My son has a dad, but not his biological dad.

Felicia - posted on 02/02/2015 ( 26 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 4. His biological father has never been in the picture. He does has an amazing father figure and I am marrying him in October of 2015. Liam my son has no idea who is real father is or that Ryan my fiance isn't his real dad. But i still feel guilty that my son might be affected when he is older why his biological father was never there. He is also a big druggy and had moved to Texas to get out of trouble. We live in indiana. I know that it's for the best that he isnt around my son, but it still makes me feel bad that maybe.some day he will be very upset or sad about his real dad not "wanting" him. Anybody have similar situations? Maybe words of encouragement? Thanks . -Felicia

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Liliana - posted on 02/03/2015

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I personally grow up knowing that my dad (not biological) was my real dad I found out he wasn't my bio dad until I was 25 yrs old, I have never met my bio - dad at first I want it to just for curiosity to see what got from him but not because I consider him my dad, I have only one dad because he choose to love me and give me everything I need it, because he was the one there when I got sick the other man I thank him for giving me part of his DNA but for me my real dad is the man that choose to be my dad, he is my everything my daddy and best friend, when I fout out I had already 2 kids of my own and the baby daddy of my first one an irresponsible "father" if you can even call him dad that it comes and goes I grew up happier knowing that my dad was my only father that my boy that sees how his dad doesn't really care about him even tho I never talk bad about his dad always the good things about him... for me finding the truth at 25 didn't affect me but it made me more grateful towards my daddy and our relationship even stronger, I couldn't had ask for a better one my mom choose the BEST :D

Jodi - posted on 02/03/2015

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But it won't come up naturally in conversation if the child knows no different. It won't be until he starts to ask questions that are much more mature (around the tween/teen years) that it would come up naturally. That's the problem. When it comes up at that age, it can cause a lot of anger and mistrust.

Sarah - posted on 02/03/2015

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I don't disagree with telling this child the truth. My only suggestion is the way to tell him. I did not say to not tell him but to introduce in a manner he can understand. Even though the bio-dad has decided to sign away his parental rights and allow for the child to be adopted, the child will need to know his medical history. You certainly don't want to have him come home in fourth grade questioning why he has brown eyes when the two parents he knows have blue. All I have said is to follow the child's lead, if he seems ready to comprehend the basics fine, some 3yo are, some are not. I did not suggest never telling him. Thus far he has a mother and a father, parenting together. If the bio-dad was asking to see the child I would feel differently but if this man is completely absent form this boy's life, I'd bring it up when it comes up naturally. Like the story of his birth, or a picture of when mom was pregnant or how the two of his parents met etc. Those topics come up naturally and offer a perfect window to introduce the issue. I personally, and I speak only for myself would not force the topic. If the present father is adopting legally, then there is another time to bring it up and celebrate how fortunate this child is to have two parents.

Raye - posted on 02/03/2015

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Felicia, good news. As I said before, when the adoption goes through, your husband will legally be the "father" of your child. Your son should still know the truth that his bio-dad is someone else. But he should feel lucky that another man has opened his heart and wanted to be a father to child not of his own blood.

You might search Amazon for books on "different families". There are some written for very young kids to help them understand. You could read parts of the book to him and answer his questions.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/03/2015

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4 is not to young to tell him the truth. Kids are resiliant. But telling him later, like in his teens when he is dealing with a whole bunch of hormones, growth, rebellion....(not that she said she would tell him then, just saying for example) would be a lot harder to swallow.

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Sarah - posted on 02/03/2015

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I am not implying that the child will bring it up, but rather the parents be ready for an opportunity. If he asks about how mom and dad met, asks about the day he was born or even how babies are made. All of that came up with mine at four or five. Finding a window to bring it up is the parents job. It is simply the way I would approach it. If the parents think he can understand and they want to tell him now, that's fine. If the current parenting man is going to be adopting in the next few months, that discussion can preface the happy occasion. To make a special point of bringing it up, seems like it would cause more questions and worry for a little guy. Especially since the bio-dad is checked out of the picture, why rush it?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/03/2015

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Sarah, it is going to far more complicate this childs life when/if the bio father wants his rights when the child is older and he has not been told the truth. I have seen it happen. Also, i grew up knowing the truth about my father. I have never met him, and was always thankful my mother did not push a LIE by saying a step parent....or soon to BE step parent was my real father. I knew from a very young age. Younger than this boy.

I have seen the damage NOT telling the truth, or lying by omission....semantics BTW....can do to a childs self esteem, and crush any trust between a mother and child. So IMO, and YES it is MY OPINION due to actually living, and being a part of it, telling this child now will save a lot of heartache and confusion in the future.

Felicia - posted on 02/03/2015

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its already been established. We've already talked To my lawyer. His bio father said he is going to sign over rights because he doesnt want to pay the support which he is super behind like 6 thousand. He has a warrant here where we live in st joe county for now paying support for both of his kids.

Raye - posted on 02/03/2015

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I agree that it could get complicated when/if the step-dad wants to adopt. The bio-dad could all of a sudden get the idea he wants to try to be in the child's life, and not allow the adoption. Or he could be relieved to be "off-the-hook" so to speak. You never know.

My ex-husband has 3 moms: bio, adopted, and step. He was young enough that his memories of his bio-mom have all blurred into being the face of his adopted mom. But he was told the truth and he never had hard feelings toward any of his parents. He has no relationship with his bio-mom (he calls her by her name, not mom). And he's grateful for his adopted mom for being there for him. When they divorced and his dad remarried, he developed a good relationship with his step-mom as well.

Jodi - posted on 02/02/2015

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I'll be honest, I'm a big believe in telling the truth too. My sister-in-law didn't tell her son the truth, and he grew up thinking one man was his father (no, not my brother, it's complicated) and then found out another was. It really messed him up. He was incredibly angry at his mother for not telling him.

I don't think 3 is too young for him to understand he has another daddy who was his daddy first, but that he wasn't really ready to be a daddy. If he can understand that this was the situation (very simplistic), as he gets older, he will ask questions as he is ready to hear the answers. He doesn't have to have an understanding of DNA to gain an ongoing understanding of the fact that there was/is another daddy that isn't here anymore. If you approach it in this way when they are young, it opens the way for age appropriate conversations on an ongoing basis.

Sarah - posted on 02/02/2015

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While I don't dispute that to be honest is the right choice. In this case the mother has allowed her child to call a man "dad" and allow the same man to parent the child. This is not the same thing as telling a child that one man is his biological dad when he is not. Parenting is a behavior, this man has parented, so be it....the child is three, unless the mom got into some sort of discussion regarding DNA, I personally would not consider her a liar. Do I think the child should know the truth? Absolutely, but when he can understand the truth. You don't want him believing he was unworthy of a man's love and attention. Ultimately this is about what is best for the child overall, protecting his self-worth is critical and to raise questions he is too young to understand is unfair. In a perfect world, we could all be perfectly honest and everyone could understand the dynamics of relationships. This world is far from perfect. I hope someday this child can acknowledge his bio-dad and be thankful that he had a man step in to fill that role when he needed it. To expect a three year old to understand is not realistic. So yes, I admit a lie by omission. At what expense would you rather complicate this child's life? To benefit the rights of an absentee father?

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/02/2015

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First, if the child's biological father has not signed away rights, your fiancee will not be legally able to adopt, so this is probably something to address now, rather than in a panic when your ex decides to take you to court for custody when he finds out you're getting married.

It is best to have paternity established, and custody orders on file. Full custody does not mean that your fiancee can adopt, it means that you have full residential custody.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/02/2015

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Actually yes she is lying because the 4 year old thinks her soon to be husband is his real father.

If you have any pictures of his father, that will be helpful.

Sarah - posted on 02/02/2015

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The part I think the OP is concerned about is the bio-dad is out of the picture and she is uncertain how to explain that to a 3yo. She's not lying, she is trying to figure out a way to help her son understand without creating resentment toward the bio-dad. AS bad as the guy may be, he fathered this boy and some day may be wanting and worthy of a relationship.

Dove - posted on 02/02/2015

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Definitely don't use the term 'real dad'... a real dad is the man that does the raising of the child regardless of biology. He has a biological father and a daddy. Some kids have that both in the same man, but HE is lucky enough to have a biological father AND a daddy.

It's really not as complicated as so many people make it out to be to simply raise your child w/ the truth of their lives.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 02/02/2015

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It is NEVER going to be the right time. Make it the right time. It is not fair to your child to have such a huge lie. He will find out some day. He will resent you for lying. Doing it now will make it easier to understand later on in life. You are doing him a disservice by lying. Same for your soon to be husband. What happens if you and the man your son thinks is his father break up? That will make it 10 times more complicated. Do what you want, but you should really be doing what is best for your child. Lying always comes around and bites you in the ass.

Trisha - posted on 02/02/2015

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Even though he is still too young to understand what biological means, I would avoid using the terms "REAL DAD"... if at all possible.

Sarah - posted on 02/02/2015

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This seems to be a hot topic recently, a child this young is going to find concepts like "real dad" and "not your real dad" confusing. By all means it does not have to be a secret. You can introduce the biology component by talking about how he grew inside of your belly. Follow his lead on this. When it comes up, if you let him know that he has a "father" that loves him so very much and he is so lucky because not every little boy has a dad. Also an open dialog about how families come in all shapes and sizes will help as well. You don't know if bio-dad may play a role later in his life so don't bad mouth him. You can tell him that his bio-dad was not ready to be a daddy, or that he needed to take care of himself (if he is an addict this it true). To make it mysterious will make bio-dad seem infallible, honesty when your son starts asking questions will help him have a healthy appreciation of the man who parents him and not hate the man who fathered him. Some cues to start a dialog would be: if your son does not resemble the man he knows, or when he starts with how did you meet, or when is is curious about where babies come from. If you have a photo of his bio-dad, he may want that when he is older.

Raye - posted on 02/02/2015

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If your fiancé adopts him, then it might be easier to explain at that time... that, in the eyes of the law, he actually will be your son's "dad". So he should know that it's not just some guy pretending to be dad. If the bio-dad doesn't allow the adoption, that might be more tricky, but still don't wait forever to tell him. The longer you wait the more he may feel like your fiancé/husband has been just a pretender.

Trisha - posted on 02/02/2015

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He will likely be somewhat upset about the situation. If he finds out at a younger age though, where activity, learning and daily task are always on his mind, he probably won't focus on it for long. You and your fiance might have to cuddle him, and reassure him that your fiance is no LESS his dad, but that his biological dad is someone different.
The longer you wait, the more likely he will be to focus and think about it.

Felicia - posted on 02/02/2015

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I have full custody and my fiance wants to adopt liam right after we get married. I will want to tell my son if ge has questions but i just wish i could know how and when and what will make it sure for him to to be upset about the situation

Raye - posted on 02/02/2015

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I agree with Trisha, there is no "right time". Don't keep it a secret. You don't have to go into detail at such a young age. Just plant the seed in his mind, and if he has questions later try to answer them honestly, but in a way that is not bad-mouthing your ex.

Trisha - posted on 02/02/2015

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..When is it going to be the right time though? You will need to pull it off like a band-aid. There will never be a right time. It honestly, just won't come up conveniently.
Perhaps showing him a picture of his dad, and ask if he knows who it is? When he says no, it will be worth having that conversation.
Honestly, I have never dealt with this myself so I don't know how to go about it, but I think that should be your goal at this point.. Finding a way to tell him.

Raye - posted on 02/02/2015

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Were you granted sole custody in court?
Don't tell your son he was not wanted. Just tell him that his biological father had problems that he felt it was better for his son not to be involved in his life.

My dad has kids by three different women and didn't really want any of them. And I can tell you for a fact that your son's state of mind is going to be shaped by your attitude and actions. My mom never bad mouthed my father and did her best to provide a stable life. My dad was mostly out of the picture when I was 7 and I have only seen him twice since then, both times in my teens. I realized he didn't want a relationship with me, and I got over it. My half-sister, on the other hand, still seeks my dad's approval and is still disappointed by him. She had a less stable childhood with her mom, and I don't know all the details, but obviously has abandonment issues (even in her 40's).

All you can do is do your best for him and try to provide a good life. If he has feelings about it later on, then help him address those feelings and overcome them.

Felicia - posted on 02/02/2015

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But i feel because he is only 4 he will Not understand yet. I will tell him its not going to be a secret. Its Just needs to be the right timing and make sure he understands the whole situation.

Trisha - posted on 02/02/2015

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It will probably be easier for him to accept if you introduce the idea to him now. It will likely upset him, but better now than later. The last thing you want is for the biological dad to come into the picture later down the road (during his preteens) and confuse him. At that point he will just feel betrayed by you.
His father will likely grow up at some point, and settle down and be ready to be a responsible adult. He may be ready to be a father at that point. You should prepare for this to happen, and spare your child the feelings of betrayal by you. He will also always know that he has a dad figure in his life that CHOSE to love him... This should help with any pain he might experience knowing about his true parentage.
Please, for the sake of your own relationship with your son, and your son's feeling and well being, start trying to find ways to tell him the truth.

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