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Posted by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 12:41 PM
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I hate reading books as posts on CM, but I guess, sometimes it's unavoidable, so my apologies in advance. I'm going to try and stick to just the current info as needed, but if you really want to help and need more info, just ask and I will comply.

Okay, so Fiance and I have been together 4 years and we have a 2 year old together. He has a 15 year old daughter from a previous relationship. The relationship between BM and fiance has been volatile to say the least and as a result, the relationship between he and SD has suffered greatly. In the 4 years we have been together, I had never met her and they had only spoken on the phone a handful of times. They do communicate through social media and texting, but it seems she would only talk to him when her and BM were having issues. If he messaged her randomly, it would often go without response. We would send Christmas gifts/giftcards and birthday gifts/giftcards every year, and sometimes she would call with a thank you, but never took any initiative to communicate with him at all.

Just before Thanksgiving this year, SD and BM had a severe blowout and BM was arrested for child neglect and child abandonment. SD was placed in emergency foster care while the police and CPS contacted us. We live 1,700 miles away. Prior to this event, SD and Fiance hadn't spoken in over a year with the last conversation being one of "Leave me alone. Don't contact me. You're a shitty father." At that point, he had given up and her bi-polar behavior and game playing just was too much. We still sent cards/gifts and would comment on FB posts, but she never responded.
So, now, CPS had told Fiance that they were going to place SD in his custody and if he did not comply, they were going to charge him with child neglect and child abandonment as well. The threat was unneeded because as soon as they stated anything about him receiving custody, he was onboard and just wanted his daughter. With there being an open case with CPS and the distance between the two homes, it took about 2-3 weeks before they put her on a plane and she moved in with us into our tiny two bedroom home.
Before she got here, I had called the school and wanted to start the ball rolling on admission for her. To my dismay, they stated she couldn't start until the new semester since she had missed 43 days of school back home this year. The new semester didn't start until January 20, 2015 and she arrived to our home December 5, 2014.
I knew the transition was going to be tough with all things considered, but adding the boredom of being stuck at home in a new place where you know absolutely no one for over a month only made things way worse than I could have imagined. All the lying and manipulating and bi-polar mood swings and stealing money were starting to get to be waaaaay more than we could handle. At one point, she called CPS on us for abuse and even had her mother on the phone in her pocket record an argument about her taking off and lying about where she was. During that conversation, she randomly yelled at her father not to touch her and to take his hands off her when he wasn't even near her. At the time, the outburst didn't make any sense, but once we found out about the phone call, we figured it out. Later that night, she even confessed to saying it in an attempt to have Fiance arrested for abuse so she would get sent back home. That case with CPS was just closed yesterday.
Once school started, things started to calm down and appear "normal." She would go to school, come home and I would help her with homework while I made dinner, she was making friends and making plans. I was optimistic. I was even exstatic the other night when she came to me in the bedroom as I was folding laundry and wanted to talk about boys and gossip at school (that had to mean that she liked me, right?!?!?).
Today, she is home sick from school with a sinus infection (absolutely refused to go to school. We sent her yesterday anyway, but today, made a deal that she could stay home.). I am at work and clicked over to her FB for a second to see what she was up to. She posted about being homesick and wanting to go home and how much she hated it here. I'm blown away. Everything appeared to be going so well. I messaged her on KIK and asked why she seems sad and depressed.
Her response is filled with, "I hate it here. This will never be my home. It's just not for me.  I just want to go back home. It sucks down here." etc.....
Now, I'm worried that we are going to regress back into the horrible behavior of last month. Is she going to start acting out again? Should I strap in for another ride on the crazy roller coaster? Or do I just ignore it and act as if nothing has changed? Will ignoring it make it worse or better...???
This is all new territory to me as I have a 2 year old boy and am suddenly the wicked step mother of a 15 year old girl....
Any advice is appreciated...Thanks! 

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 12:41 PM
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by Silver Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:08 PM
She us 15. She has been torn from her mom, stuck in foster care, and shipped off to her Dad whom she has had limited contact with over the years.

Of course there are going to be issues.

Individual and family counseling would be advisable.

Also, don't take her behavior as a personal attack.
by Ruby Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:09 PM

 for the THIRD MOTHER FUCKING TIME  (sorry, net issues)

i would make my own kid my priority, and let dad know she is soley his responsibility. id also encourage him to see therapy for her alone and the two of them together.

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:13 PM
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Just think how you would feel if you were forced to move 1700 miles against your will to live with a stranger and parent you barely knew. Maybe Dad should work out a trip for her to visit her old friends if she keeps good grades and minimal trouble the rest of the school year.
by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:23 PM

We have a trip planned for the summer to the MidWest and have already offered to have a friend meet us. She doesn't seem enthused about that at all. We offered to try and set it up for her mom to visit while we are up that way this summer....negative response from that as well. 
I'm at a total loss as to how to make it better. On one hand, I want to do whatever is possible to make her feel at home and comfortable. On the other, I don't want to bend over backward and let her feel like she can take advantage of the situation either. 

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:26 PM

This whole situation is my worst nightmare, but fortunately I don't have a SD like this.  Sounds like this child has mental issues to begin with and even under the best of circumstances moving a 15yo into your home when you don't know the child is really, really tough.  All I can say is good luck and try to keep your sanity.  Don't be swayed by her drama.

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:29 PM

CPS had suggesting family counseling. When the Behavior Education Therapy people called to set up services, they decided over the phone there wasn't really a need for them to intervene since her outbursts had stopped. She said that forcing SD into counseling even as a family thing could push her away and make her feel attacked. She said that if the poor behavior returned they would set up counseling at that point. I was bummed because I'm all for family counseling as this is a hell of an adjustment for all of us.

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:40 PM

I should add that yesterday, her and I were talking while making dinner and she was all positive. I heard her on FB voice chat talking to a friend back home about how she loved it here, loved the weather, was liking school and meeting people. They talked about the cute boys and she said things were getting better and she was happier than she had been in a long time. 
This is why I am so blown away with the sudden post about being homesick and the comments about hating it here.

It's like, everytime it starts to get better, she talks to her mom about it and as soon as they get off the phone, we are back to her hating everything. I don't want to keep her away from her mom, but it's almost like we are never going to be able to have stability unless the BM drama stops and the only way to stop that is to stop communication. DCF back home had issued a no-contact order between the two of them but no one seems to enforce it. At first, we would report it everytime they talked, but that only made things worse between us as a family unit. So, we let it go and hoped for the best.
SD just messaged me about her mom supposedly sending her something in the mail and it's like a lightbulb appeared over my head; she just talked to her mom so that must be why she hates everything again.... 

by Gold Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:48 PM
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 She needs counseling. I'm not sure what vested interest the Behavioral Education Therapy people have...maybe saying she doesn't need it means they don't's bullshit.

This girl comes from a home, abused #1, but it is her home, she is sent thousands of miles away, is still being played by her abuser, new home, new school, doesn't know anyone and is a hormonally unstable teen...she needs counselling as quickly as you can get an appointment...her life is upside down and developmentally as a teen she has NO idea how to cope with this and already comes from a troubled upbringing.

As for how you handle her...when she talks, listen, render NO judgment or opinion. When you see stuff like you did on FB, ask her about how she feels and LISTEN, render NO opinion and take NOTHING personally. Her wanting to go home is COMPLETELY her...NOTHING to do with how nice the home is you are or not providing. It is no more than she is a teen ripped from everything she has ever known under dark circumstances.

What DO you do?...SERIOUSLY talk with SD has a troubled relationship with her mother. DH takes the lead on her therapy and her serious mental health care. I DO NOT try to replace mother...this is complete QUICKSAND for a SM when a teen girl has a troubled mother...what you DO...become good roomates to her and a mentor...I do NOT punish SD...I guide...I don't order, I ask. I treat her like an ally/friend so she feels comfortable...subtle things, THINK about how you approach her...not "pick up your clothes"...but "I'm trying to keep the living room clean, do you mind putting your stuff away, by dinner?" I give her a task, request it, and a time respects her, treats her kindly, good example and leaves her a little power to decide she does not feel like I'm a SM ordering her around like a jack in the box...expecting her to pop up that minute to an though, he's dad, will order away...I work like a team with her, she's a teen, has opinions, ask what she wants for dinner when I grocery shop..."what do you want on the menu for dinner this week?" I'll cook a couple things for her a week. When I notice she is down...on FB, like you did...I just ask her to tell me about it, and is really not about SM or even our home...she's a teen, just a storm of emotion and hormones, and it just needs to come I let it, without trying to tell her how to feel or to change. I tell her she can talk to me about anything, she does most of the time. That's how you approach a kid like this...just steady, steady, steady and take nothing personally. She will probably be a storm of anger over what has happened with mom. YOU cannot MAKE her change her moods and teens do not have the insight to take a bad mood or anger and go handle it themselves, they will brood and make everyone miserable around them. YOU have to teach her when to recognize to take the time to "decompress' or "cool off". Again, these moods are NOT about just tell her "you seem to be dealing with something and seem angry or in a bad mood, why don't you take some time by yourself in  your room to decompress, you probably need it, and come on back out when you're in a better place." It gives both of you a well needed time out. It also will begin to teach her to self soothe and gain self control of her moods...she alone has to learn cannot force her or talk her out of a mood, and it is not punishing.

I hope some of these suggestions help.

Quoting PeacefulPoet:

CPS had suggesting family counseling. When the Behavior Education Therapy people called to set up services, they decided over the phone there wasn't really a need for them to intervene since her outbursts had stopped. She said that forcing SD into counseling even as a family thing could push her away and make her feel attacked. She said that if the poor behavior returned they would set up counseling at that point. I was bummed because I'm all for family counseling as this is a hell of an adjustment for all of us.


by Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Oh my I think that you take it for what it is worth. She is 15 and she is homesick. She is 1700 miles from home away from the parent that has has taken are of her for most of her life even if bm did a piss poor job. She been taken away from her friends and her school. Understanding will go a long way with her even if it does not seem like it. If you have not placed her in counseling I would start with that as well. Try to get her involved in a club or sport. 

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 2:36 PM
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Dear Peaceful Poet...

Try this. Instead of worrying actively focus on the future and what you want as a result from this situation. If you sit worry about it, my guess is you are not seeing your position as one of potentially good influence, possibly the one person who can make the best of the situation. You have to see her as what she is, a confused young girl who has nbot fully matured, and may not until years from now. Do your best to stay a positive influence over her. A constant, reliable mature adult, someone who she will look to and trust. If you can visualize the best for her and imagine what she is in most need of and try to be a source of encouragement and a source of comfort in an uncomfortable situation, all will be well. You seem to have an opportunity to make a difference...just stay positive and be the adult, be the secure one. Even if it is a temporary situation. She will learn from your strength, she will learn from your behavior, just set a good example.

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