Prayers and help! How and when to tell my almost 7 year old about her bio father?

Melissa - posted on 08/01/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter will be 7 this year and starting 1st grade. She does not know about her biological father. He has never seen her or paid anything for her. She has my maiden last name. My husband and I have been married almost 4 years and he has been her "daddy" since she was 2. She doesnt know any different. We have 2 other kids, 2 and 5 months. She is starting to notice differences between her and her siblings and has a different last name than the rest of us. I need to tell her, but dont know how and when? Many of her friends are in the same postion, so I think that will help! If you have any advice, I would love to hear it! Thanks!

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Carla - posted on 08/03/2012

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We're glad you feel better, Melissa. Please keep us updated, when you tell her next year.

If you're satisfied with the answers you have received, would you close this thread? You can start another for the update when the time is right.

God bless, sweetheart!

Chaya - posted on 08/02/2012

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if the child opts to find out on her own, she will, that's not bad, but at age 7, tell her the truth, but nothing more. She'll ask ask more as time goes on. My point isn't to encourage lying, but to withhold information until she's more prepared for it.

Angela - posted on 08/02/2012

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Chaya, I disagree. Withholding the information the child seeks will only make the missing parent more romantic and appealing. A resourceful child will make her own enquiries independently - it happens.

Be kind and Christian in your descriptions of her bio-father. Don't attach any blame to him, just say it was the way things worked out.

Good luck.

Chaya - posted on 08/02/2012

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You should tell her as little as possible as soon as she asks. If you fled an abusive situation, don't tell her until she's a teenager, perhaps even an adult. I have a friend who isn't going to tell her son anything until he's 18, then she'll give him copies of the police reports so he can choose. If he's just too selfish to be a dad, that's not hard to explain. I have a friend who just tells her daughter that her dad isn't going to live with them. Don't openly critisize him, that's like attacking her DNA

Angela - posted on 08/02/2012

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Melissa, you can't exactly hide it when the child is of a different ethnicity! You all sound like a lovely family and I wish you every happiness and success in getting your daughter to understand the situation.

A member of my family had friends (both white) who had a brown baby that clearly appeared to be mixed race. The wife had never been unfaithful to her husband and the birth of this child was a tremendous shock to her. This was many, many years ago before DNA testing and her husband was highly suspicious despite her protestations of innocence. Thorough checks were done along the family trees of both mother and father and it emerged that there HAD been a black ancestor - and this black ancestor was actually on the husband's side of the family! He accepted that his wife had NOT been unfaithful. But the wife was so stressed and shocked that she was unable to keep her baby and the child went to adoption. That's a very sad story but no doubt the couple imagined that their friends, neighbours and people in their community would be making their own judgements and this would be hard for them (and their child) to live with.

I know quite a few people who are adopted, or who have adopted or had their own birth-children adopted because of difficult circumstances. Generally these children need to know from an early age that they were special and chosen by their adoptive parents and that their birth parents loved them so much that they sent them to be brought up by new parents who were able to provide a better life for them because their lives may have been a lot harder had they stayed with their natural parents.

My friend adopted her son whose birth mother was only a very young teenager. The birth mother was given the profiles of six couples, including my friend and her husband. She picked them out herself (whilst still pregnant) as the people she wanted to adopt and raise her baby! My friend told her son he was adopted from a young age. Later when he was 18, she did tell him that if he wanted to trace his first mother she would help and support him in this but he said that SHE was his mother and he didn't feel he needed to seek out anyone else.

Every child is curious about their own origins and it's good to have heartwarming stories to be able to tell them. No child should feel guilty if their biological parents are no longer together.

Approach the issues with love and understanding and your daughter will feel very privileged to have you as her mother and your husband as her father!

Melissa - posted on 08/02/2012

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Angela, that is definitely interesting. The hospital where she was born would not let me put her bio father on the birth certificate, even if I wanted to, because he did not show up! So, I gave her my last name and thats all she has ever known. Thanks again for some wonderful info. And Carla, thank you also. I will definitely be praying for you too. Its so hard. My husband, jokingly, keeps saying, " I would be ok with never telling her." But she has brown hair, brown eyes and darker skin, whereas my other 2 have blonde hair, blue eyes and are WHITE. HeeHee. So, we HAVE to tell her. She has started to ask a few questions, and we just tell her (for now) because that is how God made you! She has accepted it so far! I really appreciate all of the input from you ladies. It means a lot!

Carla - posted on 08/02/2012

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This was also legal when I divorced my first husband, Angela, here in the States. Our (my) two children were registered in school under Allaire, and attended school this way until they graduated. Their drivers' licenses had to be under Jackson, tho. At 18 and 20, they went together to court to have their name changed legally (very minimal charge, no attorney (or solicitor, Angela ;)) necessary).

I am dreading the time when my darling grandchildren will have to be told they are adopted. They are 6 and 5. They were adopted at birth, so we are the only Mom and Dad and Grammy and Papa they have ever known. I know, from talking to people who were either adopted, or adopted children, that telling them as soon as possible is best, but I STILL dread it.

If she is asking questions, she probably needs to know. But I think I would still pray and ask the Father's advice. Whatever you decide, she needs to be secure in you and her step-dad. Our first two kids (mine, but, like you, Melissa, they hadn't seen their bio since they were 4 and 6) knew Mark wasn't their bio dad, HE was the one who took the responsibility at 20 to raise and love them. I think, if your home is secure and loving, it will be okay.

You pray for me, and I'll pray for you. God will tell us all when the time is right. God bless, honey.

Angela - posted on 08/01/2012

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I thought you could just start calling her a surname of your choice (no legal signing of documents, consent needed or anything) and then, after so long, she could keep that name because it had become hers through "common usage". This is permissible in the UK, although the school might not accept it. I believe in the UK, that the child's birth certificate name needs to be on the school records (so it's her "official" name) but as a matter of courtesy the school will call her by the surname you want her to use.

Cant see why her bio-father needs to consent when his name isn't even on her birth certificate! Her bio-father, could, in fact, be anyone you said he was! What if he was dead? What would their rules be then?

The Law is sometimes quite stupid. In the UK, a child born out of wedlock has NO legal relatives except his/her mother. The mother cannot put the father's name on the birth certificate unless he is there to agree to it. Even if he DOES agree to it, the mother does not have to use the father's surname as the child's surname (although she can if she wants to). She may give the child her own surname even though the father's full name is on that certificate, stating that he is the father.

Regardless if the father's name is on the birth certificate and regardless of what surname is being used for the child, the father has NO rights if he is not married to the mother.

If the parents get married later on, the child has NO rights until the parents "legitimate" the child. Even if the child has been registered with the father's surname. IF the child is never legitimated and either or both of the parents die intestate, the child has no right to the estate of either parent, any younger siblings who were born after the couple got married have more rights than the oldest child born out of wedlock! I only found this out recently!

Melissa - posted on 08/01/2012

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Thanks so much, Angela, for your advice. Her father is not on her birth certificate and I am told that after so long it is considered abandonment, but was told he still has rights to her, which I dont understand. I am trying to find out how to legally change her last name, but everything I find says that her bio father has to sign a consent. I dont know where he is. She calls herself by my maiden last name and our last name, but legally for anyone else to call her that (like school) we have to change it. Thank you for the links also. I will check them out!
Melissa

Angela - posted on 08/01/2012

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Not sure what to say here. Is there any reason why she can't have your husband's name? Even if you don't do it "officially" you can do it by regular use so it just becomes her name.

Here are some useful weblinks:

http://singleparents.about.com/od/commun...

http://www.circleofmoms.com/single-moms/...

You could tell your child that you weren't married when she was born and you wanted to keep her all to yourself and not share her with anyone. Add that her bio-father was a bit young and not ready for family life and you were OK with this. Then describe how your met your husband a couple of years later and decided it might be nice for her to have him as a Daddy. Since she was born before Daddy was on the scene in your family, she doesn't have his surname.

Hope this helps!

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