My husband moved moved to America from England 6 years ago to live with me. He has a 12 year old daughter who resides with her mother back in the UK. This past year, my husbands ex allowed his daughter to travel to America to stay with us, previously, both my husband and I would make arrangements to spend time with his daughter.
Sadly our involvement with his daughter is little more then a checkbook and a chat buddy online for most the year. This summer we aren't going to have the pleasure of having his daughter come stay with us because she has landed a lead role in a summer production. So we are hoping to have her stay with us this Christmas.
This past week, we were asked to provide financial support to send his daughter on an exchange program to Germany, just a few months prior to her trip to the States. This sounded exciting, and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for his daughter to meet other children, be exposed to different cultures and practice her German which she is currently learning.
After asking for more details, the cost is minimal. It might deter from how much we spend on her at Christmas time, but if this is something she'd like to do, it's definitely worth considering.
The house my husband's ex wife maintains is a mess. She has medical issues, and is also a packrat. It took years before she would allow me into the house, due to it's condition being too embarrassing for her. For many years I would stand outside the front door whilst my husband would pick up his daughter when we would pick her up from her mums.
In the foyer, there is a narrow path one has to carefully walk through in order to avoid the newspapers, boxes, and other rubbish piled high all around the house. There are two couches I believe in the livingroom, however, they are typically so buried under objects (I've never stayed long enough nor looked at the mess thoroughly) that there is no seating for company.
The kitchen counter is covered in dirty dishes, the oven doesn't work. Often my step-daughter is having to prepare her own ready meals in the microwave come tea time. And I've not been allowed upstairs to know fully the state of those rooms, however, from what I've gathered, they are even worse.
Instead of cleaning her room, my step-daughter has been allowed to move into her brothers room when he moved out of the house. Her old bed is falling apart, and is not usable.
Would it be right to encourage my step daughter to become involved in this program, when it would result in a German Exchange student having to live in these conditions as well?
I don't like that my step daughter has to live in these conditions but unfortunately my husband has little rights. Even when we lived in England, the law was in favor of the mother's rights. When I inquired where the student would stay, my step daughter said the child could have her bed and she would sleep on the "comfy" floor. This is when I learned of the state her old bedroom is in. She said it wouldn't be worth cleaning up the room, due to the bed being broken.
But I don't think anyone should be subjected to this living condition, and I feel terrible that I don't want to support her in this, as I believe in the end, it will only lead to embarrassment and drama she might not foresee.
I don't want to be the evil step mother, but I also don't want to subject some innocent German student to such a lifestyle, however brief.
Any advice on how to handle this or what to do would be greatly appreciated.