my husband is not my oldest daughters biological father.

RaeLynn - posted on 12/31/2009 ( 269 moms have responded )

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My husband is not my 5yr olds real dad. We are unsure of when an apporpirate age is of when to tell her. One of my sister - in- laws thinks we should tell her right now, so much so she bought a book for her about adoption. ( my husband adopted her). My daughter has not seen the book nor do I ever want her to, EVER! My mother & father - in law think when she is around 7 or 8.



I myself dont realy want to tell her until she is older. I have seen first hand a really bad reaction to a child finding out before 10 yrs old that her dad wasnt her 'real' dad. And my husband and I do not want to live in that kind of hell. But I also know that a bad reaction can happen at any age. I guess I think if we tell her when she is around 15 or 16, we may only have to live in a hell for a few years before she decides to leave home.



I guess Im just looking for outside opinions, possibly from women who are in the same situation as myself.

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Rosie - posted on 12/31/2009

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tell her as soon as possible! i have 2 stories to tell you. my husband is not the father of my oldest son. his biological dad has never been involved so he is his dad-he recently adopted him (he's nine now). we told my son at about the age of five, when i thought he could understand a little. i simply told him he has 2 daddys. one who made him, and one who takes care of him. his daddy who made him was unable to take care of him so his daddy chad(my husband) loved him so much that he takes care of him. i don't tell him anything negative about his bio dad (even though i think about it!lol!) just simply that he was unable to take care of him. he seems to understand and always calls him dad and we are a great family unit.
second story-my husband was told that a man named bill was his father and bill even went along with this-paying child support and so on- even though his mom and bill divorced when he was an infant. when he was 14 he found out by overhearing a conversation his mom and step-dad were having about his biological dad ,who's name is kevin. my husband was soooooo hurt and betrayed by his parents. he does have a relationship with both of his parents (mom and bill). but he just could not believe that his parents would keep something like that from him. i firmly believe that telling your daughter now would be for the best, it will save her from alot of heartache and questions about who she is and where she came from. she already knows who her "real" father is-your husband, and telling her about her bio-dad will not take anything away from their relationship as father and daughter. hope this helps, and i hope u don't take as what i'm telling you as the gospel, and that i know better or anything, but i know first hand what happened with my son(he reacted with simple questions) and what happened with my husband (who got devestated by the two people who he thought he could trust the most).

Kate CP - posted on 01/01/2010

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Quoting RaeLynn:

HI. Her biological last saw her when she was 4 1/2 months old. My husband came into her life at 5 1/2months old. Shes never seen a photo of him, but I do have them for her. I dont want to give her the book because the way it is worded ; if it was read to me at 5yrs old I would think that BOTH parents adopted me, not just one.


Then don't read her the book. Sit her down and explain it to her this way: "Your Daddy is *your husband's name here*. Your father, the person who helped to put you in Mommy's tummy, is a different person who can't be here with us. But Daddy loves us so much and cares about us so much that he made you a part of his family. When you're older, if you want to, I can tell you more about your father: the person who helped to make you. But this man, your Daddy, will ALWAYS be here for you and will ALWAYS be your Daddy. No matter what."



Field any questions she has as best as you can. Don't hide this any more. Don't cover it up. Put it in the open and let her know that she is loved and accepted and will always have a Daddy. 



Edited to add: DO NOT SHOW HER A PICTURE OF HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER YET! All that will do is get her looking for him out in public and asking people who look vaguely like him if he's her father. Don't show her the pictures yet. She's not ready.

Sharon - posted on 12/31/2009

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I think, whoever told the children under 10 yrs of age and got a bad reaction - did it wrong.



Telling a child whent they are a teen, a time when they are full of self doubts, self exploration, etc - WRONG.



I had a best friend who always knew she was adopted. she never had an issues with it. She knew why she was given up for adoption and understood that not everyone can keep the baby they birth.



You could have an adoption day where the whole family celebrates the day she was adopted but that might be awkward for the bio kids.



I think, just putting it out there but not making a big deal out of it is the way to go.

Kate CP - posted on 01/01/2010

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I am absolutely shocked and appalled at the number of mothers who won't tell their children the truth. It's naive to think they will never find out. And now because you HAVEN'T told them, when they do find out, it will be a nightmare for you all. Knowing that the person you have called Dad isn't really your Dad doesn't change a person. Knowing that your parents have lied to you your entire life DOES. I'm forever thankful that my mother told me the truth at the beginning. It made my life so much easier and calmer. I never felt betrayed by my parents because they were open and honest with me from the start. My parents had another child, my little sister, and I have never felt different from her or less loved. People constantly comment how much I look like my "Dad"! My biological father died of a brain tumor when I was only 3 months old. I have pictures of him, I know he had other children with a previous marriage. All those things are comforts to me. Nothing was hidden from me. And because of that I harbor no harsh feelings for my parents. I love them and I know they love me. You should tell your child. They will find out eventually; and it sounds a lot better coming from you than some one else.

Sharon - posted on 12/31/2009

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Quoting Heather:

Well my baby is 8 months and her bio. father is a dead beat and her daddy will always be here for her and I dont think i will ever tell her but if i do it wont be until she is like 18. The only reason I would tell her would be medical reasons. It doesnt matter if he loves her... It will only hurt her right now. Nothing good could come from her finding out that the mad that she thought was her daddy isnt really... She would think you were telling her because daddy doesnt love her as much as much as the other kids... Put yourself in her 5 year old shoes. Do you really think she needs that stress added. Im not trying to be mean at all but just think about it a lot before you do anything... And it has nothing to do with your sister-in-law. If she still tries to say stuff just tell her to back up and let you raise your own kids... Sounds like your husband is a great man wouldnt you want her to think that great man was her daddy?



Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.



So um, you hooked up with a crap head, gave birth to his child knowing he was a crap head and less than a year later you've found the love of your life? 



You are terribly immature.  Your actions show it, your reply screams it.



Do you really think during the stress of a medical emergency your beloved child needs to hear "no he can't be donor, he's not your biological father."  WTF?  Whammo - potential death, umpteen years of lies, betrayal, confusion about who/what she is.... REALLY?  REALLY?   You think THATS a good idea???



The OPs child is 5.  They're quite simple in their understanding.  Most of them have have stepdads, adoptive dad & dad, a friend who has 2 mommies, and shit like that already.  They're quite capable of grasping a lot without "stress".



Her daddy is a great man.  Her daddy raised her.  Her daddy changed her diapers, bandaged her knees, and brushed her hair.



Her daddy helped her with homework. Her daddy taught her how to ride a bike.  Her daddy LOVED HER THROUGH IT ALL.



 



Her sperm donor is another set of statements.

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Jodi - posted on 01/08/2010

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Thank you, ladies, for your replies to this post.

Jodi Adams
CoM Moderator

Sarah - posted on 01/08/2010

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Well no matter what he is her daddy. As far biologically Id tell her about 8 thats when kids reach that certain understanding of things. Just be prepared to answer when she asked who is her blood daddy is and why he isnt around. Just tell her the truth as softly as possible. itll be ok.

Veronica - posted on 01/08/2010

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Speaking from experience, as a mother in the same situation in the past. I believe you should tell her as soon as possible. My husband and I told my son at the age of 5. He took it really really well and has been very much adjusted. My son even knows his bio father and wants nothing to do with him. She might not understand completely now but she will learn very quickly exactly what he is to her.

Bonni - posted on 01/08/2010

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Judging from the gist of this post can I assume that her biological father is not in the picture or involved with her. That was the case with me 31 years ago when I had my son. Single parenthood, namely mothers choosing to raise the child alone was less 'popular' than it is now and at least as challenging. I met my husband when my son was 4 and a few years later had our daughter. There are 7 years between them. My son is bi-racial and his dad (my husband) adopted him when he was 12 and Derek could decide with us. It was about that time when I broached the subject of his biological parentage. The questions began more towards puberty (around 13). I answered them honestly and gave him really no more information than he asked for. First of all, follow your own hearts rather than the unsolicited advice of seeming well intentioned friends and relatives. The situation is yours to handle. Your husband is her father, quite possibly the only one she's known. He loves her. She loves him. She really doesn't need to know much more than that until she is much older than she is.

I can tell you that my son loves and respects his dad (my husband) to the max, he is the man that raised him, went camping with him and shed the tears when his son thanked him in his high school valedictorian speech for CHOOSING to be his father. There were 500 people in the auditorium and not many dry eyes in the house....lol. I hope the same happens for you one day. So, to sum this up I would say 10-12, unless 'word gets out' (and it may) then earlier and honestly.

.... and one more thing. Take "we may have to live in hell for a few years" out of your thought process, for obvious reasons. It doesn't have to be hell. Good luck.

Denee - posted on 01/08/2010

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That is a tough one. Nobody can tell you what is right for your situation but, I can say this. My husband was not the father of my first two children. My situation was a little different, my two children were in my wedding at the ages 7 and 8. The one thing they knew was that he loved them and when we had more children, they knew and felt part of the family. There is no right answer accept the one you choose. Everyone has different roles to play. I kinda think your sister-in-law (although I am sure she means well) needs to butt out and respect you both as parents.

My mother was adopted and knew her whole life but, she also had 3 adopted brothers and there was only one biological child in the family along with all the foster kids my grandmother would bring in and out. She said she knew she was loved no matter what. One thing to think about is when you do tell her, she will feel rejected (alot of children do but, girls are the worst at those feelings) and there is nothing you will be able to do about that part accept make sure to keep building up the self confidence she will need to get through it. Any age will be rough but, I agree with you that she is very young. I myself, in your situation, would probably not say anything until I knew for a fact that she was strong (and by strong I don't just mean able) enough to handle it. You probably will not know that if she is strong enough until in her late teens. If she is wise in her choices and adult enough to understand it. Other than that, let her have her family with no strings attached so she doesn't have to feel different than the other kids or just sad thinking "He's not my daddy" Because she will even if she tries not to. My two older children are now 21 and 22 and I have 3 others and one on the way. One thing my children ALL know is how much my husband loves them and would do anything for any of them. He never treated them different and loved/loves them all so much. My older children will tell you however, no matter what you do, they will always feel a little out of the box because dad is in one way not thier's. They have both turned into beautiful adults. Some teen trials but, always very good kids. He was a great example to them then and still is. They know thier real father and can see the difference of working hard or not. They also know he worked that hard for them. Most of this is them as an adult looking back. He coached hockey teams for them and took them everywhere he could, camping and vacations. They were truely blessed as was I when he came into our lives.

I hope this helps a little. It is so hard to figure out what is right as a parent but, as a parent, you just make the best choice for YOUR family. Everyone else needs to butt out and respect it. I would even say it to them lol "I love you but, you need to butt out and respect us as parents, this is what is right for OUR family"

Of course the only other factor is illnesses and family history so you will need to tell her one day but, I vote, let her stay little and deal with the little stuff, the big stuff will still be there when she is big. Let her have her daddy, the only one she knows :)

Best of luck :)

[deleted account]

I am in the same boat as yourself. My husband adopted my 8 year old daughter when she was 3 years old. Every year we celebrate her adoption day (6/14) with going out to dinner at a resturant of her choice. We have never tried to hide it from her because like yourself we were scared of the fall out.



You said that you want to wait until she is 15 or 16...just think about how hard those years are. She might feel that you have been lying to her her whole life and instead of "living in a hell for a few years before she decides to leave home" she may leave and never look back.



If I were you, I would tell her. Your husband adopting her is a beauitful thing and there is nothing shameful or negative. If anything she will grow to love your husband even more than she already does because he wanted to be her dad, instead of having to be her dad.



There is the saying that anyone can be a father, but only special men are called daddy. Your daughter is lucky to have a daddy in her life!



Of course this is only be opinion and you and your husband are the only ones that can make decide to tell her, or not.

Christie - posted on 01/08/2010

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I know that a lot of kids feel like they have hade secrets hidden from them when they are older and find out - and start to mistrust their parents (aka: what else are they hiding)..as a few have mentioned. I know many adopted children, who all know they are adopted (at ages from 2-13) and they are all very comfortable with it, but it depended upon how their parents presented it; of course, if it is because her real dad just didn't have the ability to be a responsible parent, then you can tell her when she is older and can understand how events happen around relationships; just be sure to love her strongly and keep things open at all times. Especially when things start coming up about who she looks like - try not to lie or she will remember when you do tell her.

Lee - posted on 01/08/2010

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Kia ora RaeLynn. My father is not my biologcal father and i have two siblings who do carry his blood. I am now 36 years of age. I have always known that my father is not my bio for as long as i can remember. I always knew who (by photo) was my bio although this may be different for your daughter as she is adopted. I chose to meet my father when i was 30. However is that through whanau or outside adoption. I think the longer you leave it the harder it will be. You mention avoiding the hell that you have witnessed elsewhere,. Are you thinking of her hell or your own? I have always known that i am loved and it is a priviledge to know that even though someone may not have created me, they chose me!!! If you leave it longer, i fear your daughter will resent you for keeping it from her. When she realises that others knew and not her, she will feel like the poor lil girl who had no daddy. I dont mean to sound harsh, but i think you should put your daughters future ahead of your ability to deal with the situation. As long as she is treated exactly the same as her siblings, she will be fine. Honesty is the best policy!!

Mandie - posted on 01/08/2010

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I don't know from personal experience, but I will tell you that a friend of mine's husband adopted her oldest daughter when she was three. They told the little girl when she was around 5 years old. I am not 100% sure of how the whole conversation went down, but the sweetest part of what they told her is that her daddy (adopted father) chose her! That made her special because she had younger siblings. I hope that makes some sense. I am also a Children's Counselor and have some experience with these situations. Here is my "two cents"...



What is most important is that you build a strong foundation of love and respect between you and your children. Honesty in communication is the best way to build this. If you expect honesty from your child (esp. in those teen years) then you have to prove know that you are honest as well. Remember children do more of what You do that what you say. I would suggest not waiting until the teenage years. They are traumatic enough! 5 year olds are very smart! Age is just a number and you know your child best, but remember to they are people just like you. They surprise us often!



I would look at the other circumstances that are going on in your life (not just the age). Is there any other big changes, i.e. starting school, moving, new sibling, etc.. going on that this new information may compound. Remember the time of day may affect the child. Young children are far more alert in the morning than in the afternoon or evening. I would also suggest that you and your husband have a "run through" of the conversation, so that you guys can be on the same page about the information and how to share it. This will help to not cause any confusion in the conversation and any unnecessary strain on your marriage. Let them ask questions, too. The rule of thumb with a child is that if they don't ask any questions after you explain something to them, then the get it. On the same token, be ready for questions in a couple of years when there new brain "power" starts allowing them to process things differently. Children up until age 8-10 are very concerete, its all black and white thinkers, but after this age they start thinking more abstractly, "out of the box".



I praise you for taking the time to really think through and go to others for advice. This is definitely not something you want to rush into.



I hope that I helped some. God Bless you in your decision!



Mandie

Julie - posted on 01/08/2010

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I think you are a very caring and loving mommy to be so concerned about this. And may God bless you and your husband for what you do for her! My personal experience gives this opinion: Please find someone intelligent (and I'm not saying that you aren't, by any means!) and trustworthy to talk with about your concerns. This could be a pastor or even a licensed therapist. Maybe a few few visits with one of them (or even both!) to tell them what you've shared with us, and let them get to know you, your hubby and your daughter a little bit, then help you to make the decision as to when to let her know the truth. I think an "outsider's" opinion would be very valuable! And I wish you luck in anything you choose to do!

Colleen - posted on 01/08/2010

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OMG! My husband adopted my daugter as well. She is now 6 years old! I feel that she is too young to understand everything at this point....It is not good to hold anything back, as she may have a difficult time later in life with trust issues. We do subtle things such as we have a family adoption party (I have a step-daughter and son with my husband) every year marking the day that we became a family. We have cake and talk about the love that we have for each other. My husband and I point out other little girls around the age of 15 months (the age in which my husband and I met) and say things like "that is how big you were when daddy and I met" or he will say "you were so little when I met you." We also discuss how we as a family all went to see the judge to make us a family. I have a picture from that day in a frame and occasionally say that was our special day.



I am also a teacher so I have seen what not telling a child can do, but you need to be realistic about what they understand and at what ages. If you always plant the seed about a special day she we always remember "something" she will come to you as she learns to process the info.



The movie Superman is a favorite in our home....he was adopted!!!



I hope that this helps as I never found a book for my exact situation (biological father never was in the picture, but not deseased and being adopted by only one of the parents).



I wish you and your family the best!

Becky - posted on 01/08/2010

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My husband adopted my son as well. Every year on the date that the adoptions was finalized we celebrate his adopted birthday. When he starts asking questions that I can't easily answer then that is when we will explain it to him. He is 6 right now and last year his question was why to we celebrate my adoption birthday and I said it is the day you became a Kephart. He was content with that so that's where it stayed. When he is not content then he is ready to know that whole truth.

[deleted account]

My son was adopted by my husband at age 5 and he fully participated in the process. We where very open about it because we didn't want him to find out from someone else. Plus we didn't want it to seem like a shame-full secret. My husband is a better man in my boys eyes for stepping up and taking care of his 'son'. I felt it was right for our family to put them in a spotlight.

Your daughter may already be fully aware of what is happening, little ears do listen to us talk to others. I think that however U choose to present it to her will affect her response. If U act like it's no big deal or it makes U love her dad more then she will follow suit. Plus it takes alot of energy to keep a secret that big, do U really want to spend her childhood that busy?

Katie - posted on 01/08/2010

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When we went to the process of adopting we had to read a book on open adoptions. They really suggest telling them ASAP, so its natural just a part of life. If you wait till they are older you risk making themselves seem different from their peers. If you approach it as "this is part of the reason we think you are sooooo special", and tell them they can ask you about it any time. Then they usually except it and will confront you with it later but more of an inquisitive nature about their biological Dad. They are also less likely to assume that you are keeping other things from them. I hope this helps- good like in what ever decision you make.

Shellie - posted on 01/08/2010

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i feel your pain. im going threw it now. my daughter is 16 an cant handle it. im not gunna go into detail of the relationship between me an the sperm donor but will say it wuznt pretty. but i didnt even get to tell my daughter other so called family did. an since then it has been hell.jus last wk she told me she dont want to b around me, packed bags an took off to a friends house. so i dont reccamend telling her till she is an adult

Darlene - posted on 01/08/2010

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Quoting Kate:

I am absolutely shocked and appalled at the number of mothers who won't tell their children the truth. It's naive to think they will never find out. And now because you HAVEN'T told them, when they do find out, it will be a nightmare for you all. Knowing that the person you have called Dad isn't really your Dad doesn't change a person. Knowing that your parents have lied to you your entire life DOES. I'm forever thankful that my mother told me the truth at the beginning. It made my life so much easier and calmer. I never felt betrayed by my parents because they were open and honest with me from the start. My parents had another child, my little sister, and I have never felt different from her or less loved. People constantly comment how much I look like my "Dad"! My biological father died of a brain tumor when I was only 3 months old. I have pictures of him, I know he had other children with a previous marriage. All those things are comforts to me. Nothing was hidden from me. And because of that I harbor no harsh feelings for my parents. I love them and I know they love me. You should tell your child. They will find out eventually; and it sounds a lot better coming from you than some one else.



Kate,



You and me both, sister!  I just cannot believe the number of moms who prefer to stick their heads in the sand about something like this!



 



Ignorance is not bliss with an issue like this.  It just seems to me that the motivation for NOT  telling the child is that there is a lot of anger toward the bio-dad.  While I will acknowledge that Mom may have the right to be angry at him, THIS IS NOT ABOUT HIM!



Quick Question for those who advocated NOT TELLING THE CHILD:



DO YOU LOVE YOUR CHILD MORE THAN YOU DESPISE HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER????



I sincerely hope the answer is a resounding "YES"!  If you do, you will be HONEST with them!



 

Darlene - posted on 01/08/2010

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Quoting Barb :

Well said Darlene,
This is such an emotional issue and it's easy to loose sight of what it's really about. It likely hurts her mom and adoptive father more than it will hurt her.
Our children are not possessions. We have simply been given the privilage of loving and raising them to be responsible adults. In my opinion, we owe them the truth in all matters.
It's understandable to be angry with the dead beat dad and want to deal him out of the picture. Unfortunately keeping this secret will not change the fact that she has his genes and he does exist. To deny that is really just hurting her in the end because she WILL find out sooner or later and will feel cheated especially when so many others know around her.
As you say, this child has a right to know about him now and the sooner the better. The younger she is and the more simply it is dealt with, the less it will matter to her. It won't change anything at this young age about her current relationships and what she does with that information when she is older should be up to her.
This is a very interesting thread and I am appreciating what I learn from it.



@Barb



EXACTLY!  BRAVO!



This is my whole point!  As parents, we can be and are very selfish when it comes to our children, our babies, BUT babies grow up with their own thoughts, emotions, and feelings.  We can only make decisions for them for so long!



 



This child, EVERY child has the right to know his/her biological roots!  That is not a privilege that one or the other parent bestows on them, IT IS AN INHERENT RIGHT!



I understand that many of us have a different point of view on WHEN to share this information with a child, but to advocate NOT telling her is incomprehensible and just plain wrong.



 



There are much LARGER issues than the bio-dad and it is shocking to me that so many have tunnel vision.  The comments are essentially saying "what you don't know can't hurt you" are absolutely incorrect.  As someone who has been in this situation and knows about Family Law, you have absolutely no idea how harmful this situation can be BEYOND an uncomfortable conversation with your child.



 



In my opinion, that is exactly what the "Don't tell her" answers are about.  I could care less about what mom/bio-dad's relationship was about, whether he wanted the child or not, signing over parental rights, or upset about how the relationship ended.  THIS IS NOT ABOUT MOM OR HER FEELINGS!



 



One last point I'd like to make about a child's biological heritage beyond the parents:  Do many of you realize that some there are many instances where a child ends up dating, marrying, or having children by a relative because they did not know they were related?  It happens much more often than you think!  And then what? You have no idea of the devastation that this causes!



We as people don't like to think this sort of freaky coincidence happens BUT  IT DOES and much more often than you think!



 

Jaimi - posted on 01/08/2010

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I think when they are a little younger its easier because as they get older they can get more used to the idea. if you shock her when she is older and more opinionated it may be harder on everyone.

Its always your choice though don't let anyone tell you different

Michelle - posted on 01/08/2010

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I have a Daughter who is now 18 year old The man who raised her is not her biological father and she did not know this until six months ago and it made no difference with her but every child is different I feel as a parent we have to discern what is best for our particular circumstance It might hurt her more to know then if she didn't If he loves her He is her father for all intent and purpose but it would make a difference if the biological dad is involve she has a right to know him. I think if your patient she will ask the right questions to let you know it's time.

Maricel - posted on 01/08/2010

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i think telling her the earlier, the better. don't try to hide the truth from her, or it will have a really bad impact on her if she finds out about it herself. maybe at that age she won't fully understand it yet, but a good explanation will be of help. explain things well to her, and assure her that even if your husband is not her "real" dad, he loves her just the same.

Debi - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting Stephanie:

I'd tell her now, otherwise you could rock her world and cause a lack of trust in you that she may never recover from. Explain to her that her Daddy is still her Daddy, but that another man helped send her to him. Something like that.



I agree that I would tell my child at the age you are talking about.



 



I think Stephanies reply is one of the nicest ways to go. I loved that!



 

[deleted account]

Well said Darlene,
This is such an emotional issue and it's easy to loose sight of what it's really about. It likely hurts her mom and adoptive father more than it will hurt her.
Our children are not possessions. We have simply been given the privilage of loving and raising them to be responsible adults. In my opinion, we owe them the truth in all matters.
It's understandable to be angry with the dead beat dad and want to deal him out of the picture. Unfortunately keeping this secret will not change the fact that she has his genes and he does exist. To deny that is really just hurting her in the end because she WILL find out sooner or later and will feel cheated especially when so many others know around her.
As you say, this child has a right to know about him now and the sooner the better. The younger she is and the more simply it is dealt with, the less it will matter to her. It won't change anything at this young age about her current relationships and what she does with that information when she is older should be up to her.
This is a very interesting thread and I am appreciating what I learn from it.

Joann - posted on 01/07/2010

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I think you should go with your gut instincts you know your daughter better then anyone... if you feel she's not ready then don't tell her yet, but if you do decide to tell her about her adoption be very simple...when explaining it... no prolonged boring speech...just facts about the break up between you & her biological father (his name, ect. for her questions). How the man she knows as her dad loved you & her enough to adopt her because he wanted all of you together to be a strong family. At this point you thought it was time she knew because she's smart & old enough to understand that she is very special to you & your husband. Alot of children don't have moms or dads & she has the best of both because she was chosen.

Darlene - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting RaeLynn:

To darlene Hughes:

Her biological dad, NEVER wanted her from the day I told him.
and because of that I dont think he has the right to know her, and he signed over all his parental rights to her with absolutly no hestation.



Hi RaeLynn,



I understand what you are saying, I hear ya!  BUT this is not about her father, this is about your DAUGHTER.  My concern isn't about him; that's his loss!  My concern is that by NOT telling your daughter you are omitting an important part of who she is!  What about his side of the family?  That's what I'm asking and getting at.  Regardless of how you feel about him or his family, your daughter may have siblings.  It's not fair to deny her the right to know about her biological family.  There are issues involved beyond her father. 



As I stated in a second post, my situation is similar.  I did not find out that I my step father wasn't my bio-dad until he and mom divorced.  I was 12.  I was absolutely floored and upset. 



I met my bio-father when I was 18 and then found out I had 2 other sisters and another brother.  They were younger than I was. For many reasons, I do not communicate with my father, however, my brother and 1 of my sister's took the initiative to find me!  They still wanted a relationship with me after 20 years.  I was absolutely surprised and thrilled.  We are in constant communicaiton.  Furthermore, I have 2 uncles that have called me that I  talk to regularly AND I'VE NEVER MET EITHER OF THEM!    All of this and my father still has not picked up the phone!  But you know what?  WHO CARES! 



All of that to say, don't deny her the right to her father's side of the family. Even if things don't work out positively with them later on, at least you did right by her and gave HER the chance to give THEM  a chance!

Brice - posted on 01/07/2010

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My oldest daughter is not my fiances daughter. She knows that and understands that her father is one person and her daddy is with us all the time. She has know this since she was four. I have seen first hand with my father being told at 30 how destructive it can be to tell someone that kind of information late. It was not a good thing for my father to find out. My daughter has handled it pretty well because I was honest with her and explained it to her in the best way possible so as to not discredit her real father and take away from him. She loves both her daddies. She just doesnt see her biological as often as she may want too. Just explain things in the way that u would want someone to do u if u were in the situation and the shoe was on your foot. I think children know more than we think they do and can handle more than we think. Kids respect honesty more than anything. The not saying anything is what confuses them and then ignites the firey anger. So all in all just be honest whenever u decide to let her know.

Angelena - posted on 01/07/2010

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I understand your situation and recommend waiting till she is at least 10. That's not to say 10 is the magical age where it will be well received. I'd definitely stay away from language like "real dad" because her real dad is the one raising her, comforting her, disciplining her, etc. The other guy is just that, the other guy. Again, I speak from experience. Feel free to PM if you'd like to hear my personal story.

Jennifer - posted on 01/07/2010

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My son is 4 and he is not my husbands biological son. When my son was 3, my husband and I sat him down and basically said "Daddy is your real daddy in every way except that he didn't make you." We felt the need to make the situation seem normal and not make a big deal out of it. We welcome his questions when he has them and he has not gotten angry or had a bad reaction so far. I know that he is young and doesn't yet fully understand what we are talking about but I feel really good about having an open and honest relationship with him.

my heart goes out to you with the decision that you are facing. It's scary not knowing what your daughters reaction will be. I wish you and your family the best.

Denise - posted on 01/07/2010

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My 2 boys are adopted and have always known. It should not be made into a big deal, but the younger the child is when they know, the more normal it seems to them and the less likely you are to have problems with it. At some point when they are angry most kids will try the "your not my real mother/dad or I wish you weren't". One of my bio dtrs did, she had fantasized a much nicer fairy princess mom instead of me. There are some really great books available for parents on how to talk to kids and also kids books.

Stacie - posted on 01/07/2010

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Each child is different. Each situation is different. The best advice I can give is you tell her when you think she is ready, but don't lie. If she asks you about it tommorow, tell her the truth. I have two children by two different guys. My oldest has never even seen his biological father. My oldest knows that his brother goes to his daddy's house every week. Both my children love my husband and call him daddy, but they know at a young age that he is not their biological daddy. I told my children only when they asked me about it, and only as much as I think they can handle. I never answer a question completely if it means making the other parent look bad. My five year old has trouble understanding that he has an absent parent. Don't tramatise her by bringing up the conversation yet if you think she can't handle it. You know her best but don't wait forever to tell her. Remember, always be honest with your child.

Amanda - posted on 01/07/2010

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from my own experience my mom married my step dad when i was five...i knew from the beginning that he was not my dad even called him tim for a year...as i got older i started calling him dad..he is all i know as a father..i did keep in touch with my real dad off and on threw the years..i quite talking to him after i went and saw him when i was 18...i called him two weeks before my oldest turned two and told him he was a grandfather..i then began again talking to him threw out the three years...i even told him i was pg last jan....my real dad died when i was six months pg last july.....my step dad did not want to adopted me only b.c. he new i all ready had a dad and my biological father would not let him....i love my step dad very much and he is my dad no matter if i was his child or not..he raised me and loved me when i needed it the most...for me its been rough and hard for me to understand all of it...i still wonder why my real dad didnt want to be my dad...adoption is a great thing and she is very lucky to have two loving parents..my husband was adopted and knew from the time he was brought home they did not keep it from him...his adoptive parents are his parents..you need to do what you think is best...either way if she learns now you can explain things as she asks them if you tell her later she may have a grudge towards you for not telling her...any boy can make a baby it takes a man to be a father and to raise them....and if your wondering if she will understand...just remember that most 5 year olds are smartter then what we give them credit for...you dont have to tell her all the details now...you can just give her answers to her questions as she asks them...either way you need to do what is right for you and your family if you feel you need to wait then you should wait...i hope this helps a little...

[deleted account]

I believe that Kati Brown is dead on with her advice. Tell your child that she is lucky because she has two daddies. This is no more unusual than two grandmothers or a dad and a step dad.

Keep your answers as simple as possible re the first dad. She is at an age where she probably won't have many questions because it doesn't mean much to her now. Don't make it a big deal and she will be fine. Share only age appropriate info now and tell her more as she gets older. if she asks.

My experience is that the younger the child, the more resilient they are.

I had my son (first born) taken from me in 1966 because at that time if you were not married you were considered unfit...didn't matter how old you were. I was 20 and never wanted to lose him but was not given a choice...it's just the way it was.

When I got married a couple of years later and had two daughters, I told them long before they could really understand that they had a brother. They grew up with the information and so when my son and I were reunited (he was 38), it was a joyous thing as opposed to a shock.

Family secrets surface and when they do it is often ugly.

You have the opportunity to avoid it now.

Think about why you hesitate...is it to protect the parents or the child? Something to really think about.

Good luck.

Maria - posted on 01/07/2010

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I honestly think you should tell your daughter as soon as possible, cause when i was 11yrs old, I found out that the man that was with my mother wasnt really my real dad,and i got mad as hell, and hated her for lying to me, i still never got over it, but if you and your daughter is real close then she should understand when you decide to tell her, ty marie

Emily - posted on 01/07/2010

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you should tell her, when she first begins asking questions.. but tell her, what is age appropriate for her.. i was adopted.. i began noticing small discrepancies.. began realizing that i didn't look like my other relatives (and they were very small differences). my mother told me.. no big blow outs here. it really depends upon that child's temperment, and what she is willing to (and not willing to) tolerate.. for me it was like a bolt of thunder. every question that i ever had (about our differences), finally came into perspective. intuitively, i had always known. i think that if you wait until much later, it will hamper her trust for her... not something you would want to do during those formative teenage years.

SUSAN - posted on 01/07/2010

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I was 8 when my mom & dad brought me into their room, and sat me down on the bed, and told me I was adopted. I wouldnt wait. She may feel some type of betrayal if told at 15 or 16. She will always have questions, maybe not all atfirst, but maybe just one day out of the blue ask you, so dont be caught off-guard. My parents chose me. I was one of the lucky ones. 1 1/2years ago, I found my biological family. The reunion was WONDERFUL, and we talk every month. Good Luck and God Bless.....

[deleted account]

Rose, Tell her right now. You should have "normalized" this reality long ago - but now is a good time. without drama, tell her that she was adopted by your husband when he joined your family, and that the person who you made her with is not around anymore. She also needs to know that your husband is her "real father" now, and that he will love and care for her always. She will ask where her biological father is. be honest. if you have a loving home, she will be fine. I have two adopted daughters. Our favorite bedtime activity many nights was me telling their story of when I fell in love with them and how we became a family. Make a ritual of telling your daughter how your family became the wonderful family it now is. Punctuate the story with details about when your current husband and you fell in love, and when he first met your daughter.

The longer you wait - the more angry and confused she will be. 15 is the hardest time for girls...way too late to have this kind of news.

Talk to other adoptive parents who have been open from the beginning.

As for her being upset - she will adjust as long as she has a loving family to assure her that she is important and much loved. Yes- adopted kids will experience anxiety and confusion, and some will long for a relationship with biological relatives. You can help her navigate that too.

my advice is to start now.

elizabeth

Maria - posted on 01/07/2010

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I have several friends who come from families where one parent adopted the eldest child, and I have seen many and varied reactions to the news, but what always seemed to be the worst was when the parents did not address the issue frankly with their child.

What you are talking about here is simply biology, not the love of a father, as your daughter gets that from your husband, and it's important that she knows that's how you see it. Still, it's natural that questions arise, so you should tell her at a time when you feel like you can answer those questions honestly, but also be prepared for following questions over the years. It's a natural part of growing up.

If you tell her too late (like in her teens) she may feel like you feel it's a shameful thing, which it doesn't seem like you do.

In time she will come to see that love and family ties is what make you all special to each other, even if she goes through the "you're not my "real"father" stage. I've seen it over and over.

User - posted on 01/07/2010

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I'm in the same situation. I had a daughter out wedlock and my husband is not her real dad either. It's hard to make that decision when everyone around you tells you when you should tell her. I believe that you should not tell her until she starts asking questions. You would hate to tell her now and it tramatizes her and she's mad and you and your husband. Plus it might be better to wait until she's older cause she will be older and more mature and able to understand alot better.

[deleted account]

Quoting RaeLynn:

my husband is not my oldest daughters biological father.

My husband is not my 5yr olds real dad. We are unsure of when an apporpirate age is of when to tell her. One of my sister - in- laws thinks we should tell her right now, so much so she bought a book for her about adoption. ( my husband adopted her). My daughter has not seen the book nor do I ever want her to, EVER! My mother & father - in law think when she is around 7 or 8.

I myself dont realy want to tell her until she is older. I have seen first hand a really bad reaction to a child finding out before 10 yrs old that her dad wasnt her 'real' dad. And my husband and I do not want to live in that kind of hell. But I also know that a bad reaction can happen at any age. I guess I think if we tell her when she is around 15 or 16, we may only have to live in a hell for a few years before she decides to leave home.

I guess Im just looking for outside opinions, possibly from women who are in the same situation as myself.


 

Rose - posted on 01/07/2010

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Why would you want to tell her if her real that isn't involved. the question is if your husband doesn't mind not telling her then why should you make your little girls world upside down if there is no need for it. it will only deatroy her.

Rene - posted on 01/07/2010

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?Question? Is the Real dad in her life or does he want to be? If not then don't, I think it will confus her I had the same issue as a child my dad is not my dad but when I wanted to meet my real dad he treated me so bad so the one that is there and is dad let him be dad, don't bring bad drama to your home

Kathie - posted on 01/07/2010

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I don't think I would tell her until she starts asking questions. Regarding her dad not being her "real" Dad, always remember that any man can be a father, it takes a real man to be a Daddy. Sounds like your husband is truly her "Daddy" especially since he has honestly earned the name.

Rebekah - posted on 01/07/2010

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In my opinion if her real dad is not around and wont ever be around then there is no reason to tell her at all. The thing that could make it a bad situation is if her biological father shows up and wants to meet her one day. Obviously your husband loves her and treats her as his real daughter then he is her real father. I don't view it as keeping it secret from her either. He is the one that is there for her, the one that she calls daddy then he is her dad. If you are going to tell her then there isn't a specific age that is the right time. If she will be upset about it then she will be upset no matter what age she is. Some people can handle that kind of info with no problems and others have a hard time with it. You know her best so it is up to you when, how and if you tell her. The book is a good way to explain it but I personally would not let any one influence when and how you do it. I would also tell your in laws that it is none of their business and to quit pressuring you. Also 5 years old is not old enough to comprehend a situation such as that. If you are going to tell her I would wait at least until she is over 7 yrs of age. But then again like I said before if she is going to have a problem with it then it doesn't matter the age she is. Good Luck

Jolene - posted on 01/07/2010

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I have a friend who raised her niece along with her own children. The niece was the 4th child in the family of 6 and never knew she wasn't theirs. Their own children didn't even know. They were all very close in age. One year apart, so they did not remember that she was not born to their mom. Until.......the aunt (biological mother) decided to tell the girl. It was not a pretty sight. She all of a sudden saw discrepancies in how she was treated. That were not there, she left home and felt betrayed. She was 15-16 years old. It was very traumatic for her.

I have 2 nieces, one on each side, that my brother, and my brother in law both adopted after marrying the girls mom's when they were 4. Both girls have grown up knowing that they were not these mens blood daughters. Both are now 20 and 23 and LOVE their DADS to death. One of these girls biological father even tried to contact her when she was 18 and my brother told her it was alright with him if she wanted to meet her birth father. He told her, I am comfortable with our relationship, his blood my be in your veins but I was there every time you fell, were hurt, sad, or happy. So, I know I am your Dad. He just gave you life. She decided she didn't want to see her biological father at all that she had a Dad!

So I think the younger the better. Let them know on a child's level. Let them know of the love the 'new' parent has and how proud they are to be her parent. Truth is always the better way.

Just for laughs my brother always teased my niece that he got to pick her to be his daughter and that his 3 biological kids that came later he was stuck with. It was never a bad thing for her.

Danielle - posted on 01/07/2010

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Let me tell you from my perspective. I am 4 of 5 children. my eldest Brother has a different Father but has alwasy been raised by mine. he has ALWAYS know that his BIo Father is not his Dad. Also, with a degree in Early Childhood Development. TELL HER KNOW. not all of it... just enough. Like others have said tell her soem kids have one Dad but she has 2. one helped to make her and the other to raise her. if you do not tell her she can very well be angry at you both later in life. telling her about it know and answering her questions as she thinks of them over her life(she wont ask them all right now) and seeing how much Daddy loves her she will see just how lucky she is. she will not understadn everything and onyl ask what she need to know. keep your answers very simple, with the least amount of words. Example:

Tell her you havea story you want to tell her about her. all kids love hearing storys abotuhem selves. Tell her about the postive things you felt whenyou found out you were pregnant with her and how you felt when Daddy met you and her after she was born

(or during if that is the case) and talk about the wedding show her pictures of you and he at the wedding with her in them as well. tell her how happy he was to be her daddy(have him tell her too and the things he loves about her)

jsut focus on all the positives. when she askes about who her bio dad(becuase your hubby is her REAL dad) is just tell her only positive things and yes, tell her he jsut couldnt take care of her, so daddy said he would.

I know from growing up with my brother has he not known as early as he did he woudl have been very angry with our family. i have friends who coem from similar family as you have. and the few who did not know till later were all hurt they didnt know sooner.

children are much smarter than adults and we need to give them more credit. They havnt learned to feel hurt the same way we have and they learn it from us. so i you make it a positive thing, it will alwasy be a positive thing. and instead of resenting you guys later for not telling her. she will thank you both for loving her and never hiding who she is from herself. it will make her a better person.

Just remember KEEP IT POSITIVE!

Toni - posted on 01/07/2010

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From experience, I have learned that the best time to tell a child they are adopted is as soon as possible. Children are very resilient, and while she may not understand what adoption is at this young age, she will most assuredly know what lying is when she is 15 or 16, because this is what it will feel like to her. Tell her that she is so very special that her daddy chose her above all others as no other little girl would do. As I said, she will not understand what adoption is, but if you are honest with her now, it will be easier to answer her questions when they arise in the future.

Hope this helps....

Toni - posted on 01/07/2010

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From experience, I have learned that the best time to tell a child they are adopted is as soon as possible. Children are very resilient, and while she may not understand what adoption is at this young age, she will most assuredly know what lying is when she is 15 or 16, because this is what it will feel like to her. Tell her that she is so very special that her daddy chose her above all others as no other little girl would do. As I said, she will not understand what adoption is, but if you are honest with her now, it will be easier to answer her questions when they arise in the future.

Hope this helps....

Mellanie - posted on 01/07/2010

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Quoting Kerri:



Quoting christine:

my kiddos belong to same DADDY!!! sorry:d






Why would you reply to someones post like that? Thats rude as hell. So what your kids belong to the same dad. Good for you! There was NO REASON for you to reply with that!






whoopie for you ...if you have nothing positive to add ...move along



 

Nicole - posted on 01/07/2010

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I myself was adopted by my "dad" when I was 6 years old. I was first told about it when I was 10. My mother decided that was the age for me and she was right. I was able to listen and ask questions about the whole thing. I am not sure I could have handled it at a younger age, it was quite hard at 10. But once everything was explained to me and I had my questions answered, I understood why my mom waited to tell me. You are the only one who truly knows your daughter and you will know when it is the right time for her. My mom has told me, you have to trust your gut with certain things and this was one of them. I am also in your boat now, my fiance is not my 4yr old daughter's father. We have discussed this a lot and have decided that we will know when she is ready, it may be at 10 like myself, or it could be later, time will tell. I hope that I have been able to help you. I know what you are going through from both sides and you have to tell your in-laws to back up a few steps and give you some breathing room. This is something that you and your husband need to decide on, cause like I said before you are the ones who know her best.



Best of luck and I wish you and your family the best!!



Nicole C.

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2010

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Well we have the same situation here and we told my oldest when she was 11. She happened to get out her baby picture book and was asking questions about different people that where holding her. She did not ask about her bio dad at the time but my husband and I looked at each other and just knew that, that moment was the right time to tell her. She had reacted totally different then what I had expected. She was totally fine with it. She said ok. She knows that her "Daddy" my husband loves her and he has also adopted her. She knows that we love her and try and do the best to keep her safe and happy. Good luck with your decision!

[deleted account]

Please tell her as soon as possible. My husband grew up this way, thinking his dad was his biological father. His parents were in a happy relationship and felt no need to tell him or his sisters. When he was 14 his mom and dad got a divorce and it came out while he was in court...very traumatic. You should tell her now so she knows how loved she is by her mom and dad (that her dad chose her). It will give her confidence and instill trust in her relationship with you and her father. Make it a special talk with all three of you. If you tell her now when it is not easy for her to understand the logistics it will just become the norm and not be a big deal to her.

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