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How to handle this with the least amount of drama?

a little background.

My husband and I are raising his 7yr old son. He was removed from his mother's custody in another state when he was 2&1/2 due to neglect, abuse and drug exposure. He was in foster care for 9 months while dh and I complied with CPS to get him mobved to our state. We have had him for nearly 5 years now. While he was in foster care, his mother only saw him 5 times in 9 months. Her father gained visitation and had him one day a week, every 2 weeks. It still isnt clear to us why he didnt try to get custody temporarily instead of having his grandson in foster care, but whatever...

The grandfather sends my stepson Christmas and birthday gifts, and mt stepson has some limited memory of him. My stepson suffered brain damage from being exposed to meth, and only has 25% short term memory retention and less than 5% long term memory retention. His memories of his grandfather come and go, and when he makes a request to talk to him, we comply and call the grandfather. His mother is not allowed contact at all.

His mother had another child who is three and is now in the sole custody of his father. the father reached out to us during the custody battle for help and we complied.

Here is the delimma. We will be travelling to the state of origin to see my stepdaughter this summer. We have been asked by the father of stepson's brother that if we come up there to let him know so the boys can meet. Apparently the mother had been telling the boy about his older brother since birth and he is quite fascinated with him and is always pretend talking to him on the play phone and such. Since the mother is no longer a factor, the father would like to boys to start a relationship.

Problem is, my stepson does not know he has a brother and would not be able to comprehend such a fact. His functions on the level of a 4yr old in MOST capacities. He mainly lives in the here and now. He knows that my son is his brother and the twins I have with dh are his brother and sister, but even tho we SKYPE my husband's other daughter(different mom) daily, he cannot comprehend that Alex is his sister just as much as my daughter is. I am on one had thinking what harm would it do to let the boys meet, but on the other hand, if the 3yr old is so excited about the brother thing will it just confuse my stepson, and when he gets confused he can act very innapropriatly. I am going to bring this up with ss's psychiatrist when we see her June 3rd, but the father is getting quite excited as well and I am really not sure what to tell him.

Also, should we make time to see the grandfather if stepson doesnt ask? Our main goal on this trip is to go see my stepdaughter and spend as much time with her as possible.

If you made it this far, thanks!!


Asked by shivasgirl at 2:19 AM on May. 13, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 24 (20,833 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • First, I just want to say that just from reading this, it's very obvious that you love your step son and are trying very hard to be courteous and classy with this whole thing. My hat is off to you for that - not everyone would handle it as well, or be as concerned about everyone's needs with this.

    As far as your question goes, honestly, I think I would explain to the father of the other boy that your son (he is more your son than his birth mothers son!) really isn't mentally capable of understanding, that you would love for them to be able to have a relationship, but that, because of his diminished memory functionality, to try to explain they are brothers would only be confusing and upsetting to him, and possibly upsetting and painful (emotionally) to his son, so you think that until his son is old enough to understand more (much older than 3), you think it would be better to hold off on the visiting.


    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:05 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • If it were me I think I would let the brothers meet, I think its important, especially if your making time for his other sister. I would just make sure that you have a long honest open conversation with the Grandfather about your step son and his disabilities and that he could very well act inappropriately, so he is well aware and understanding as to the fact that all may not go smoothly. Good Luck with it all!

    Answer by Princess_s21 at 3:03 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • As long as the environment is safe, have your son meet as many relatives as possible. You can never have too many loving and supportive people in your life. It is fine to create and maintain proper boundaries as well. Perhaps before the visit you could create a poster reflecting all the relatives. Maybe take the poster with you and as you meet these people, review the poster with your son. Write the name and how related under each photo. Even though he may not fully understand, it may may a good connection. Don't underestimate the ability of the brain...keep believing and have faith.

    Answer by ssmiley4u at 6:09 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • I will keep this short and sweet... Do it. In your heart of hearts you know the answer. It is the right thing. It may not be the easy thing, but it is the right thing.

    Answer by sipn_mom at 8:57 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • I would personally take him to see the grandpa because yes he did not fight for custody but maybe because he was scared to get attached and something would happen to him. Your stepson does remember him sometimes it might make him happy when he sees him and if the grandpa has not stop sending him something it is because he cares to make him happy in the smallest way he can. Of course i do not know the whole story but that is the way i see it from what you wrote. I would also take him to see his brother just not tell him were going to go see your brother because that might confuse him just present them by their names as if its a new friend and the 3 year old really will not know why he is not calling him brother. The three year olds brother can tell him were going to meet your brother before the day comes up but again when it comes to presenting them just say their names . I hope it helps good luck

    Answer by roxy0522 at 2:37 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • Maybe let the the brother's father know ahead of time that it can cause frustration in SS, what kind of reaction he could have, etc. Then, let them meet.

    As for seeing the grandfather, let HIM come to SS if he wants to visit, and be sure to spend that time as a family--don't split away from SD for the grandfather.

    Answer by laird6372 at 2:39 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • cont

    As far as seeing the grandfather goes, that's a tough call... I would talk to the psychiatrist about it and see what they say... On the one hand, this is his grandfather, and he does have a memory of him, and seeing him might trigger a memory (I don't know - you obviously know much more about your son's capabilities than I do) - but on the other hand, it could also be upsetting, so...

    Good luck with whatever you decide, I hope you all have a good visit!

    Answer by sailorwifenmom at 7:08 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • I would introduce the boys and visit the grandpa. It is the right thing to do. Today he might not understand everything, but you allow him to skype with his sister and I think on some level you know it is because in the future he will know who she is and appreciate the fact you allowed a relationship. It is not just for him either, it is for his half brother and for his grandfather who wont always be around.

    Answer by gemgem at 7:52 AM on May. 13, 2011

  • we all skype with the sister, she is sister to my kids as well as to him. He doesnt remember her if we skip a few days, but I get what your saying. I appreciate everyone who has given me insight on this. It is really a difficult thing to have to deal with when you have a mentally ill child.

    Comment by shivasgirl (original poster) at 8:08 AM on May. 13, 2011