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Old 07-05-2004, 03:44 PM   #1
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Question how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

my son is now 10 and since he was 7 months old my husband has taken on the role of his father. the biologoical one didnt really want anything to do with him after many attemps to try to my husband dove right and and treats him as though he were his own, which is great!! this is the problem our son is getting older and now needs to be told. how do we tell him? where do we tell him? should we have done this sooner? i dont know any answers to this because ive never had this happen. the same thing happened to me and my mom remarried when i was 2 and my biol. father wanted nothing to do with me so my moms new husband adopted me and he has been my dad ever since, but, my mom and dad always told me what happened from day 1 so i didnt have to go through what our son is going to go through. we are worried he just isnt mature enough to understand this. i know now is about the time we should do it, what next? also im in canada does anyone know the rules as far as my husband leaglly adopting him? any help would be great!!

 
Old 07-05-2004, 08:17 PM   #2
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

Hi! I'm Canadian too. I don't think you'll have a hard time in court getting your husband to adopt your son. Especially since he's been there all along. What I would do in your case to make it much easier and to avoid your x being found and brought into all of this, is first go to court and establish sole custody of your son, unless you've done that already. They will try to find your x to summon him to court, and if they do it will be a simple case of, boy raised by mother and husband, natural father non-existant, primary care to mother. Once sole custody is established, your husband can apply to adopt him, which will require the one with sole custody to agree to it.

It'll take a little longer that was, but it's safer in terms of making sure your ex can't interfere with the adoption process. It will also give your son time to digest everything he will have learned by then.

As for telling him, I would do it asap. If he is close to your husband, be sure to have him present. Don't make a huge deal out of it, and be sure to explain it to him in terms of: Father is the one who raised you, who stands by you, cares for you, loves you, and has always been there. Natural father helped create you, but could not be there to see your grow.
Try not to make his natural father seem like "the bad guy" even if you have reserved feelings about him. Your child is going ot come to his own thoughts and conclusions. Does your son know that you were also raised by someone else? If so you could use that and all of it's positive points to help him come to grips with all of it. Remember that he's probably going to have a lot of questions to ask you.
And personally I think 10 is better than never to tell him. Better now than when he's a teenager going through the full onslaught of hormones.
Be strong through it and good luck.
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Old 07-05-2004, 08:54 PM   #3
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

Thank you so much!! im not worried he will take it hard i really think for a while he is going to think we are kidding! my concern is that if it hits him hard to do it in a place that in the future wont be related to a bad thing, meaning i tell him at mcdonalds and he doesnt want to go there anymore because of that feeling. he does know about me and we have kind of explained things as we have seen on tv so he kind of understands the idea more. his "dad" and i split when i was 3 months pregnant and he was there for his first month of life and then nothing i and my parents have ran into him and his family and he ignores us although he has told my mother this keeps him up at night(eye roll) i dont have much hard feelings for him at all because i got a great kid out of this so....my problem with the court thing is what if he is made aware of the court date and shows up wanting some kind of visitation, i dont want that! im actually all for people seeing their kids, as my stepson sees his mom(we have custody) and my daughter her dad, we have 4 kids altogether, but i feel he will only confuse the child and would eventually leave again so im protecting him, if he wants to meet him when he is older, fine ill deal with the undeservance then but for now he is young and loves his dad to death. i think he will find it wierd more than anything but yes my main concern with the court thing is that the guy will show up and demand visits and i would rather wait on that one until he has run out of rights. both sides of our families know but none of the kids know and no one has even mentioned it but my mom bugs me all the time to tell him and i feel this summer is the time. have you yourself or anyone you know had this experience with the courts? as far as im concerned there should be a statute of limitations on when deadbeats dont see their kids. any help would be great [removed]

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Old 07-06-2004, 08:02 PM   #4
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I have personally been the child in the court room. Because of your son's age, what he wants may have a lot to do with how it all turns out. The best you can do if your x does show up in court is to tell the judge exactly what you've written. This man has never been a part of your son's life. Your son has been raised by some one else, and allowing the natural father into the picture at this point will more than likely only confuse and upset your son. If it comes to the worst, the judge may ask for your son to come into the courtroom and answer some questions, but it is highly unlikely. I'd recommend that you talk to family court (look in your blue pages) and also a social worker if you can. Both can be an immense help for things like this.

Oh, and don't tell him at Mc D's. Tell him at home, where he know's he's loved and comfortable. It'll be easier on him that way!

Good luck. Keep updating!
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:28 AM   #5
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I am in almost the same exact situation. My son is 8. The difference in our situations is my sons "step dad" is now my ex husband. My exhusband took on the role of dad when my son was 3 weeks old and my sons bio father did not want anything to do with him until this year. My ex husband did not adopt my son will "our" son but we did have his last name legally changed to my exhusbands. My ex husband and I also have a daughter together and he gets visitation with both kids. He says that they are both his kids. I really respect that since we got divorced that he did not abandon my son. But all the sudden this year my sons bio dad decides he wants Dylan to know that he is his father although he lives in California and we live in Ohio and he does not plan to move or attempt to see him. I have seen counselors on what to do on telling my son and both of them sugested not to tell him yet. They said kids at the age of 8 are to imature to understand and the fact that his bio dad wants no real relationship with him might hurt him and make him think he is doing something wrong. I plan to tell my son around the age of 11-12 . I guess it is a decision that a parent needs to make on their own based on the child and his maturity and the situation that your family is in. I would suggest seeking some type of counseling to help you make the decision maybe a professional can give you some good advice and if you decide to tell him maybe let him see a counselor. You need to be prepared to tell him why his bio dad is not there for him and it might hurt him. One last thing I suggest if you do tell him is not to put his bio dad down at all because although he might be a looser your son is apart of him and it hurts to have your mother tell you that your father is a looser. And I know that from personal expierence because my mother did it to me when I was growing up. Well sorry this is so long but good luck with whatever decision you make.

 
Old 07-07-2004, 08:03 AM   #6
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

hey the longer the better! i really appreciate the advice you have both given me. im actually thinking of telling my son this summer about whats happening. i would tell him his dads a looser because i dont really see him that way so much as that he has missed out on such an incredible kid! about the court thing i think ill wait on that because id rather have my son be a bit older so he can give his opinion if asked on the situation plus i know where im from(edmonton, alberta) that we are required to use every method available to track the guy down, ie paper ads and such and i know he wouldnt be too hard to find and i dont need him walking in and saying hey this kid is mine and i want to see him, we have had dna testing as he didnt believe he was his kid so that wouldnt come into play because obviously it came out as his child. But i will keep the court thing in mind for a later date. im curious to know how i could change his last name though my m***** name was the only thing name on the birth cert. so im not sure how to do that. either way ill keep you all updated and i cant believe how hard it is to find books and internet info on my situation, it seems to be all on adoption itself.

Last edited by hayley0610; 07-07-2004 at 08:05 AM.

 
Old 07-07-2004, 09:57 PM   #7
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

It cost me around 80$ to change my sons last name about 5 years ago. Anyone can have their name legally changed and if your a minor you only have to have a parents signature. I was receiving child support from my sons bio father so when I had his name changed they sent him a paper saying what I was doing and the date that I was to be in front of a majestrate to do it. well he never showed up and I explained to the judge how my sons father was not apart of his life and he allowed my sons last name to be changed to my husbands "at the time". It actually might be easier for you if your sons bio dad isn't on the birth certificate or he is not paying any kind of child support. By the way my son had my m***** name to. I don't know if it is the same in your area but all you need to do is go to the court house in your county "the same place where people apply for marriage licenses" and ask them for a change of name form. You fill out the form and well I had to post something in some type of paper that people don't even really read and pay the cost and then they will set you a date and you go in and thats it. The name on his birth certificate will even be changed. I hope you let me know how it goes when you tell your son because for me this is the scariest thing I will face raising my child. I am so scared that he will be hurt. By the way I have been explaining to my son that people are lucky if they have 2 moms or 2 dads. More people to love them. Is your son around any step parent families? My son also now understands that I have 2 dads to and thinks I'm lucky. I think if you started to point things out about people sometimes having step parents it might be easier for him to accept that he had 2 dads. also don't you hate when people say that your sons "step" father is his step father. To me my exhusband is the real father not any kind of step in father. Its the bio dad that is not the real father!! Good Luck and keep me posted, its nice to see that there are other people out there in my same situation.

 
Old 07-08-2004, 08:24 AM   #8
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

thanks for the reply. no his dad has never paid child support and i didnt really want him to, its just easier that way. as far as i see it he doesnt exist. about the step parent thing i dont really have that cause no one other than immediate family knows, even some of our friends dont know! of course when you see him anyone with eyes would know he isnt his child. my son doesnt have any idea although he has written things in class like he is special because he is the only one in our family with brown eyes, lol, glad he hasnt figured that one out yet! so no one refers to him being a stepchild and they never will. i had the 2 kids when i met my husband and my oldest daughter is almost 12 and sees her real dad on a regular basis, that situation is fine and she calls my husband by his first name whereas my son calls him dad. my husband and i have also had a child and we won custody of his son as well 3 yrs ago so he lives with us although he sees his mom and we get support from her, he calls me by my first name. it is a very mixed family as you can see but the kids have no clue about this so this is something we would have to talk to them about as well, another thing im not looking forward to. we have shown him stuff to get his brain in motion and ive explained about my situation when i was young to because he has seen things on t.v about things like this and thought it was weird and we have explained it in a way so he doesnt think it is weird. i will let you know more as it happens and thanks again for the posts.btw he is on the birth cert but the last name on it is only my m***** name.

 
Old 08-17-2004, 09:10 PM   #9
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I realize this post is a month old, but I HAD to comment. My son is 5 and is being raised by my husband now. His sperm donor has had nothing to do with him since I was 6 weeks pg, and I might be naive, but I don't EVER want to tell him. I'm not sure this is the "right" thing, but I feel it is the BEST thing. His donor is a disgusting, lying, conniving puke of a man, and I'm not sure I could tell my son about him.

My step-daughter got mad at my son and told him that my husband was his step-dad . My son came to me crying and told me what she said. My dh went to her and talked to her about it, and told her that it was up to us to tell him when and if we decide to. I told my son calmly that his daddy was his daddy and not to listen to her. It almost broke my heart and made me sick to my stomach to hear someone else had said that.

My son has my dh's last name, although not on court record. We changed it through social security, and now they have their own "anniversary", so it will probably come up eventually, but I might not tell the truth . Is that rotten of me? I feel like it is. Maybe I'll tell him that his "real" dad died when he was very young. To me he is dead, and honestly, I wouldn't mind opening the obituaries in his state of residence and see it there. Am I bitter? I think maybe a little bit, but mostly towards myself. I was 21 and he was 34, and I recently separated from my ex-husband. Big-ol' long story, but basically I was young and dumb and he was a preditor in my eyes. Young, dumb, and invincible is what I was. So sad to say it wasn't true.

I wouldn't trade my son for anything in the world. He IS my world, I just feel guilty knowing I brought him into the world under such bad circumstances.

Sorry sorry sorry this is sooo long. I had to vent, I guess, and didn't realize it until I was already typing.

Thanks for listening!

Nicole
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Old 08-17-2004, 10:20 PM   #10
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I can understand what an awful position you are in right now Nicole. I too have a child from my first marriage being raised by my current husband. One thing in your post really struck my and I wanted to comment on it.

I would STRONGLY caution against lying to your son in any way. It has already been proven that he can find out about things through other sources. Should he find out, you will be a lyer in his eyes if you have only told him lies about his situation. He will not believe you should you say his father was an awful person as he will think that you are awful for lying to him. This plan has a serious chance of blowing back up at you!!

Children are a lot stronger than we give them credit for and DESERVE the truth. You are not protecting him in any way by lying to him. I can not stand my ex and he was an awful influence on my daughter. I wanted to protect her from the world but finally realized that letting her in on the truth was the first big lesson in love and trust for her. She knew that there were things in the world that would hurt her but that she could always trust me and know that I loved her more than anything.

I dont mean this harsh but I just cant understand how someone can say that a man is lying and conniving yet turn around and do the same thing to her son in the name of protection. If the man is a danger then by all means keep him away from your son but that doesnt mean the boy can't know the truth. Good luck
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:54 AM   #11
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

That wasn't too harsh. I understand what you mean when you say that I would be doing the same thing. However, I would be doing it in the name of protection and not to hurt him, like what was done to me. This man is definately dangerous, and I do not want my son to have any contact with him. I probably won't lie to him, but that's what I want to do. Does that make sense? The reason that I wouldn't do it is b/c of the reason that you stated, that he can find out from other sources. It's no secret from family and friends that Isaiah isn't biologically my husbands. And with technology improving so steadily, it probably won't take much for Isaiah to do a search on him and find out if he's really alive when he's old enough. I'm dreading this conversation, and I know that it will eventually have to come, I just don't know how to handle it.
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:25 PM   #12
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Angry Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I am so upset right now about my whole situation with my sons bio dad. I posted earlier about my situation at the beginning of these post if you would like to read it. Well here is what happened today. I just got an email from my sons bio dad in california threating me if that he is coming back to ohio to go to court to get visitation rights so if I want to be the one to tell him about him being the father and not my exhusband then I better do it now. I can't believe that this man after almost 9 years of not being there is now telling me what I need to do with "MY" son. How come after all these years now all the sudden he wants to be a father he thinks that he can be one at his conveinence!!! I have to change my sons life because now he feels guilty. I don't know what to do. I want so much to email him back and tell him off because of the way he spoke to me in his email. But I'm trying to calm down before I email him anything. I want my son to know that this guy is an a**, but I no I can't tell him that he needs to realize that on his own. But I don't want him to get hurt. I am also so scared that if he will be granted visitation rights. Although I don't understand how a judge can make a child visit a stranger, if anything at least let my son get to know him first. Well crap I don't even know this guy I have only seen him a couple of times in 9years. How can I let this man take my son out of my house when he is a complete stranger. What if he never brings him back or hurts him. Sorry this is so long but I am so upset and I have all these things going thru my mind. What are your opinions should I go ahead and tell my son? One more thing I even told this so called man that my son has seen a counselor and she advised against telling him at this age because he is so young but he doesn't care it is his way or no way.

 
Old 08-19-2004, 08:19 AM   #13
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I would get a lawyer, and if you can't afford one, then go to legal aid. See if you can get a judge to grant you sole custody and explain your situation to him. After that, get your son legally adopted by your husband. They will probably have to print it in the newspaper where this jerk off lives and if he doesn't read it and doesn't contest it before he gets to Ohio, then he has no say in the matter. Your son will probably find out about all of this, but how old is he again? 10? I wonder if it's possible to do all of this w/o him knowing.

I feel for you so much, I'm in the same boat, just not with the sperm donor. I don't think he's gonna try for visitation, since that means he is gonna have to pay child support and BACK child support. Email this guy and tell him that you are going to get a lawyer and get him for child support for the last 10 years before he can have any visitation. I'm not sure, but I don't think a court will put a child through that kind of trauma--going to be with a stranger. I would say first things first....get a lawyer. Your son's mental health is more important than money and do what you have to do to protect him. I'm so sorry this is happening. I wish you lots of luck and love!

Nicole
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Old 08-20-2004, 09:06 AM   #14
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I would not let your son go alone to see him. We told my ex that he could not have visitation until we went back to court. We asked the judge to order supervised visits at first. Eventually he got her by himself but it wasnt until she had been seeing him for about 6 months.

If your son is a mature 9 year old, you might want to skim over the history leaving out details and let him decide how he wants to work it. I kept letters from my ex. When my daughter was 11, she asked to read them. He spelled her name different in every letter so that was a huge red flag for her. Shortly after, she came to me and asked that we stop visitation.

Child support and visitation are two totally seperate issues. When we went to court after 5 years of not seeing him or him paying child support, they ordered supervised visits and they added to his child support. There is no way to go back and get all of the back support so they just add to the already ordered payment. In truth, you will probably never get all that is due you financially.

Your son might be old enough to tell the judge that he doesnt want to see this man. In that case, you can have his rights terminated. A judge will only do that though if the child is making an informed decision and the only way to do that is to meet the man.

There truly are no winners in these situations. I wish you both the best

P.S. Nicole... I am glad that you didnt take that post of mine harsh. Believe me, I have wanted to move as far away as possible and just pretend he didnt exist. In the end, I knew it wasnt worth losing my relationship with my daughter should she find out that he life was a lie. I dont envy you your situation
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Old 08-20-2004, 07:23 PM   #15
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Re: how do we tell our son his "dad" is not really his "dad"?

I am in a very similar situation as well. My daughter is 8 and her sperm donor is also a loser. He has never had anything to do with her, though he has also never denied that she is his. He was actually sort of the rebound guy after a bad breakup with another boyfriend. I was 18 when I met him and our relationship consisted of not much more than partying. He was a nice guy when I was with him. Clean cut, always wore really nice clothes, treated me good, etc. After we dated for a month or so, I found out he had a son by his previous relationship. I was also told that the mother wouldn't let him have anything to do with him. I was told this even by her friends, so of course I believed it and thought him the "wronged" one.

We broke up when I was four months pregnant because he suddenly "forgot" he had a girlfriend. He never called, never came over, nothing. When I had the baby, his mom (who had told me to have an abortion) brought him to the hospital. He didn't even want to be there. He saw her three times after that and that's all.

After we broke up, he got into drugs (meth) really bad and ended up going to prison for trying to drive his truck over a cop. He was sentenced to 15 years but will probably serve half, and his parole date is on my daughter's birthday in 2008.

On a brighter note, I met my future husband when my daughter was 3, and they took to each other like kindred spirits. My husband is a huge kid and they have always gotten along wonderfully. When my daughter was 6, my husband legally adopted her. When sperm donor was contacted to terminate parental rights, at first he refused, writing a letter to the lawyer stating that he didn't feel it would be in her best interest. Give me a break! Anyway, evidentally his sisters talked to him (who also have nothing to do with her along with his entire family) and told him to terminate rights so he did. Thank goodness.

Anyway, my daughter knows that my husband hasn't always been around but she doesn't really understand. She found the birth announcement that has sperm donors name on it about a year ago and we attempted a very vague talk but she just doesn't understand the whole thing yet. My problem is, is that she has a half brother that is only a little over a year older than her that lives in our town too. I talked to the mom when the kids were really young, and we decided that we would tell them about each other when they were older. I think they need to be told soon, I just don't know how to do it. Especially since she will be told she has an older brother that she never knew about. I just don't want her to be resentful in the future if I don't tell her soon.

So I completely understand everyone's dilemmas. I could never lie to her about it though. That's my opinion. I would rather tell her the truth and be there for her through it all than to lie and have her find out from someone else later and possibly hate me.

I wish you all good luck though. I think we all need it.

 
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