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DH's Stepfamily Situation

Posted by ashley1979 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 18, 10 at 17:41

I don't think I've ever talked about DH's stepfamily situation on here, but, believe me, he knows all-too-well how it feels to be from a broken family.

DH has 2 older siblings that share the same biological father. 40 years ago, DH's mom divorced her husband and married the man DH calls "Dad". FIL legally adopted the three kids, so they all have his last name. 9 years later, MIL & FIL had another child; the only biological child of FIL.

FIL was their "dad"...legally. But he didn't treat them that way, and definitely treated his biological son differently. DH has always known he had a different father, but he was only 5 when the other father gave up his rights and FIL adopted him. So FIL is the ONLY father he has ever known.

And he wasn't a very good father, other than providing necessities. DH told me of his struggles growing up knowing that FIL used to coach a baseball team before he adopted him and his siblings, but never came to any of HIS games. Even after all the kids were grown and had moved away, he mentored a kid that lived in their town. He went to this other boy's games and events. DH never understood.

FIL passed away last week and we went to their town to help with arrangements and the funeral. DH had this internal emotional struggle the entire time he was there. He wrestled with loving his dad, but never feeling like his dad loved him. He wonders why his dad would adopt three kids and take care of them, but treat them as outcasts.

So now there is this rumor that FIL put everything in a trust for MIL to be doled out to MIL by....guess who? Yep FIL's only biological child. Leaving teh other three kids out.

For the record, the three older kids don't want anything as far as a will. What they do want is their very capable mother to be able to manage her own money and do what SHE wants.

If the rumor is true (MIL doesn't know if FIL did something behind her back) it was yet another way to favor his only biological child. FIL knew that MIL would want ALL of them to have an inheritance. So by not giving the money directly to MIL, FIL could ensure all the money went to MIL's care or his biological son.

MIL is still very independent and can live on her her for quite some time. It just doesn't seem fair for her to have to run to her kid every time she wants to do anything.

Plus, it would break her heart (as I'm sure FIL knew) if her were not all treated equally. She is such a kind and wonderful person; making sure EVERYONE felt loved and included....even me & DS. DS was even listed as a grandson in the funeral program.

I am thankful to FIL for giving DH a father. God only knows if he would've had one with his biological father. But FIL was cold to the older kids most of the time they were growing up. So it's been such an emotional tug-of-war dealing with his passing.

For my part, as well as DS, we loved FIL. But we only knew him after he was already 70 and more mellow. I never really experienced the coldness the others talk about, but I did experience the favoritism of the bio child.

I don't know. I just needed to talk. Has anyone else experienced any feelings like this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: DH's Stepfamily Situation

Oh gosh, hon. I don't know what to say. That sounds complicated and terrible, so gut wrenching.

I totally think it sounds terrible if MIL would have to go to her son for money, when she is still quite capable herself. How can anyone verify that this trust thing is, in fact, true?

I feel for your DH. :( i'm not sure what to suggest except pray about it, and maybe some grief counseling if the feelings become unmanageable.

I don't know. It is so hard to know peoples' motivations---why FIL adopted the kids, etc. I mean, I suppose one way to look at it is that he gave them a stable home life and provided financially in ways they would otherwise not have had. But still. That doesn't take away the pain or hurt. :(

(((HUGS))) to your DH.

I know what you mean about including, too. My SS was listed---recently, my grandfather received an honorary degree from a university---in the program as one of the great grandchildren. At my grandparent 65th anniversary, he was also listed.

I was so touched by that--and I am not even his mom. It still meant a lot to me that they would include and recognize him.


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RE: DH's Stepfamily Situation

Given that he adopted the older kids 40 years ago, I might assume he did so out of sense of obligation maybe? Or perhaps for his wife, so the children would all have the same name as illegitimate kids used to be treated differently or having kids with different names was not as acceptable back then? I'm only speculating & it's hard to understand what we are not familiar with so I don't really have any advice. I know my grandparents (who would have been in their 90's today if they were still alive, were raised differently. My grandfather was out on his own at 11 or 12, washing dishes & struggling to find a warm meal & bed. He raised three children, giving them the basic essentials but not much else... he didn't have a father to teach him how to be a father but he was a good provider. My dad is also a good provider but has taken it upon himself to work at being different from his father in his parenting of his kids... so I think part of it is finding an understanding of where a person came from than trying to understand why they would do something that someone from THIS generation would consider appalling.


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