How or when should I tell my 8 year old her dad is not her biological dad?

Michelle - posted on 02/03/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My daughter, April, is 8 years old. She has known my husband , Mark, to be her dad since she was 5 months old. I also have a 6 year old boy, Jr., with my husband. Her biological father is not in her life and hasn't been since she was 3 months old. He is not on her birth certificate...it says "father not-stated". I haven't spoken to her biological dad in 8 years but I heard he just had a baby girl with his girlfriend. Up until this point I've always said I would tell her when she gets older. My husband has always said she will never have a reason to ask or doubt anything so we don't even need to think about it. I know that's not realistic but I understand he is in denial and that this will need to be addressed sooner or later. Since I found out her BD (biological dad) had a baby girl I have been overwhelmed with guilt. Like she has a little sister that she has no clue about and I just feel terrible. I know I shouldn't tell her about the baby but I feel I should at least tell her something before she gets any older. She is such a sweet, giving and emotionally mature little girl but I feel she might not be mentally mature to handle such a life changing blow. Nothing would change as the BD is not looking for her or anything like that I just don't want her to find out later and hate me and who she knows to be her dad. I'm so confused. Some people in my family say to tell her when she's older and some say to tell her now so it's not a "you lied to me my entire life" situation later. Please help. My husband and I have talked about having him adopt her but again I've always asked...do we just do the paper work and let her continue with her little simple life or do we make the adoption a special event (i don't think my husband would go for that) then I ask myself do we include my son into the discussion if there should ever be one....he's like 6 going on 60 as opposed to April who is so innocent and pure.....so many questions, so many doubts. Please help

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Sarah - posted on 02/03/2015

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Really it should have been told to her when she was 1 day old and then kept as an open conversation all the way up until now. So you really need to talk to her now today without putting it off any longer. The longer you put it off the more it becomes an issue. If it is something that just is then that is how it is taken and it is not a big deal. The longer it goes being not talked about the more it becomes a "thing" and an issue. She is 8 years old, so she is going to have questions. Be honest and up front!! Start simple and let her guide the conversation. Keep it age appropriate, but be honest. Since you have waiting this long to share there might be some distrust. That is something you will have to earn back from her. The best way of doing that is being open and honest with her.

For adoption you will need to have the bio father's rights terminated first no matter if he is listed on the birth certificate or not. Once the bio father's rights are terminated then you will need to go through the adoption process. This will include a home study and post placement visits and then a finalization after so many months.

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