Need Advice- Being Called Dad
My wife’s son was raised till 7 with a deadbeat father who never worked, never provided, never taught him how to play sports, who had and has a major meth problem that has lead to him watching his dad stab himself many different times, beat his mom, fight his own mom threatening to kill her, been locked up 6 times with even 3 warrants out for his arrest for last two years for felony charges, that still stalked and harassed my wife and his son by trying to break into their home, car, and attempted to run them off the road many times. He owes $30,000 in child support that he’s never made a payment on and was taken to court by the state back when it was $5,000, but haven’t been able to catch him to have him served as he’s avoiding the warrants. He has never acted like a father in any sense of the word since he was born, but the child was raised as his behavior is completely normal. When I came into the relationship, he was 8 years old and surrounded by family that never wanted to actual parent him by teaching him things and pushing him to be successful in anything he wants to do. He still had his entire family wipe his butt after each poop and clean the area, he didn’t know how to tie his shoes, or dress himself. He was scared of everything so never slept alone, cried all the time about anything from going to school or dropping his candy on the ground. I instantly accepted him as my son and though I have fought hard with his entire family on my parenting style that is completely geared to him becoming the best version of himself, I stuck with it as I felt the core values would set him up for success. Now he is a lot more energetic and outgoing to where he can make friends, try new food instead of steaks and candy only, has gained such an amazing personality with amazing manners and values. Now every member of his family that doubted me solely because I don’t have a child of my own, can’t stop talking about how great he is and how much he’s grown and they couldn’t be happier that he has someone like me in his life. I have been to every soccer game and practice as well as basketball and now he’s grown so much, I chose to do football all on his own! I’ve taught him how to play every sport and brings out his best abilities for someone not athletic. I was there for him when bullies picked on him and stole his basketball, and I’m always taking him out just him and I to bond. I don’t care what people say that you don’t know love if they aren’t your child and thinks I will treat mine completely different, but I’ve had 8 step moms, 8 step dads, an abusive meth head father who had abandoned me, starved me, and cover my body in bruises for saying “yes thank you” instead of “yes ma’am or sir.” Have a big family and raised my littles sister, and my nieces since birth, but I have never loved a child more than my step son.
Though his father is gone for good for last 3-4 years without even a single word or text about my son, he grew up without his dad around but how the family always blamed his lack of attendance, care, and support, was because it isn’t his actions, it’s “the devils actions alone.” So he truly believes that anything he does, isn’t his fault. Last time he saw his dad when it was just them, he wanted my wife to come home early because he was board and she was with his older sister an hour away, but being 3 in the morning, she told him she will head there as soon as she wakes up. So he went to her parents house at 3am, broke in, shoved her parents, grabbed his son out of bed and threw him in the car to force her to come home sooner. Though it worked, the cops came with and kid was left inside by himself as the father took off running after knowing the cops would come to.
My son looks up to me more than any family member as I am a combat veteran, I am very successful in my job that reports to executives and board members, always getting awards, while always taking college classes to better myself in hopes that he will follow I’m my foot steps and pursuing his dreams, going to college, and make something of himself. He has made me a way better person. I stopped drinking and smoking since I’ve met him, I bought a house in a great neighborhood with the best school programs, to have them out of a run down trailer surrounded by other drug addicts. So to all the nay sayers on its impossible for me to love a step child more than if I had one of my own, absolutely with every inch of my soul, disagree.
That is to provide some insight of my situation and in hopes that I don’t just get hit with opinions only, but by replies of someone that could see themselves in my shoes. I don’t want to force him to call me father or dad even with his dad MIA from his life for 3-4 years, but it does hurt that I pour my soul into him and would take a bullet for him without hesitation, would be nice to at least have his mother’s and my last name on his football jersey this season.
Though I do believe the kid should have the day so on what he calls me, he is still part of the family and the only one without our last name. I don’t want to force it or even trying pushing it as I believe he is scared of his fathers mother as her personality is identical to her sons, so even by some chance he would like to have something related to me, he isn’t at the point where he could accept any conflict to do it. We have a clear cut case to adopt him without his dads consent, which it would be in his best interest for us to have the power on how, if, or when his real father can have a relationship with him if he was to ever show back up to shield him from the drugs, jail, threats, etc. I’m totally open for him to have a relationship, if he becomes clean and actually cares about his well being, but he is 1000% entirely against, chores, rules, rushing him if he wants to stay in bed and be late to school, etc.
I feel like a complete outsider no matter how hard I try and how much I invest as I’m just the step dad that gets called by my first name and though it’s just a name to others, someone like me, it is a lot more. Any variation of father would work for me as it’s the power behind it. Or even just using my last name for a sport season. Anything like that would mean a lot to me, but with his fear of upsetting his dads mom, as she has drilled into his head that no matter what I do for him, I’ll never be his real father because genetics can’t be change.