A Blessing from Above (Little Golden Book) by Patti Henderson

By Patti Henderson

Every evening sooner than she is going to sleep, a kangaroo prays less than the celebrities for a child to like and carry. at some point, as she rests lower than a tree, a child poultry falls out of its crowded nest—plop!—right into her pouch!

Now, each evening sooner than they doze off, Momma-Roo and child thank God for all their advantages . . . yet particularly for every other.

The publication closes with a quote from Ephesians 1:5: “In love he destined us for adoption to himself. . . .”

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As ‘Dad’ or some equivalent term representing fatherhood? What should a non-resident stepfather or stepmother be called? How should the parents of a step-parent be addressed? Families resolve these issues in their own ways, but that is Cherlin’s point. There are no strong social guidelines governing these matters (though also see Jacobson, 1995); in this regard, stepfamilies remain incompletely institutionalised. Apart from language, Cherlin (1978) also highlighted the absence of legal and policy interest in stepfamilies as a prime indicator of their incomplete institutionalisation.

The second broad problematic element around terminology in stepfamilies concerns the labels given to specific relationships and the naming procedures involved. While descriptive labels such as ‘stepmother’ and ‘stepfather’ appear quite clear-cut, there are uncertainties Analysing Stepfamilies 23 about the appropriateness of these descriptors. When, for example, does a mother’s new partner become a stepfather? Is it when co-residence starts? Is it only on marriage? Is it the same if the child is not normally resident in the mother’s household?

The study is extremely good at portraying the ways in which ex-spouses continued to have an impact on the respondents’ family experiences. To begin with, when there was continuing contact between a child and the non-resident parent, the need for co-ordination of these activities of itself served to highlight difference from the freedoms associated with organising ‘ordinary’ family life. While in some instances access time allowed the couple precious space to be alone, it could equally result in minor irritations or more serious conflicts, especially when the non-resident parent was thought to be contravening established agreements.

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