A heartbreaking viral story illustrates why parents should steer clear of partners who aren't willing to treat stepchildren as their own.

By Maressa Brown
October 19, 2020
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Dating is hard. Dating when you're a parent is even rougher. But asking that a serious partner accept your child as their own is never too much. In fact, it should be the bare minimum. After all, if they don't, you might end up contending with a heartbreaking scenario illustrated by a mom in a Facebook group called Photoshop Fairy Connection.

In screen caps that have since gone viral, the mom asked the group if anyone "could remove the center kid," offering $10 for the gig, and sharing a text with the photographer granting permission for editing. In the text, the mom says she'd like permission to find out if her "stepson can be removed."

After the screenshots were shared on Twitter, the stepmom was met with intense backlash.

Some people shared how hurtful it is to be the stepchild who isn't included in their parent's new blended family, pointing out that it's usually not just the stepparent but the biological parent whose to blame for exclusion.

"When I was a child my ex-stepmother planned a family photo with just her daughter and my two half-siblings with my dad. They made no attempt to have me included," wrote Twitter user Peyton Placer. "I had to see that picture for every visit to my dad's thereafter. It still stings and I'm an adult."

Others shared how their partner stepped up to the task of being a stepparent without any questions asked—as it should be. Katie Mogg wrote that her husband is not the biological dad of her eldest child, but "he's taken on my son like his own and he's happy to have him in photos."

Ultimately, someone took the editing job, and the mom changed her profile picture to the version without her stepson.

It does bear noting that there might be circumstances the internet isn't fully aware of. As one Twitter user pointed out, it's possible the stepchild's biological mom has privacy concerns. Kendra Holten noted that perhaps "bio-mom doesn't want photos of her kid posted on Facebook or some other reason she included the child in all of the pictures but needed him Photoshopped out of only one? People are quick to jump to judgment without any real information."

Nonetheless, the controversy serves as a reminder that a couple whose new life together involves a child from a previous relationship need to be on the same page about step-parenthood. As Twitter user @thewitchydoula pointed out, "Don’t get involved with someone who has a kid if you’re not willing to view them as one of your own. Kids deserve better."

Photographer taking family portrait on beach
Credit: Getty Images