I just found out my boyfriend has a daughter...
So I have been dating my boyfriend for a year now, and recently I found out he has a one year old daughter from a FLING he had two years ago. He found out 2 months ago as well from a paternity test. There is no ex wife or girlfriend, she is an ex fling with a very sketchy past. For a year she had this baby then gave her up to the father of her OTHER child because that man cut her off financially and she had no other choice. Now she is in the care of the state. Originally my boyfriend wanted her to be adopted. But then once he met her he started to have a change of heart. He is 23 and just out of college. The big change happened when the birth mother came around and said she wants her back. My boyfriend DOES NOT want his child in the care of an un-fit and irresponsible 28 year old! Therefore the two parents are being ordered by the courts to follow a re-integration plan of 6 months where they each have to meet certain criteria in order to be allowed to parent the little girl.
My boyfriend has met most of the criteria and just has to maintain it such as a safe car, stable living situation, good job (he's an accountant and has his masters of accounting), go to parenting classes, etc. Things he does naturally and responsibly (will do the parenting class in the future). The birth mom on the other hand.....has no car, no home, no job, has a history of stripping, has abused prescription drugs, left her child in the care of another man, and seems all around UN-FIT. I am just worried the courts won't see all this. (The state I live in DOES NOT favor the mother any more by the way)
To get to the meat of my question.....
There are two scenerios that I believe can happen:
1. She fails, he gets the kid full custody and can move around where ever he wants.
2. She succeeds, they get joint custody and he is tied to the mother and I don't know if he can leave the state with the child ever unless the mother gives consent.
MY issue: I am finishing college and just found out about this. I am from another state 7 hours away with all my family members there who support me in my decision to stay with him or not. I want to move back someday in the next 5 years. I am a VERY strong willed person with a huge compassionate heart, but I do NOT ignore my own needs and goals. I have the potential, if I stay with this man and get married, and be this little girls step mom. I have seen what kind of man he is through this whole thing, and I am falling in love with him all over again. He is much stronger than I ever knew, and much more loving to children than I ever knew. I can see how he would be with our own children and its exactly what I want out of a father of my children. Our relationship is stronger, now very transparent. He regrets this fling he had and wishes he could take it back, but cant. He has mentioned he wishes I were the mother because he knows I would do a much better job.
....But if I stay with him, there won't be that few years before engagement of just "us" time...then when we get married we will have a little girl, I will be a mom (Sort of) right away. I don't know what to do here. I can see myself handling it all very well and being very strong through this and our marraige could be one of the strongest because what we have been through at such a young age and the love and support we have for each other.
....But also, what about the ease of a different relationship that doesn't have this kind of baggage? And what about this biological mother? My boyfriend never wants to deal with her, he wants full custody and thats very possible it could work out that way. But she could also make his life a living hell. It's still very early to tell.
Also, the step mom shoes are very hard to fill (I have one and my mother is one herself). However, I have already met the little girl, so she would know me practically her whole life if we stayed together. I have to admit, I am already in love with his little girl...and seeing her with her daddy is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
SO! Any advice on what I'm getting myself into? I hope you could follow my story...it's even more complicated than I just stated. Believe me.