“The youngest, Carys, was absolutely fine with me as she didn’t really know any different; the middle, Emrys, had some behavioural troubles because of his experiences with his biological dad, and Bronwyn has Asperger’s Syndrome, so it was important for me to approach and build a bond with each child as an individual.” – Adam, Freemason, husband to Christa and step-father to Bronwyn, Emrys and Carys
Like with any challenge, the rewards of becoming part of a blended family can be great. Having an extra person to protect the wellbeing of the family can improve a child’s quality of life, whilst a new brother or sister allows a child to create a special sibling bond to last a lifetime.
Both parents and children can also learn valuable life skills: tolerance, patience and a broader perspective on life are all important lessons from which blended families can benefit.
“I built a relationship with Carys through food; we’d go get a milkshake together and just have fun. With Emrys, I played video games with him because that’s what he was interested in, and with Bronwyn, we’d just go for a walk and talk when she wanted or walk quietly when she didn’t.
I took on a lot of the housework and cooking as that was a role that needed filling. Over time, Christa and I became united as a set of parents – it wasn’t her trying to do it alone anymore.”
For some, joining households can also provide better financial stability. Another income often means being able to split the bills as well as enjoying a few of life’s luxuries such as meals out, holidays and day trips.
However, if life takes an unexpected turn for the worse, some blended families can still find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
“About a year after meeting Christa and the children, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive and rare form of cancer. Overnight, I went from having a well-paid and successful career to having to give up work altogether. I’d still stay in my own flat a lot of the time as I didn’t want the children to see how ill I was.
I received treatment, but developed a vomiting syndrome as a result of my cancer – so even though I eventually received the all-clear, I still couldn’t work because I was constantly being sick. This went on for years.”
Thankfully for Freemasons and their families – whether blended or blood – we are here to support them through a difficult time in their lives. Our support for children and young people extends to step-children and step-grandchildren as we recognise that families can take many different shapes and forms.