10 year old SD wants to live with her mom...DH is freaking out...
When DH and his ex divorced they went through a mediator to settle custody. They would have equal time until SD started school then primary custody would go to DH and BM would get her every other weekend. Well, as it turned out before SD even started school BM didn't want her every other week like they'd decided. She asked DH to do the every other weekend thing instead. They didn't go through the courts for it, they just started doing it when SD was 4. I started dating DH a week before SD turned 5. BM moved out of state the summer before SD was supposed to start kindergarten. Again they modified their custody without going to court about it. BM would get SD every summer and either for Christmas or Spring Break of each school year.
The first summer BM was supposed to have SD she decided to travel abroad instead (she was in college and living with her own parents...still lives with her own parents). So she went over a year without seeing her only child, she called her twice in that year. Once on SD's 6th birthday and once to tell SD that she wasn't going to take her for the summer. She'd send random little notes in the mail, maybe once a month.
She's had SD every summer since then, and for the school holidays that she was supposed to have her. BM had SD last Christmas and apparently they talked about SD coming to live with them. I have several problems with this situation, but I'm only the stepmother...DH is also sort of freaking out about the thought of letting SD live with BM. Here are our concerns:
1. BM is bipolar and off her meds more than she's on them, when she's off them she gets really hateful and mean. The grandmother sent SD home early from Christmas vacation because BM was going in a downward spiral due to being off her meds and hitting a depressive stage.
2. BM has not been involved in the day-to-day rearing of her child in nearly 7 years, she opted into doing the every other weekend thing when SD was 3.
3. They're always complaining about how broke they are and that's why they can't do a lot to contribute to SD financially.
4. BM lives with her own parents so SD would have to share a bedroom with her. They have bunk beds.
5. They want to homeschool SD. BM was homeschooled until she was in 8th grade then she finished in public school. She did well academically but suffered socially. Her mom was also slightly abusive, more towards BM's brother than towards BM. DH and I both feel that BM is not stable enough to homeschool SD and that the grandmother is not up to date enough or patient enough to homeschool SD. She's had such a stellar school year this year, I'd hate to see all that hard work disappear because they aren't working with her consistantly.
When we asked why SD wanted to live with her mom these are the reasons she gave:
1. She really misses her mom.
2. She feels crowded here (we have a three bedroom house, she has her own bedroom while her three little sisters share a bedroom, but we are expecting another baby any day now).
3. She likes being the only child there, she gets more attention and less responsibility (that's not exactly how she phrased it, but basically she doesn't have chores there but she does here).
4. She likes the idea of being homeschooled, she thinks it'll be easier.
Given these details...how would you approach this situation? I told DH he needs to call BM and see if she was even serious. She made this offer of having SD come live with her when she was not on her medications and going into a depressive state. I don't want SD to go, but I do get her reasons and I do trust that the grandfather will see to SD's safety. I can't say too much about grandmother and BM.