Integrating an illegitimate (though not really) child into your “traditional” family - FamilyEducation
Integrating an illegitimate (though not really) child into your “traditional” family
09/22/2010 at 15:03 PM

I posted the otherday, but did not use a very informative subject line, so, perhaps that is why there has been little "comment"...

i'm hoping this time around, i'll get a little more traffic...

sorry to repost - am just eager to get some advice...


The first post is in this forum (Where should i start)...

My situation involves trying to be, kind'a, a dad to my nephew... and our relationship has grown "deep" over the past few months...

his dad is out of the picture and he needs someone to keep an eye out for him and to, well... guide him towards adulthood...

he is 14 (he is "blood" to my wife, her sisters son)...

the reason i used the illegitimate child analogy is that my wife and his mom (her sister) are, well "at odds" and, well... my wife is NOT unboard with this idea...

we have our own children (17 year old daughter, 11 year old son -- BOTH are OK with what i'm doing! and we have spoken often about how i go about doing this)...


i wonder, does anyone know of a forum specific for fathers of illegitamate children, as their "struggles" would be MOST simialr to mine...


Does your wife have legitimate concerns about bringing this boy into your home, or is she really so angry at her sister that she can't stomach having her nephew with you? If she is just carrying a grudge like you imply, you need to provide extra supervision and support while she is rearing your children. I'm not trying to be mean, I just think a mother who is resentful is not going to do a good job nurturing her own kids. You'll be putting your kids into a bad situation, and you won't be helping your nephew much, because you will be bringing him into a bad situation.

Iam sorry to here you wife is having a hard time but she needs to remember that this is not the young mans fault. You are doing the right thing, a boy that age needs a good role model and support person. Maybe your wife could put herself in his place. how hard it must be to be 14 and not have the support of his own parents. If she needs an outlet for her feelings maybe she could start a journel, sometimes putting things into private words help work things out. Good luck

hello (and thank you both for your comments)... first off, i LOVE MY WIFE DEARLY!!! but she has always been the "voltile" one in our relationship... rarely talking though an issue without raising her voice, getting OVERLY emotional.... so, yes... my children have been IMPACTED by what i'm doing (re: my nephew), but NOT because of the interaction between me-him (or the time awat with him, as i plan things to not conflict), but rather because of my WIFE being "anti" (and yes, it is a grudge against the boys mom!)... i've tried SOOO many things.... speaking to a family priest, trying to get her to meet with him, to reaching out to big brothers, to seeking advice from any family member (my side and her's) that would listen... no one has yet said "...stop what you are doing!!!..." and all have pretty much said "...this is great, he needs you right now..." indeed, it is true the boy needs me because his MOM has made MANY bad decisions, but... as one of you said... these are NOT the boys fault! and he has paid to dearly of a price already!!! i WILL say that my wife and i have had issues that have been needed to be resolved for YEARS! and i have suggest counseling on at least 2-3 different occasions... but she was never interested... would say " is normal for people to fight..." (well... MAYBE FOR YOUR FAMILY!!!)... :( anyway, because things had gotten SOO out of hand recently, we HAVE gotten to counseling (right now, just solo, joint soon)... so, God works in STRANGE WAYS!!! when the dust settles, i will have MY NEPHEW to thank for asking me to be his confirmation sponsor (because THAT is where all of this started)... because his NEED for "me" (or someone to step in on his behalf) has FORCED my wife to realize we have issues that need to be resolved (and she does as well, with her sister and her family).... the past couple of weeks have been better, but i fear that is only because the summer ended and we are all (me, wife, my own kids, my nephew) are soooo busy with normal activities that there has not been much interaction bewteen he and i... anyway... i just take it day by day... using my own heart and compasion to guide me... i KNOW i will make mistakes!!! but, there is NO PLAY BOOK on how to grab a 14 year old bot by the hand and DRAG HIM OUT of the "pile of crap" that sorrunds him: - divorced parents - mom not a very good parent - mom's BF is less than sensitive to her kids - mom's BF has said nasty things in front of my nephew about his dad - his dad was in a mental institution (for depression); recently goot out... and the kicker! - mom and dad got divorced because dad realized his is GAY! you tell me... am i RIGHT for trying to pull this kid into a BETTER PLACE!!?!?!? sure, of those issues above can be handled, dealt with by a 14 year old... but all at the same time? IMO it is a miracle that HE is NOT in a WORSE place mentally.... anyway... i'll fight the good fight until someone in MORAL AUTHORITY tells me, "...B2_Shadow your making a mistake, you need to walk away..." note: B2_Shadow? This user name came from the fact that my nephew's initals are BB and once when we bounded (over an incident at school - he got in trouble about something and almost ran away from home!!) i told him i wanted to be "his shadow" (he likes the band Green Day -- i knew this -- and they have this song called Blvd of Broken Dreams -- in the song, the guy says he is SOOO lonely that only "his shadow" walks beside him!)... I used that song as a metaphor so he would realize that he is NO LONGER ALONE! :( yes, whenever i think of that day, i get tears in my eyes... i told him this when he was sitting on the floor in his bed room crying! that day i decided i had a 2nd son... in my heart i KNOW i'm doing "right"... i just have to find a way to get my wife to eitehr SIGN ON or STEP OUT OF MY WAY! :(

I've read through your post several times. It seems to me that the foundation that your own children and your nephew need would be more stable if you would have more respect for your wife.

:( well, sadly, that is basically AT THE CORE of our (me-wife) issues... she has MAJOR CONTROL issues that i have ALLOWED (unfort.) to continue - as nothing was WORTH the fight, you know how it is... you let this little thing go, you let that thing go, you let that go... and all of a sudden you are in a situation (looking back) that you say... WFT!!!! how could i NOT SEE all of this!! this thing with my nephew was the first "life or death" issue where her control was raring its UGLY HEAD! i mean, if i let her "control" this situation, she would have me turning my back on this kid and walking away.... i'd sooner put a BULLET in my own head, because i would NOT be able to live with myself! so.. because THIS was a "life or death" (though not so dramatic) issue... i finally had to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! again, we are in counseling now... and things are moving forward (we both have seen him 3x and i wanted a 4x) so after that, we will meet together... but... i PRAY that she comes with an opened mind (and an opened heart!)... true, some might think that i'm being stuburn and perhaps I need to have an opened mind... and i will... but, that OPENED MIND will NOT allow: 1) me to go back to the way our life was and 2) me walking away from this kid* ! *though there might be way to do it differently.... which i am MORE than willing to consider... anyway... note: her mom has a similar strangel hold on her dad.... but he NEVER broke free from it! i hope my kids and i survive the EARTHQUAKE! :(

When we were certified for foster care, part of our training was to help us realize whether we were motivated by romantic notions that we could be saviors for these children. The social workers interviewed our children as part of the certification and for re-certification. They interviewed my husband and I separately, because they didn't want a relatively stable family to be sacrificed in the effort to provide for the children of other families. It can be an avalanche effect. If you had a stable relationship with your wife, I'd support your desire to help this boy, but that isn't what I'm hearing from you. What if this is the thing that pushes your marriage to the breaking point? Then your nephew may bear guilt for your decision to sacrifice your marriage for him. Kind of like the Midas touch in reverse--every family he touches turns to trash. Your children could also blame him, but it isn't his responsibility to preserve YOUR marriage. It is yours. And, for the record, I would say the same thing to a woman who presented me with the same situation.

:( the sad thing is this: No... our marriage was NOT stable before (though i was pretending it was). My Mrs. has always been WAY too controlling of me and our $$ (i'm the bread winner), always has been WAY to "irrational" when it comes to disagreements (typically raising her voice and stumping down hallway - in front of kids!), and there are issues "inside her" about: her mom, her siblings (a middle child) and a HORRIFIC car accident (and PTS) that she had had ~10 years ago that she has never come to grips with... i had tried during our marriage to have us get to a counselor, she was never interested... this issue with my nephew simply was teh FUSE that set ALL these BOMBS (for her) of at once! do i have a "savoir" type of attitude about this... to be honest, some days i do (because i feel SOOO hopeful for this kid and what i'm trying to for him), but other days, well, i come back to earth and realize there is only so much i can do.... and a GOOD majority of that is showing HIM how HE can help himself! Teach a man (or young man in this case) to FISH!

Perhaps there is someone else, in a better situation, who really can do for him what you wish to do. I am concerned that the dynamic between you and your wife is a very poor model of what a marriage should be, and his own parents also provide poor models. A good model of a marriage has two reasonable people pursuing goals that are not in conflict.

re: someone else... i kind'a wish as well... but, right now, i'm really the only GAME in town... However, i'm a SOOO hopeful that me and my mrs WILL get back in the same page and IN a better place, and, well... WHEN (not if!!) that happens it will be a PERFECT example of adults working through their issues and growing CLOSER as a result (i keep telling myself this!! i have too!! sometimes IT is the only thing i have to hold on to!)... thanks though... as i told my nephew (and his mom), i will do this until either someone else steps in to take over or until he no longer needs me... i'm not lookng to wear out my welcome! anyway... thx

LIGHT!!! AT!!! END!!! OF!!! TUNNEL!!! me and the mrs had a very good conversation this morning... we BOTH know that we are both: - to blame for our problems and - the THANK for our triumphs! yes... we have a long road still, but this is teh first time in ~3-4 months that, well, i have felt that we are really starting to "rebound" from the "bottom" that we had reached!

YAY!!! Hope this positivity continues!

i dont believe you are being disrespectful to your wife as you clearly said at the beginning how much you love her..i believe you articulately put across your problems and are doing a invaluable service to your nephew, with whom i sense you feel an affinity with, possibly he reminds you of yourself..either way good luck with the path you are on...

re: remind me of myself... the Doc suggested this to me as well: - my dad and i do not have a real "bound" (i came from a family of 8 kids!; i do NOT hold this against him!; he had sooo many mouths to feed) - i was very close to my grandfather, would often go visit in the summers, etc... (the doc said that perhaps he filled "that role" for me - re: my dad; perhaps) the doc asked if i could see, perhaps, that i might be trying to do for my nephew what my grandfather did for me...? as much as i can SEE that HE might want to SEE that (and i disclosed my relationship with my grandfather because i KNOW that HE would have made that connection and i did NOT want to "hold" anything back from him)... my comment to his question was this... "...perhaps, but i would hope that i would still be doing the same thing with my nephew regardless of my own upbring..." but it is true... how does one separate their "past experiences" from their "present actions"... it is tough... and, well... the same comments might be made by my wife re: her issues with her mom/siblings and how that might be impacting what she is doing (rather, her point of view).... the only thing that keeps me from running and jumping off a cliff (not really) is that at least from my perspective, helping the kid is not a morally WRONG thing... the things my wife has done, checking my text messages, setting up "traps" (regarding my interaction with my own kids) are, IMO, WRONG... but... we ARE in a better place, at least today! and we will be meeting (jointly) with the doc next fri... fingers crossed for a brighter tomorrow...

!!!! we ARE INDEED on an UP TICK! long and short, it has been ~1 month or so since my nephew and i had any "real" one-one time (there have been a few family events - BBQ and all, and a weekend camping trip with my son as well), but since school has started, it has been tricky for both of us -- so busy! -- plus, he is now regularly visiting his dad every ~3rd weekend (who i have spoken with on a number of occasions - he and i are GREAT!)... anyway, i found out the otherday that my nephew would be home for this weekend (and next weekend i'm going with my son for a bscout camping trip), that i thought it was time to, well, move ahead with an outing... i had suspect (hoped!) that my mrs would: - realize we have NOT hung out one-one in over a momth or so - that finding time is going to be tricky with both our complicated schedules - that this IS a "good thing" anyway... i disclosed my plan for he and i to get dinner and a movie this fri eve (note: just my family and i went to dinner last weekend; wife and i alone 2 nights ago)... MUCH to her credit... she was OK!!! at first she was a little concerned (as i have plans with my brother on sat eve "...well, that would mean you would not be home both weekend days...")... I then reminded her, well, yes... but i am going camping with son next weekend... "...Oh, yea, i forgot about that..." !!!!! :) YES! i need to be careful! and YES we STILL NEED TO deal with ALL of the baggage we have in our marriage and YES!!! i need to be grateful for her "warming" and YES!!! i need to make sure NOT to "push the envelope"... but.... i think the DARKEST HOURS are behind us and that i WILL be able to not only SAVE MY MARRIAGE and KEEP MY LOVING WIFE but also, help this kid for as long as he needs someone to help him... note: his dad is slowly becoming more and more available... and i'm HAPPY for that and have even suggested the me, my son, my nephew, his brother and HIS DAD all do something once the dad is ready (he is on some meds that limts his driving)... the dad thought the idea was GREAT and even invited me/my son to come and visit with him/his boys sometime this winter and go TUBING at a local resort!!! (note: my wife even suggested a few days back that my son go visit with he sister and his cousins! -- though it did not work out for various reasons)... THE RAIN HAS STOPPED! THE CLOUDS HAVE PARTED! THE SKY IS BLUE!! two families, side by side... moving forward into a BETTER PLACE!! why? all because a 14 year old boy asked his uncle "...would you be my confirmatiion sponsor?..." my wife and i would NOT be on this path of fixing our marriage (which needed fixing for YEARS!) if it were NOT for him! my wife would NOT be on the path to reconciling with her sister if it were not him! he may have thought he was reaching out for me to help him (which i KNOW i have)... but he had NO IDEA that he was on the verge of CHANGING MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER! BEN... I LOVE YOU AND THANKS! UNCLE BILL! (but yes, i still have a long road ahead of me!)

Good that things are going well! Have enjoyed your posts which are written in a very interesting manner. Best wishes to you and your family!!!

just when i thought things were getting better.... simply the WOOL being pulled over my eyes! :( see new post above...