A Happy Report

8 08 2009

Ladies:

I’m happy to tell everyone that the library card fiasco has a happy ending! After my three stepchildren were denied library cards by a librarian who said I couldn’t sign them up for cards because as their stepmother I wasn’t a legal guardian, I emailed an irate letter to the county library administration offices. The director of the entire library system emailed me back to say he would do some research to discover what had happened because as a stepparent himself, he was appalled at our experience.

This is part of the letter he sent me yesterday:

“Do we want to preclude step-parents from assisting kids in their care to get a library card? The answer is a clear “no”. Just to clarify that intent, at our next re-printing, we will revise our registration form to add “step-parent” to the “parent/guardian” line. We will also cover the topic next week at a circulation team meeting so supervisors are aware of our intent in this area.”

Yay!!!! I will be doing more research on the topic of legal guardianship, power of attorney, and medical power of attorney and will post more on this soon.  I’m also writing an article for Stepmom Magazine that will run in the September issue. In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple more thoughts on this.

I could have lied. A lot of stepparents I heard from after my original post said they either just didn’t bring up that they were a stepparent in similar situations, or lied outright when asked because it was just easier. If I had lied, the kids would have their cards and the librarian would never have exploded this issue. I have certainly allowed people to assume I’m the mother to make our lives easier. But now the staff of the whole county system are going to be trained in how to deal with stepfamilies. They are reprinting the library card application form to include stepparents!

I know that legal guardianship is a complicated issue. Ostracizing stepfamilies, however, is not complicated. It is very simple. It shouldn’t happen. Yet stepfamilies feel like outsiders all the time in churches and schools on sports teams and in our neighborhoods. Enough already!

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10 responses

9 08 2009
Stina

That’s awesome, good for you. I haven’t encountered that yet, but have been in many situations when its crossed my mind that my status might be an issue – i.e. with the school, at the doctor’s office, things like that. Thanks so much for sharing and for your follow- up – it helps us all.

10 08 2009
Stepmom

I’m so glad you shared your happy ending and bravo for creating much needed change in regard to how stepparents are treated!

10 08 2009
Jacque

I am most happy about the training the employees will recieve! The library lets stepparents get their stepchildren library cards all the time, but this one particular librarian interpreted “parent/guardian” in a way that meant stepparent didn’t count. I’m doing more research on the legal documents stepparents who are actively caring for their stepchildren really need to have and will report back soon!
Jacque

10 08 2009
ToolBoxGirl

Jacque – I am so happy this worked out for you and for your step kids.

My mom ran into this kind of problem back in the 1970’s – I still can’t believe it’s going on today.

As a custodial stepmom, I’m listed on all my stepson’s stuff – the high school he goes to, calls me third if they can’t get dad or mom on the phone. And his teachers deal directly with me because his mom is far removed from all things school.

I make his doctor’s appointments, dental appointments, eye appointments – no one says boo to me.

I do however, make my husband do a legal power of attorney when he goes away for longer than a few days – Junior’s mom is too far away to respond immediately so I’d be the first to get him to an emergency room if needed.

Have an awesome week!
Peggy

13 08 2009
Tulip

I absolutely love reading your blog….it’s become one of my stepmom outlets! I’m new to the blogging world, but I would love it if you’d check out my blog….I’ll definitely continue reading yours!

http://ourlivesinbloom.blogspot.com/

13 08 2009
stepmommagazine

One win at a time! Congrats Jacque and thank you for advocating on behalf of all stepfamilies.

15 08 2009
MaggieWags

You are a rockstar!

16 08 2009
MaggieWags

I just started a new blog this morning and tagged you in my first post. Thanks for your great blog. My blog is called http://rockingthestepthing.blogspot.com/

MaggieWags

20 08 2009
International Party Girl

Thank you for sharing this.

🙂 I really appreciate hearing others angst. I don’t mean to be a misery loves company kind of gal but sometimes you can’t help it.

26 08 2009
Alex

I think it’s really important to stand your ground and voice your opinion, if not who will take you seriously. By you speaking out you have benefited other stepparents out there. Both my parents are divorced and Since i was 12 I lived with my Father and stepmother, She pretty much helped raise me during adolescence and part of my adulthood. I love her but of course could not replace my mother, and growing up sometimes she did make me mad, but honestly she cared, she listened, and she was always understanding. Now that I’m older I confide much in her.

What brought me to this website, is I met this man and has 3 kids, and I started searching for book that spoke about being a stepmom and that’s when I came across “A Career Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Stepmom: Expert Advice from Other Stepmoms on How to Juggle Your Job, Your Marriage, and Your New Stepkids” to get an idea of what I should expect. I must say when Jaque begins the book about how she met Arne, and how he has 3 kids and what not I couldn’t help but laugh to myself because it reminded of Randall and how he has 3 kids. Also, I could not help but agree when she thought to herself how made she was at the world that her prince would have already been married and had 3 kids, I thought the same thing.

I’ve always been pretty goal oriented; I am still young but very focused on what I want to do with my career. Because my parents are divorced they always taught me the importance of going to college, getting your degree, starting your career and not depend on a man. I graduated with my Bachelor in Fine Art with a Major in Interior Design (pretty much interior architecture) and hoping before the time I am 28 I will have my M.B.A. in Design Strategy. I am currently starting my own business on the side and hope to have it up and running in the next 2 months. Currently I am working as an administrative assistant for a company right now.

When I came across Jaque’s book it was nice to see there are woman out there who have never been married or have not had kids of their own, but yet are still creating successful relationships with their partners. I only got to read a few pages on the internet so I am waiting for the book in the mail to finish reading it! 

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