know this child and counted it as a win for having taken the step in meeting her.

January 1, 2011 we got to see her again to celebrate a belated Christmas. This time I made more of an effort to laugh and play and let her get to feel more comfortable with me. I was sure that this was the start of regular visits. By this time, her daddy and I lived together in a two bedroom, two bath apartment. So we spent part of the visit discussing how she wanted to decorate her bedroom. When she left I felt like we were on the path to creating our family.

The next several months went by with sporadic telephone contact from her. For various reasons my (then) boyfriend had never obtained a physical custody agreement with her mother. In July 2011 (after close to 7 months of not seeing her) my boyfriend finally filed for joint legal and physical custody of his daughter.  In August we received back notification that her mother responded by hiring a lawyer and entering a motion to dismiss the case. We immediately responded to the motion to dismiss and requested a court hearing  to have at very minimum temporary orders established. We also decided that we would need to hire a lawyer to help us proceed. We were granted a hearing with a family court judge to be held in March 2012. The rest of the year drug on and was a highly stressful time for us.

My boyfriend wouldn't get to see his daughter again in the year 2011.

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