Stepfamilies: A Personal Story

They say it takes at least 2 to 4 years for a blended family to feel united.  It took our family at least that long or longer.
But when Jimmy and Jerry, the twins, were 16, eight years after we were married, and Amy was 18, Dave decided that he wanted to adopt all the children.  Since their biological father had chosen not to be an active parent for several years, that was not a problem.  What was a complication was that Jim was not sure if he wanted to be adopted by Dave.  He still felt some loyalty to his biological dad, plus we had gone through some rough times together as a family. So we left it up to Jim whether he chose to be adopted or not.  He finally made his decision the day we went to court.  His answer was no.
Four years later, Jim came to me and said that he had given a lot of thought to how much Dave had given him and us as a family.  In spite of numerous conflicts, he gave them a stable home, was an excellent cook, and was there for them through thick and thin.  With all the struggles we went through, it would have been easy for Dave to leave us all.  But he didn’t.
Jim decided that for Dave’s Christmas present, he wanted to be adopted.  Keeping our secret, I hired a paralegal to draw up the papers.  On Christmas Eve, after all the other presents had been opened, Jim presented Dave, his dad, the rolled up adoption papers, wrapped in festive paper with a bow.  He also gave him a special pen that he had bought for the signing of these papers.  With tears glistening in his eyes, Dave took the pen and signed the papers.
Are blended families difficult?  Ours sure was.  But looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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