Beliefnet
Helping to raise your partner's child is becoming more and more a fact of married life. According to estimates from the National Stepfamily Resource Center, two-thirds of remarriages involve "prior" children, and more than 30 percent of American kids do some of their growing up in stepfamilies. Beliefnet stepmoms and stepdads offer each other advice, support, and a place to vent. Here is a sampling.

Getting Past the Hurt
I am a stepmother of a 14 year old girl that I love very much. I have been in her life for at least 11 years. I married her dad just 2 years ago and I thought that everything would be much better than it is now with her with us. Her mother is not quite able to take care of her at this time and the court gave her dad joint custody. She stays with us most of the time esp. during the days when there is school. There is a lot of friction between the two of us when it comes to disciplining her. She thinks that I am the worst person on the face of the earth. I have a lot of love to give to her if she would only accept me into her life. It hurts me sometimes and I have prayed about it. Maybe one day she will open up to me.—aquarius48

My Kid's Stepmom Is an Angel
My children were 2 and 5 when my ex-husband was granted custody of them. I was in the midst of "bottoming-out" of my alcohol addiction and was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness. My ex was dating and engaged to a 28 year old, never been married, no kids young women. (I mention her age b/c she is 10 years younger than my ex and me). She was willing to take in my children and raise them as her own. I thank God everyday that she was able to do that…. I think of my kid's stepmom as an angel, because she was able to be "mommy" to my babies when I was unable to take care of them…. I have since straightened out my life, I'm sober, stable, gainfully employed and also remarried. I have been able to gain joint custody of the children now.—Michele1213

Stepmom of Twins
My husband of 9 years has twin daughters from prev. marriage. They are 12. We had custody of them for 6 years. They went back with their mother almost 3 years ago. I tried my best to be a good mom to them since their mom gave them up when they were only toddlers. …

Last year, the twins told us that they did not want to come over anymore. I love those girls and I feel that they love me too. But I also strongly believe that their mom had forced her bitterness on to them. She told my husband when he left her that she would make his life miserable from now on and she has used her daughters to do it.—terri-35

My stepdaughter is the light of my life...
and i divorced her dad almost three years ago! she is 12...i've known her since she was 2. I helped potty train her, i helped teach her the alphabet, how to spell her name, etc...My greatest gift in life was when her mother told me that i could continue to see her...

Saturday we had such a great time...i had to run an errand that was 40 minutes driving time...it was pouring down rain...then the sun appeared...so, i pulled over to look for the rainbow...oh wow! beautiful! this 12 year old young lady stood next to me with her arm around me and said, "this is beautiful and i'm glad to be sharing it with you." am I blessed or what?—HappyAmber

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