Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:04 pm
Dear Annie: I am a stepmom to two wonderful little boys younger than the age of 4. I treat them the same as my own children. The problem is their mother. “Carla” acts as if I am the wicked witch. I know it is hard to let another woman care for your children. I have assured her numerous times that I am not out to take her place. She is their mother and always will be.
Two years ago, the children were removed from her home due to anger issues and drug abuse. She had some counseling and now shares joint custody with their father. But if I happen to run into Carla when she is with the boys, she causes a huge scene, yelling and cussing at me if the boys say hello. She has sent me awful text messages and threatening Facebook posts. I always try to be the bigger person and ignore her, but it’s hard. I have had to call the police numerous times when I felt she was a danger to my children or me.
My husband tries to keep the peace because no one knows what Carla is capable of. I feel she is unstable. The youngest son has minor surgery scheduled, and Carla told my husband I better not show up at the hospital. As a stepmom, what am I to do? — Not-So-Wicked Stepmother
Dear Stepmom: It doesn’t sound as if Carla’s counseling was sufficient to overcome her anger issues. She is a loose cannon and could be dangerous. Please keep records of her threatening texts and posts in case your husband chooses to fight the custody arrangement. We understand that he fears rocking the boat, and there is no simple solution. Sometimes the best thing is just to stay out of the way and be as non-confrontational as possible. That includes not going to the hospital. Have your husband convey your good wishes to your stepson. Also try the National Stepfamily Resource Center (stepfamilies.info) for a support group in your area.
Dear Annie: I was adopted as an infant. I am now in my early 20s and am interested in contacting my birth family. I know my birth mother’s name from a letter she wrote me, in which she asked me to contact her if I ever wanted to. It wasn’t hard to find her or her family. I even found the Facebook pages of my older half-siblings, who know about me.
By perusing those pages, I learned my birth mother died 10 years ago. I want to make contact with my biological family, but I don’t know if they shared my mother’s wish to meet me. I don’t want to cause them any pain, and I don’t want to overstep any boundaries. Doing this through Facebook seems tacky, and the only address I have is for my bio mother’s sister. Isn’t it more appropriate to contact my grandmother first? How should I proceed? — Adopted Child
Dear Adopted: You are overthinking this. Send a letter to your bio mother’s sister. Tell her about yourself and that you’d like to establish contact. Say you want to get to know your grandmother and half-siblings, but do not wish to intrude. If you do not hear anything back within a month, it is OK to contact your half-siblings via Facebook. If there is still no response, it means they are not interested.
Dear Annie: This is for “Stressed Out by Picky Eaters,” whose family makes holidays more difficult with their various dietary demands.
Why not have them cook with her in her kitchen? This way, they can each prepare a side dish they know they will love and share it with their family. Instead of being resentful, they will create many memories along with all the great food. — Sunday Dinner Fanatic in Clive, Iowa
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Published in The Messenger 11.3.11