We have a 2.5 yr old addition to our house — The Bump
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We have a 2.5 yr old addition to our house

(cross-posted a few places)

 Long story short, my 2.5 yr old niece just moved in with us and we are in process of becoming her legal guardians.   We have a son who turns 1 yr old in a couple weeks.  Just looking for any advice on integrating her into our household without short-changing either child.   Especially as she gets older and I have to explain to her why she lives with us and not with her own parents (she was with a grandmother since birth, with the parents sporadically in the picture).   I also don't want to give her so much attention that my son gets left out.  Just feeling very overwhelmed and hoping there are some who can offer advice.

Thanks in advance.

 

Re: We have a 2.5 yr old addition to our house

  • We brought DD home at 26 months and I already had 2 teenagers. DD's situation was a lot like your DD situation. Honestly we could focus on our new DD since the others kids were older and could understand. It was hard for the first couple of weeks but now almost a year later you would never know that DD2 was not ours.

    I think if you care for both of your children as needed that they should be fine. Is the family supporting this or is there problems there? DD2 family supports us so it really helps. Good Luck.

  • I'd see if you could find any resources through your area child services. They may be able to point you in the direction of counseling (if necessary), discussions about adoption, and how to juggle the demands of 2 kids.

    GL

  • What are the odds on reunification with her parents as she gets older?  Is grandma too old to take care of her (ergo you have her?)

    For now, she's 2.5 and doesn't need to hear the backstory.  Just raise her and love her.  You don't need to go overboard to show she's loved at the expense of your son and you don't need to go overboard with your son to show that he's loved "despite having to share."  You'd share him if he had a sibling; this isn't all that much different. 

    My brother has six kids: three biological and three he adopted from the foster system as younger kids (age 1-6).  Not one of them feels "slighted" or less loved because they are biological or not biological.  They're all treated the same.

    I was the legal guardian for my granddaughter until she moved back in with her mother last year.  We raised her knowing we were "grandma" and "grandpa" but we had (and still somewhat have) a parental role in her life.  We raised her as if she was our child (and actually did a better job than I did with my kids - lol.)  She simply grew up calling us grandma and grandpa and as she got older and started asking questions we answered them the best we could and as straightforward as we could.  Don't sidestep or feel awkward about answering, but don't be too forward with what you tell her.  K.I.S.S. until she's older.  For now, just be who you are and let her know you love her and care for her and will always be there for her no matter what.  Don't be "mom" and "dad" (IMO) because she does have them but as she grows and asks, simply say "you live with us because mommy and daddy weren't able to take care of you and give you everything you need."  As she gets older she can get more detail.

    Oh, and as Dr. Loretta suggested, call your Dept. of Child and Family Services.  They had a liaison for grandparents taking care of grandchildren (which extends to family members not parents taking care of family members) and were able to help with services I wasn't even aware were available.

    Best of luck to you and your (growing) family.


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