When I married my first husband he had a 4 year old. Cute, with dimples and a face that belonged in commercials, that was ss. I decided to treat him as if he were my own. I mean, that's the right thing to do, right? His Mom, though, was a witch of the first order. Actually, her WHOLE family was just the most disfunctional, trashy, crazy bunch you'd ever want to meet. I think every member of that family was suffering from bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, but that's just a guess, I'm not a psychiatrist.
S.S. acted out a lot. He tested and tested and tested his limits CONSTANTLY, because at his Mom's house, (well, actually it was Grandma's, Mom's, Uncle's and whatever live in boyfriend Mom had that week), the adults were very manipulatable, because they parented based on their mood at the time, not based on any kind of consistent rules. They were ALL abusive to him and his siblings, but again, it was all about their mood swings. Police were sometimes callled, and I heard they were investigated at least once, probably more, by cps. Anywhere they lived, they would always have fights with and be complained about by their neighbors.
The Grandma once bragged to me that one of her neighbors said about them ,"This was such a nice neighborhood, till you guys moved here!" Anyway, to get back to the point.... Since his Mom's side was abusive, I always wanted ss to live with us, so when she'd get tired of him and come dump him on us without so much as a warning ahead of time, I was always glad to have him, even though dh was never home, so I was the one doing all the child care. I tried to make up for his disfunctional side of his family. I showed him all the love I showed the two my first husband and I had together over the years, and finally, we got a lawyer and got legal custody so she could stop coming and, also without any notice, ripping him from our home every time she got mad that she couldn't put ss on her food stamp application, or the child support stopped since he was living with us, or we dared claim him on OUR income tax return.
I tried to teach him right from wrong, since his Mom was only teaching him the thug's moral code instead of the Christian moral code, (the thug moral code being, the only rule is 'Don't be a rat'). When he'd go visit his mom, she'd tell him I was turning him into a sissy because he didn't want to go pick fights with the smaller kids when his mom told him to. No, I'm not kidding, she wanted ss to go pick a fight with his little brother's friends, and she called him a sissy and played his sister's, "I'm a Barbie Girl" song and said he should dance to it since he's such a little sissy now.
Anyway, he really did seem to be growing into a great kid. He was respectful of xh and I, got along with his brother and sister on our side of his family, helped them to get ready for school in the morning, did his chores, and just basically behaved himself. Plus, he'd caught up to his grade level. He'd been WAY behind, and couldn't even read when he was in fifth grade, so I home schooled him for a couple of years until he was caught up. He was a good kid, and even said he knew I love him like I love my own, so I know he felt a security in our home he didn't get with his Mom, because when she got mad, she would tell him she wanted nothing more to do with him. I would never have said that to him.
Well, when ss was 15, xh and I split up, and I didn't have any legal rights to him. Xh didn't want to keep him if I wasn't there to raise him, so he promptly sent him to his Mother's house, even knowing how abusive she and her family are. She always hated me, and wouldn't even let me talk to him on the phone anymore. FINALLY, I found him on facebook just a few months ago, and even more recently than that, he's gone to live with xh, and is now in our town again. Plus my kids get to see him when they go on their weekend visits with their Dad.
Well, now he's 17, he smokes, he drinks, he cusses, he has pictures on facebook where he's dressed and posing like a thug, he makes really troubling wall posts on FB too, like one rant that said something like, "B****es think they're so hot, but they're a dime a dozen." I'm really starting to think all my effort was wasted with him. I think maybe he turned out just the same as he would have if I'd let his Mom do all the raising. It breaks my heart.