I am being very vulnerable now. Earlier, I posted a picture of a blended family. It is a picture of the family I wanted for my stepdaughter. I wanted for us to be there at her soccer games. I wanted for her siblings from our family and her siblings from her mom’s family to get to know each other and maybe be friends. I wanted peace in her life. The truth is my stepdaughter never got to do sports or any extracurricular activities, and if she did, they were short-lived because her mom is a substance abuser. Meth was/is her drug of choice. We played the game and when she was taken away, we fought and fought to gain custody of her. However, we lost and she was returned back to a home marred by drugs, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. This past summer, she came to us saying she was ready to leave her mom and come live with us. In fact, she begged us. This time, we thought we could convince her mom to let her come live with us by not involving the courts and by paying her off—yes, as horrible as that sounds we were going to bribe her mother for custody. When push came to shove, we realized we had been duped again. This time it wasn’t by her mother, her mother’s family, nor the court system. This time it was by my stepdaughter. She used us to make her mother jealous and when she got the attention she wanted, she told us she didn’t want to have to choose between us. We severed all ties between her and us. We had to shield our family which consists of two young kids from the emotional abuse she inflicted upon us. It’s been over seven months since we last spoke to her, but not a day goes by that we don’t think about her, pray for her and hope that she’ll be okay. While we know her behavior is indicative of the abuse she’s experienced, it still doesn’t hurt any less to have your child—stepchild or not, she’s still my child too—hurt you.