Biological Father Wants Rights Back?

Updated on May 18, 2010
A.D. asks from Sanford, FL
20 answers

Hello moms, im in a very weird situation and im not sure how to handle it, first off my daughter is 11 and my husband has adopted her (he did this when she was 4) he is all that she knows although i do believe through other comments i have made she knows that he is not her biological. she has never asked questions or asked for pics of him when she has seen that i have them. Now after 9 years i get an email from his soon to be wife saying that he wants her in his life and wants a relationship (they also have a 7 month old son, together) they do live in TX (thank goodness) but i really dont want him to have any part of her life, he has never paid an ounce of child support (up till she was 4) still owes it all and goes from job to job so that he doesnt.. he was just a very bad man who did bad things and my daughter is a straight A student who is doing wonderful and on the right track...many people think i should tell her and give her the option to get to know him, but i dont think that she should. Shes too young and my husband is completly against her meeting or talking to him ...Please help! will she hate me later for making the decision for her? i always wanted to wait till she was atleast a teenager....and imnot comforatable with her flying over there by herself, i do not know how they live or what they do..thank you all in advance

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answers from Atlanta on

First of all -if HE can't even make contact himself, and his fiance is doing it for him -that should say a lot. If he wants something HE should ask for it!

He has terminated his rights in a number of ways -the fact that he allowed her to be adopted combined with the fact that he has never paid a dime for her is enough legally. You also say he's a bad man, so therefore you've answered the question. NO -he shouldn't be in her life.

When she is 18 years old (and if you have any communication with him, tell him this) you can tell her about him, about why you didn't want him in her life and let her decide if she wants to meet him.

She has a father -a legal, adoptive father, and it sounds like you have a good life, so don't invite trouble or feel bad about it!

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answers from Sioux Falls on

If you had given her up for adoption and you came back when she was 11 and told the adoptive parents you wanted back in her life, what would they say? They would tell you that you gave her up for them to raise, and if, when she turned 18, she wanted to find you, she would. Your ex signed his rights away to your husband you have now. Your husband is her father and your ex is her birth-father. It is no more complicated than that. Once you sign your rights away, that is that. I feel for him a little bit. What parent who gives their child up doesn't sometimes wish they hadn't, or what the child is like now. But your daughter needs stability and be firmly grounded in who she is and who her family is. It is you and your family. Her birth father is not her daddy. If he was her daddy, he would have stayed in her life all of her life and not waited 11 years for it to be convenient for him. All this will do is hurt and confuse her, and really hurt your husband you have now. Your husband is her daddy and has raised her as his own since she was four! Do you know how rare it is to have a step dad do that and do it right? Cherish your family dynamic now, and tell the ex, you are sorry, but he can look her up when she is 18.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

OK, so first off I'm almost certain if you spring all this on her at once... it will be to much to process at 11. I'd say you should address the topic of your husband being her "dad" but not her "birth father" before ever considering introducing a perfect stranger as her father and asking her to jet set off on this new portion of her life. In explaining the situation I'd be open and honest beginning from when you met her birth father to now (leaving out the parts that are adult knowledge, No batching the man) And finally I'd make sure she knows just how much she should be grateful that her dad loved her so much... He wanted to give her his last name as a gift ; )

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

He chose to give up his rights, i would just leave it alone. If he really does want to be back in her life, HE will contact you, and not the girlfriends. Plus, He should make amends for the first 4 years of child support to show you that he wants to be in her life. .

I would also say if it gets to the point in the future, that he is involved, he should come out by you until you are comfortable with your daughter going there. Since he left, he needs to make ALL the conecessions to have a relationship with his daughter.

I think your daughter is old enough for you to start talking to her more about things. You don't have to give her all the details, but to start talking about it, will help both of you out. Then she gets some information and as she gets older, she won't feel like you hid everything from you.

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answers from Detroit on

Your daughter's father terminated his parental rights, which allowed your present husband to adopt her and become her father - end of story. Your daughter should be told the truth about being adopted - leave out the details - seek the advice of a wise counselor who deals with adoption issues, not family members if you are unsure how to approach the issue properly.
The fact that the birth father's new wife has contacted you and not the birth father, speaks volumes about who is actually interested in initiating contact with your daughter. I would politely email her back and tell her that her husband terminated his parental rights voluntarily after never supporting her and that his name is no longer on her birth certificate - she has been adopted and has a loving, stable relationship with her adoptive father and that as her mother, it is your job to protect your daughter from potentially unhealthy situations and relationships. So, NO - there will be absolutely no contact between your family and my daughter. If there are any attempts whatsoever, a restraining order will be placed immediately. I wish you well with your new baby....
You and your husband need to make these decisions together - stop listening to "your friends" who thinks an 11 year old needs added dysfunction in her young life! Middle school will be hard enough next year!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I find it interesting that her bio dad's new wife was the one that reached out to you to reconnect. Perhaps he felt you would respnd more favorably to her and not him. Or perhaps he isn't quite as interested as she is. HUM?!?!? Regardless, he has not been in her life and chose not be be until now. I would let his new wife know that at this stage it is not in the best interest for him to reach out to his dtr. While she is aware that there is a bio dad somewhere out there she has not expressed an interest in meeting him. Perhaps later, when she is older and asking questions, you can let her know that her bio dad was interested at one time and you might reach out to him in behalf of your dtr to correspond. I would hold off on the meeting part until your sure his life is stable.

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answers from Orlando on

I can't tell you what I think from YOUR point of view, but I am seeing it from your daughter's based on my personal experiences of being raised by one dad who loved me like his own and having a biological father (who lived in Texas!) who was not a big part of my life growing up... I can tell you that I do appreciate that my mom was honest with me and guided me into making my own decisions based on giving me facts and helping me sort them out. Your daughter IS old enough to sit her down and explain things to her, and she very well might grow up mad at you to find out one day that you blew what might be her only chance to meet him if you don't. When she is grown and has kids of her own and has a loving husband who loves her kids, she may start to question how a man could possibly not want to be in their own child's life, which is what happened with me. My biological dad did NOT give up his parental rights and allow my step dad to adopt me, but he was in and out (mostly out) of my life--- so after my first child was born and I was a parent myself, I finally went ahead and asked him all of the things I wanted to know, like why he moved away and why he decided not to be in my life. Your daughter has a right to ask him these things. He, on the other hand, does NOT have the right to make that decision for her. Bottom line, though, that no matter what, DO NOT send her there to meet him!!!!!!!!!!!! If she decides she wants to meet him (which she may NOT want that at all!) then HE needs to come to HER, and the meeting needs to be surpervised by YOU. You should be there and stay with her, no matter how uncomfortable that would be for you.

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answers from Gainesville on

First and foremost is your daughter's safety and there is no way in h&%l I would let her anywhere near this guy based on what you told us about him and the fact that he lives several states away, you've never met the fiance or her family, you have no idea how they live or who the associate with. No way, no way, no way should you let her be around these people. We hear too many stories on the news.

At age 11 you have every right to make this decision for her. But I think it might be a good idea to begin to discuss with her that her dad-the man she thinks of as dad, adopted her because to him she was his daughter, he loved her so much, etc. Kids know. I had a friend in high school that her mom got pregnant and another man stepped in and married her and my friend somehow always knew something was different and resented it when she found out as a teen. So I think opening the door to let her know how loved she is and was by the man she knows as dad is a good way to start. Then once the questions about her real dad start, you can explain that he had a rough life and lives far away and that he can't be part of her life right now but her dad-who she has always known as her dad is her daddy and always will be.

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answers from Boston on

This is the soon-to-be wifes doing and not her ex-fathers. If this is something the ex-father wants then he would have been the one to contact you. I'd let it go for right now and if he really wants to have contact with your daughter he will come back and ask you. At some point though you should talk to your daughter about this and let her make the decision for herself. If both of you and her father now do decide she will go it does not mean he gets his rights back.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Shortly after I married my first husband, I found out that he had given up his rights to his first child about 6 years before I met him. I went bonkers! HOW could he give up his own child? So, I contacted the mom and asked her if she would allow her son to have occasional contact with my then husband. This probably explains how your ex's soon to be wife got involved. She probably thought "how could you do this?" Especially after they had a child of their own, the need for contact probably got very strong. In my situation, the child was about 11 at the time and his mom did let us come and visit. We let her take the reins and decide everything and we did not take him to our place until much later - after she felt comfortable with everything and the child wanted to come to our place.

I would simply leave it up to your daughter. At 11, she is old enough to make SOME decisions about her life. I would sit down with her and tell her exactly what is going on. Make sure that you don't get into any "dad bashing" since it will be important for her to form her own conclusions. If she is interested in getting to know him, allow them to maybe write back and forth (using snail mail rather than email) a few times. If she wants to actually meet him - he needs to come to her. Not just because of safety reasons, but because it will be important to her. He could come and meet you at your house and take her somewhere close for a few hours. The other thing about doing it this way is you will be able to tell his level of dedication - if he is willing to do US Mail letters and then fly to you to spend two hours with his biological daughter, his intentions are probably pretty good. If he cannot even handle answering a few letters - well, then you can pretty much figure out where this is going to go.

Good luck!

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answers from Indianapolis on

Hi A.,
I adopted my daughter and one thing people who adopt are told is to tell the child they are adopted. I know you are your daughter's biological mother but you and your husband need to formally tell her that he adopted her. If you don't someone else will and they may be mean about it when they tell her. Also she could over hear from other relatives.

As for the father I would tell her about him. The truth and nothing but the truth. Let her know that he was unstable and not ready to be a father. I wouldn't bad mouth him because that can sometimes backfire but just let her know that he wasn't interested in being a father. I wouldn't tell her that he wants to see her right away until she is comfortable with the knowledge that she was adopted by your husband. If she does want to see him I would tell her and him that she has to wait until she is 18 to see him unless you think she is mature enough for an earlier visit. When she does see him I would insist on being there.

If your husband was able to adopt her than that means her father gave up all rights to her so who cares what he wants. Your daughter is the important one and she has a right to know about her birth and the other parent. Kids are able to handle more than we think they can. Good luck to you and your family.



answers from Fort Wayne on

It depends. When you say he wants his rights back, does that mean that he signed off on his rights? If the answer is yes, than I would absolutely say no to him. You don't have to be mean, but rather just explain to him that she's doing absolutely perfectly and you don't want things to change when they don't have to. If he hasn't signed off, then you probably are goign to be left with no choice because he could take you to court. I don't think your daughter will hold anything against you if he signed off on her. You're only looking out for her best interest.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I think there are two issues invovled here: legal and moral.
Legally, if he signed away his rights you most likely don't HAVE to allow him to see her.
Morally, I think it requires more thought. He IS after all, her father. If it were ME, I would want to know my biological child, at least a little bit. Sometimes people grow up, and change for the better. Your daughter and their relationship was one obvious casualty of his choices 11 years ago.

While I think she is young to make this decision entirely on her own, I thiunk she needs to know and understand that she has been adopted by her "dad" and that she has a different biological dad out there. Then feel around and let her talk and ask questions. You can ask her if she has any interest in meeting him. It can be at your home or a public place so you can get a read on whether you feel he has gotten his life together and if he will//will not be a positive influence in your daughter's life. Good luck!



answers from Detroit on

Dear A. D.

Based on what you are saying, your daughter's biological father has no legal enforceable rights to her. She has been adopted by your current husband and this not only severed the ties to her biological father but to his family as well. You are in a tough spot. On the one hand, your current husband (to whom you have a covenant relationship with) says no! You must honor and respect your husband's leadership and guidance because after all he stepped up to the plate and became daddy to your daughter when her birth father did not. The other odd thing about what you have communicated here is that it was your daughter's biological father's fiance' who communicated the fact that her soon to be husband wanted a relationship with his daughter. What is wrong with his mouth? or his putting his fingers to the keypad to type out a message? You have every right to ignore her email. Who is she? The father hasn't made any effort in 11 years. Is she looking for a babysitter? Okay back to my point, At some point in time, when you and your husband are ready, or think that your daughter is mature enough for the conversation, I think the two of you should sit down with her and explain what has occurred and why you chose not to allow the contact with her birth father. I wouldn't bad mouth her biological father but I would point out the fact that he chose not to have contact with her for 11 years and now his future wife, not him, wants to have her involved in their life. I would let her know that you feel the contact would be disruptive at this point in her life for obvious reasons and then I would let her express her feelings. Should she want to see her birth father, I would make him make the effort of coming to where you live and having the contacts in a supervised setting with a therapist who could document and verify that the contacts are appropriate and not some way to allow him to bad mouth you and your husband. Should you choose to allow the visits, I would only allow him and not the future wife or their son. If he really wants to know your daughter, he should make the effort with supervision paying his money to see her. After all she already has a father and don't need him to add difficulty or guilt to her life. It sounds like you and your husband have done an excellent job raising her as she is an all A student. This meeting could be disruptive in her life but at some point in time they are bound to meet and you don't want him destroying the healthy child that you have raised or your relationship with her. I have witnessed this happening on many occasions when I represent youths in court. Sometimes that family friendly significant other turns out to be devious and undermines the mother's authority. It starts by buying her whatever she wants, pretending to be her best friend and allowing her to do things that you would never allow. It turns into call me when ever you need me. (She will need her when ever you or your husband says no) then the CPS complaints start. I just talked to a mother yesterday who is seeking legal representation because her ex is claiming that her son inappropriately touched her younger son that they had together. They can easily say that your husband did something inappropriately. This can be to much of a headache when they have no legal enforceable rights. I feel your concern because you are trying to look out for the best interest of your daughter and this issue will have to be addressed soon if not later. Don't forget the communication did not come from her biological father it came from his soon to be wife. Who knows they may never get married. In any event, honor your husband and your family. I hope this helps.

God Bless,




answers from Savannah on

This is a very tough predicament. I completely understand your wanting to save her from having to make this decision...but bottom line is he is her biological father and she should have the right to decide if she would like to meet him or not.

It sucks he hasn't paid any child support, but if he wants to finally be a man and establish some sort of relationship with her and your daughter would like to meet him...then you should allow it.

That said- I certainly would not be going out of my way to make it convenient or easy for him though. First I would want to talk to him about the possible damage he could do by walking into her life after so long. I would also want to make sure that this isn't a fleeting idea...that if he is planning on developing a relationship with her then he needs to actually commit and not just drop off the face of the earth again for years. It's not fair to your daughter if he does that. Finally---I would certainly not put her on a plane to go meet/visit a man (and woman) she doesn't know at all. And quite frankly after all this time you have no idea who they are either. If he wants to meet and get to know his daughter he can come to you.

Good luck. I know it's a very tough decision but unfortunately he is her biological father. If you're lucky she may not even want to meet him at all. Just give her the chance to make that decision on her own though.

EDIT: did he actually give up his rights? I ask because that kindof changes my answer a bit. If he literally signed away his rights I would tell him he has to wait til your daughter is 18. But if he just stopped contact with her then my answer remains the same. If anything maybe he could first develop a rapport thru letters or email or something.


answers from Norfolk on

I wouldn't ignore it. Ignoring it might send a signal that you are open to the idea. I don't know if there are grounds for a restraining order but I'd look into getting one if it's possible. As she is ready for it (and 11 is pretty young), let your girl know about her biological father and the reasons you are not together any more. Tell her when she is an adult, she is free to explore this relationship if she wants to. When she is grown up, she can make some grown up decisions. Until then, this guy could really mess with her head (or use her for free baby sitting for his 'new' family). My father wanted a relationship with me once I turned 18 and I told him to take a flying leap. The guy wanted a father/daughter relationship when he'd done ZERO ZIP ZILCH to raise me.


answers from Cincinnati on

This is such a hard situation, and right now, I am on the other side of this story. My husband had a son at 17, and signed over his rights after the family got very nasty with him. Here were are many years later, my husband is 33 now and has contacted the mother, starting about 5 years ago when our first was born, to get a chance to see the boy he yearns to know. Nothing has happened yet, they have briefly spoke on the phone, but the mother is delaying and delaying, as she has every right to. This poor boy has had 4 last names in 15 years, because his mother continues to get married to new people and have more children with each of them. We'd truly just like the occasional contact, maybe a dinner out or a movie with his dad, just minimal until he's 18 and can make his own choices.We have a family of our own and would like for the teenage boy to know that he has some siblings. Again, such a hard situation for everyone. My husband aches and knows he made the wrong decision.



answers from Tulsa on

I think you should go with the advice that she needs to be told about her adoptive dad not being her biological father and eventually that her biological dad has contacted you....

People change, they grow up, they have life experiences that make them into different people. Get to know the man now. I think getting to know what is going on in the dad's life now might be what makes the difference in how you feel. What if he has worked at the same job for the last 5 years, owns a home, volunteers at church, has a decent life??? What if he is a decent man now and you bias her against him? On the other hand what if he's worse than ever? You can't make an informed judgement on stuff from 6-10 years in the past.

I did a lot of research on miscarraige and when parents feel the connection to their child. For mom's, they start becoming a mom the first time they pick up a baby doll and play mommy, so miscarriage effects them differently, they mourn the lost child immed. For men, feeling like a parent comes the first time they hold their baby and feel that physical connection, so when they loose a first child to miscarriage they don't understand the loss the mom feels. They tend to go through the mourning process after they have that second child and they bond with them, they finally realize they lost a child and go through the whole mourning process. He may be feeling that right now and not know how to talk to you about his feelings.

So, now that her biological father has a child he feels the loss of his first child. I understand your feelings but I also think if he has grown up and made changes in his life she will resent you for the rest of her life when she finds out you kept him from her. If he is the same as when she was little then by all means protect her. But she still is going to resent you because you kept him from her. She now has a brother that deserves to know his sister and his sister deserves to know him. Maybe later though, when she's old enough to understand the situation.



answers from Washington DC on

Honestly, I would tell him, that he made his choice years ago. Now he has to wait until she is an adult. I wouldn't tell your daughter now. She is to young to make this decision. When she's an adult, she will be able to deal with it. While there is a chance that he has changed, and really wants a relationship, there's a much bigger chance that he will breeze into her life for a little while and then be on his way out. It's to little, to late.

Now, of course when he contacts her when she's 18, he will tell her that he tried to be a part of his life and you wouldn't let him. You will simply have to tell your side of the story. She will have had 18 years of your loving parenting, and realize that you were only protecting her.



answers from Rockford on

I would not even entertain the idea unless this man is man enough to contact you himself and not through his wife. And all through an email - not even a phone call? He has dodged her all his life and never paid a penny to support her, and now there is some back door effort to see her? He was not there to contest her being adopted by another man (and thank goodness she was because he sounds wonderful). If he is not a decent man and ready to be there for her all the way, what will that do to your daughter??? She is at a very vulnerable age and this will be a big change and a lot of adjustment for her. The last thing she needs is a flake in her life that she feels obligated to because he is her "father." Your daughter comes first and maybe you should seek some professional help to see how to deal with this, how to present this to her, how to work the initial contact, etc. This should not be presented to her in such a way that she is made to feel responsible for the decision. This is really a big deal for all of you and I hope you can find someone to help you take the proper steps to ensure your daughter's emotional and mental health.

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