Help Me with My Worst Fear!!!!!

Updated on March 23, 2007
J.M. asks from Covington, OH
29 answers

This is something I need a little advice with..I met my husband when my son was 6 months old. My son real father is not in the picture at all, if fact he has been court ordered to pay child support since my son was three(now 6) and all the courts can say is that they can't find him.
We raised my son up thinking that my husband is his father. Although he has two sisters that have a different last name then him. Now my husband wants to adopt my son which I think is awesome, but except my worst fear of telling my son has come. I am so scared he is going to be hurt. I'm scared I'm going to say the wrong things to him, and sometimes I think he is too young to tell.
Has anyone ever been though this or have any advice for me?

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So What Happened?

Wow!! I can't beleive all the wonderful responces.I feel so much better now. Thank you to everyone who has helped me with this. We have decieded to tell him now. My husband and I are going to talk about and go over what we are going to say to him. He is a very trusting and loving child who loves his mommy and daddy. I hope this works out. And thanks again everyone, you don't know how much you all helped!! I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

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T.S.

answers from Dayton on

My sister did this with her oldest boy. Email her and talk to her if you need to. [email protected]____.com good luck!

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C.G.

answers from Canton on

I am going through something somewhat similar.. however my son has yet to be born..Ive had some worries myself as to what to do and say when the time comes...Ive allready had to explain to my daughters about their new baby brothers daddy.
Set him down when hes ready.Explain whats going on.. and be sure to tell him.. (the man who helped me with creating a beautiful gift ..YOU)Just wasnt ready to be a daddy he made a choice, and in doing that he gave you the chance to have a wonderful daddy that loves you very much...Id go something like that myself..Just be sure to include that the spermdonar made his choice because he wasnt ready and that theres nothing wrong with your son..And your now husband is his daddy and allways will be... It could be alot easier than you think.But it can also take some getting used to but dont worry!He will be thankful when hes older for knowing and love you both more for trying to protect him.
Goodluck with it!

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T.R.

answers from Canton on

Coming from a kids point of view. My parents married when I was young. My "Dad" is not my biological father. And I remember one day my Mom coming to me and telling me that I could start calling her boyfriend (this was before they got married)dad. I was pretty excited and too young to wonder why he wasn't dad all along. Then the day came when my curiosity caught up with me and I asked where my real dad was (this was around the same age as your son. Maybe a little older). When my mom told me. I cried. Hard. I remember being so upset because I never knew him. My situation was a little different since my biological father had pasted when I was 3 (after my dad now came into the picture). She never lied about how he died but she was very vage about what he was like. When I was older, much older she told me more. Now I don't know any details on yours son's real father but I'm guessing since you can't find him now your sons going to feel the same way. Upset that his real father was never there and upset that he will never know him. And who knows maybe he wont really care much. Since he at least has a man in his life he thinks of as his dad. Bottom line advice is to let your son be upset. Let him cry for as long as he wants. That's how we clear out our emotions. Don't lie to him. Be vage if you have to but don't lie. And later in life when questions come up, (if they do) answer them. I will say this. It took me into my mid 20's to not wonder about and get a little emotional about my real father. So just be there for your son. Always.

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M.E.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi J.. My sister had the same exact problem with her daughter who was seven years old at the time. Since my sister felt the need to tell my niece to be honest, the whole thing kind of back fired in her face. My niece became a totally different child and felt that she didn't have a real family for herself. She felt that her dad was out there somewhere and questioned why he never came around. Another explanation to a seven year old that I do not think she has ever comprehended. She also started treating her adoptive father that had been around since she was a year old, differently and rude, as well as her adoptive grandparents who has done just about anything to make her happy. She is twelve years old now and she doesn't associate with my sister's inlaws that much except for holidays. In her mind, that is not her REAL family because my sister decided to tell her at such a young age, she didn't comprehend it as well as a twelve year old would. Its alot easier to explain to an older child than a younger one. Good luck and I hope this helps.

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S.K.

answers from Lima on

Hi J.,

My name is S.. I understand kind of where you are coming from. My mom had that same problem sorta. See what happened was my older sister's dad passed away before she was born. My mom started see my dad soon after she was born. Here's the thing my parents got married and had me, after a couple years of marriage they got divorced. My dad never adopted my sister, but my sister always thought that my dad was hers. For awhile my dad took her on the weekend visits with me. But then decided for some reason not to take her anymore. Then came the hard part of my mom explaining to both of us what had happened and why my dad was no longer taking her along.

Here is what she did, she sat us down at the ages of 3 and 5 and explained that our dads were not the same. She told us that my sister's dad had passed away and was up in Heaven, watching over her. I'm not quite sure if we completely understood at the time, but it kind of helped that she did tell us. After we were a little bit older she explained it a little bit more in detail what had happened.

It may help that both you and your husband sit down with your son and explain it the best way that you think he can understand right now. And then once he is a little bit older, explain it a little more in detail.

I'm not sure if this helped any, I hope it did some.

S.

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K.F.

answers from Cincinnati on

I'm not sure how much this will help, but i have a 6 year old son that has no father listed on his birth certificate. He has not yet asked any questions, but he does ask why his name is not the same as his sibblings. When I got married I hypenated my name so that we would have the same name. I just explained to him that me and his father were not married at the time of his birth, so that we gave him my last name. I am currently looking into a way to change his name. So if you know what to do let me know. I hope this helps :)

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R.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Don't be afraid...this isn't a dirty little secret. Simply tell your son that is birth father was just not ready to be a dad, and that the dad he knows loves him so much he CHOSE to be his daddy. I think your son can handle it. I have a child that I gave up for adoption when she was three. He adoptive mother has always been very open about the fact that I made the best decision for my daughter. I also have always explained it that way to the children I have now. At the time I was just not able to be a good mommy so I gave her to somone who could. Good Luck.

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M.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

This is my life all over again! I have twins who were slightly older than yours when my husband adopted them. I worried so much about this, and decided to talk to them about it when they got around to questioning me. When they never did, I brought it up. And I was amazed at how matter-of-fact they were about it. I guess since he was the only dad they ever knew, they were kind of annoyed that I had made such a point of it. It seems "dad" is a job description, not a biological person! Maybe this was a personality thing, but they have never seemed interested in a person who wasn't ever interested in them. Good luck with this, and don't let it make your hair fall out! The great thing is that he does have a REAL father; one that loves him and takes care of him. He'll realize that.

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D.V.

answers from Youngstown on

Although I don't personally have any experience with this I can say this, young children are more understanding than you might think! Focusing on the good things will definetly help, letting him know how exciting getting to change his last name will be and then he will match his sisters! I'm sure he loves and adores your husband and that will be what matters most. My middle daughter has her dad in her life and my fiance' is still her "dad" ! Try not to worry too much he's your son and he knows you do what's best I'm sure it will work out

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M.H.

answers from Cleveland on

MY SON IS FIVE YEAR'S OLD I AM IN EXACTLY THE SAME SITUATION WITH HIS BIOLOGICAL FATHER. HIS PEDIATRICIAN SUGGESTED THAT I TELL HIM A STORY ABOUT CHILDREN THAT ARE ADOPTED AND HOW LUCKY THEY WERE THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN THEN FOR THEM OR FOSTER PARENTS OR WHATEVER WILL BE EASIER FOR YOU TO EXPLAIN AND TELL HIM THE STORY BUT ADD HIM TO IT AND BRING WHO HE KNOWS AS DADDY AS THE ADOPTIVE OR FOSTER PARENT AND HOW LUCKY MOMMY AND HIM ARE THAT DADDY IS IN THEIR LIVES MAKE HIM FEEL OKAY ABOUT IT BE OPEN TELL HIM NOW IT IS BETTER I PROMISE THIS WAS THE BEST THING I COULD HAVE EVER DONE I DIDN'T THINK SO BEACUSE I THOUGHT IT WOULD BRING OUT SOMETHING IN HIM BUT CHILDREN ARE MORE BRIILIANT THAN WE THINK MY CHILDREN ARE 5 AND 3 AND THEY ARE TOTALLY AWARE OF THE DAD SITUATION AND THE GRANDMA SITUATION THEY ARE COOL WITH IT AFTER YOU GET DONE LET ME KNOW HOW IT WENT IF POSSIBLE I HOPE AS WELL AS OURS DID IF YOU NEED ANY WORDS OR HELP PLEASE LET ME KNOW I LOVE TO HELP AND LEND AN EAR. [email protected]____.com

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S.Q.

answers from Youngstown on

i dont have any experience with this and not much advice, but you can definitely emphasize to your child that a dad doesnt have to be the biological parent. a true dad is the man who took on the challenge and responsibility of raising your son. so sure, your husband may not have been there the night your son was concieved. but he was there and has been there since your son was a tiny baby and that is all that matters. he took on the hard job and that is the most important thing.

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E.

answers from Dayton on

I would go ahead and tell him as soon as possible. In fact, I would make it a BIG DEAL. Why not have an adoption party? He could have TWO birthdays instead of one. After all, someone loves him enough to choose him. There are lots of picture books which address this issue that might help. The library might be able to help with that. It will not be less shocking as he gets older. It is a risk at any age that he will feel like he was mislead, so you might as well just deal with it and make it a positive experience.

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S.E.

answers from Cleveland on

J.,

I know this is a very difficult situation, but I really think that the sooner you tell your son the better. Kids are so resilient, and I think he's young enough not to resent it and old enough to understand the situation. If you wait much longer, he's going to wonder why you didn't tell him earlier. Just explain it as simple as possible and answer any questions he has. It definitely helps that your husband is the only dad he's ever known, and will continue to be. It is awesome that he wants to adopt him! Best of luck!

S.

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J.R.

answers from Cleveland on

There is a lot of research that indicates kids do much better when they're told the truth about their adoption from the beginning. It's a trust issue. If you "come clean" with your son when he's 12, and he feels like you've been keeping a secret from him all these years, how can he possibly trust you? Tell your son the truth now. Talk to a child psychologist about how to discuss it, and how much information he can process at his age. Keep the lines of communication open about this so he can ask questions as he matures and is able to understand more about it.

Congratulations on finding a great dad for your son!

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K.M.

answers from Dayton on

My husband was in your son's shoes. The only Dad he ever knew was not his biological father. Somewhere around the time he was 5, his mom and "dad" told him the truth and about the pending adoption proceedures. He says it didn't bother him at all because he had never met the other man and wanted his "dad" to become official. I'm not sure how they explained it to him, but I'd suggest a way to make it "official" and after it's finalized have a small party with homemade certificates to emphasize that it's a big deal and how happy your family is about it.

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C.R.

answers from Lima on

You can't keep this info from your son. He will find out eventually and then be mad at you for keeping it a secret. I feel REAL strong about this. I have been married twice and all my children know who their biological father is and that my husband is their step parent. Just take a deep breath and sit down with your son. Believe me, you do not want him to throw this information in your face later!

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D.G.

answers from Columbus on

Dear J. M

Turn that fear into love!!! It is a wonderful thing to be adopted! To be adopted means I chose you!!!! I believe that if you and your husband tell your son together with love and not fear he will receieve it with the heart you present it to him with. Scripture says in 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment....We love him, because he first loved us." Your husband has loved your son from the beginning and therefore love has been made perfect in the heart of you husband and your son will respond with love. So trust "love" on this and cast fear out of your house!!!!

LOVE RULES!!!
Mrs. G

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T.D.

answers from Columbus on

I've got to agree wtih Ruthann. Be honest and tell your son what is going on in his language. I'm adopted. Been with my family since I was 10 days old but at age 3 I realized I was different . I'm Thai and my family is caucasion and I asked who I looked like in the family because besides mommy's dark hair ,I couldn't see a match. They explained everything to me then and reaffirmed it as I needed as I got older. I love my family entirely because there are a total of 7 chosen children.
We're all grown now with kids of our own. I got pregnat after HS and my daughter's father wasn't interested in being in our lives. I married but wasn't fortunate to have my first husband to love her enough to adopt her. He felt we needed the child support money more than her a name. My second husband of 4years this coming Thursday,does love her beyond something so limited as money,adopted her last year. At 14 she has known she has a bio dad since she found his picture at age 5 and it was explained to her he wasn't ready to be a dad. I've explained I don't know if he has other kids because we don't communicate. On occassions she gets angry and feels rejected because he has no interest in her life. I hurt for her but my husband normally sees it as his little girl needing someone 1-on-1 dad time. (We have a total of 4 kids.)
Having kids aging 15,14,13,&11 ,they have enough stuff they feel angry,hurt and confused by without feeling they can't trust their parents. The people they are suppose to trust to be examples of honesty and integrity. They will judge you as a hypocrite and use it as an excuse to disobey if you don't live it.My daughter knows she's very much loved and so far I've been blessed she hasn't been angry with me and my decisions as a young adult.
You've been blessed with a wonderful man who loves not just you but also a son that in his heart is his own.Cherish it and your son will know this was all for the best. It's his bio that's missing out on this wonderful life so you shouldn't fear this little change.
God bless you with wisdom and grace .
My prayers are with you.

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C.E.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have been through the exact thing, except I was the child (along with my brother). It didn't bother me at all, but my Mom never spoke badly about my real father (not even to this day!). My brother did act out a bit though. Even to this day he really hates our stepfather, but my dad (step-dad) always treated him differently. That is what made all the difference. So my best advice to you is don't let your husband ever treat your son any differently than the other kids(not even overly better b/c he feels bad) and be sure not to ever speak badly about his real father. Trust me, one day he'll grow up and find out on his own and he will respect you and your husband ALOT more for it.

Best,
C.

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K.N.

answers from Cleveland on

beleive it or not it's nto that big a deal to a kid my brother was inteh same boat and my mom waited till he was a teenager before telling him and i was shocked myself at how well he took it, he knows he's loved and that is all that matters, his birth father has shown back up and even sent him money and all my brother does is say thanks he has no desire to talk to him or anything, and if he wasn't a 16 year old boy he probally wouldn't take the money he's that kind of person, so don't worry about it jsut tell your son whatever he can grasp, don't go into details don't tell him what a terrible person the other man is just tell him that his daddy loves him very much and that he wants to make it official, i do have a question though if you waited this long to tell him were you really planning on ever telling him? and if not then why bother he doens't have to knwo about he adoption, you can always wait till he is older if you feel like it. good luck.

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P.J.

answers from Columbus on

I disagree with not telling him. I do think that at that age he might still be too young to tell him and be able to explain biologicla father and dad. So you could wait if you can a few years. But I would strongly recommend it. My birth mother ran out on my dad when my 2 brothers and I were really young and my dad and mom told us when we were around 9 or so but they explained that we were loved and my mom wanted to be our mother and loved us as her own. She is my mother and my best friend. I also met my birth mother who when I turned 21 tried to be in the picture and wanted me to call her mom but I have my real mother. My friend didn't find out that her dad wasn't her biological dad till she was about 23 and it devistated her to where she didn't talk to her parents for a while. I think being upfront and honest when the child is ready is the best way to go. Just make sure he knows he is loved by his dad. Good luck.

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T.P.

answers from Canton on

Okay, I have a perspective I haven't read about yet, in the other responses.
My Mom & biological dad divorced when I was very young. My Mom got married at 18, had me at 19, and was divorced at 20. My bio-dad didn't take much of an active role, as father or even financially. Fast forward...My Mom met a wonderful man, who actually fell in love with me, before my Mom. They were friends, and he hung out with us. Eventually loved blossomed between them and they got married.
My DAD (stepdad is referred to as Dad from here on out) adopted me when I was about 3 yrs. old. He is the only daddy I knew.
Fast forward to when I was 12 yrs. old. My family was going to a church and one Sunday, this new family visits. Long story short, it was my biological grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. And I didn't have a freaking clue as to who these people were, coming up and kissing/hugging on me, calling me their baby.
The emotional pain that ensued for years afterwards, I wouldn't wish on anyone. I felt as if my entire family had lied to me. Which, in a sense, they really did. I had huge trust issues with my parents (talk about role reversals). The one place I should have been able to feel safe and secure, have absolute trust in, had turned out to be a lie.
I went through a very angry, rebellious stage, and eventually ended up in counseling at age 15/16.
I'm happy to say that I actually have a relationship with my biological dad and his family now. It hasn't been easy. But there's always hope for your son.
As for the issue at hand, please, I beg of you, do not wait to tell him. Explain it to him in simple, easy-to-understand terms for now, and leave the door open for him to ask questions when he feels the need the need to. I can't stress to you enough how painful my experience was. And actually still is, sometimes, even though I'm now 28 yrs. old.
Even as I sit here typing this, I get those angry, betrayed feelings all over again. Don't get me wrong, I have a wonderful relationship with my Mom and Dad. But that doesn't erase the fact that they kept such a huge secret from me. What's worse, is they kept my biological family from me. I lost out on a sister and a brother. I lost out on time with my grandparents. I never got to know them.
So again, I say, please tell your son. Explain to him his stepdad's love for him, and that someday when he's older, he'll be able to fully understand what you're telling him. But that for now, all he needs to know is that he has a wonderful family, with a great dad, that loves him to pieces.
Another thing to think about...he's going to find out as you go thru the adoption process anyways. The judge will speak to your son, asking him all sorts of questions. I actually remember the judge sitting me down and asking me who had taught me the alphabet, and my numbers, and how to tie my shoes. Unless things have changed since then, which I doubt they have, the judge will speak to your son. So better to tell him now, before you go to court and the judge asks him who he wants to be his dad!

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M.W.

answers from Toledo on

Hello,

when i was 5 my mom adopted me,It is the only mom i remember. and your husband is the only dad your son remembers.Sit your son down with your husband and have a picture of his dad handy in case he asks questions and start with the truth. dont bash his dad just let him know that not all relationships work out, but you are both there and love him very much and now your husband (his dad) wants him to have his last name. Let your son decide if he wants to have the same name. and tell him when he gets older and wants to find his dad you will be there to hlp him any way you can. that is what my mom did for me. remember to keep it simple but truthful.

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B.L.

answers from Youngstown on

I agree with Beth..at 6, your son is too young to really understand adoption. If he had known his bio father at all, then you would have to explain more thoroughly. But, at 6, just explaining that you will be changing his last name to "match" everyone else's is sufficient.
The tough part for him will be when to tell him about the situation, not until he's old enough to understand biological fathers versus Dads. But make sure you tell him before he finds out some other way...I had a friend who found out on her own at 15, she found baby records, and was devastated her parents never told her.
Congratulations! It is a wonderful thing you and your husband are doing for your son!

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J.B.

answers from Dayton on

My best friend went through exactly what you are going through. Her son was raised to believe that her husband was his father and he did adopt him about the same age I think (he is 10 now). They didn't actually tell him about his father until this past year though and he took it very well with no problems. So is there a reason that you have to inform your son about this now or can you wait until he is a little older?

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B.R.

answers from Columbus on

Hello, even though my ex husband and I have a biological son, he (our son) had my (maiden) last name until after we were divorced.(because we were not married when I had him) Basically if your husband is adopting him, and that has been his daddy all this time, I would just tell him his new last name. When he grows up, he will understand better what and why you did it. At 6, I think personally that he wouldnt understand. Explain to him that when he was born, you and he had the same last name until you were married and now it is time for everyone to have the same last name. You are not lying and someday, in the near future (because his teen years are closer than you think!) you can tell him everything he needs to know! Good Luck

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A.S.

answers from Columbus on

From someone that was adopted when I was an infant, I plead for you to tell your son the truth. My parents told me that I was adopted when I was 3 years old and while I did't understand exactly what they were telling me, it was then out there in the open and we were able to talk about it whenever I wanted too. I grew up in a VERY loving family and have never wondered what my biological parents were like, it's love that makes a family, not blood. As long as your son feels very loved and accepted in the family then I don't think you have to worry too much. My brother was adopted too and he feels the same way that I do, we just don't care about our biological families. Good luck.

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B.R.

answers from Columbus on

J.,

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that he is too young to tell. How is telling him now in his best interest? If you're telling him for your guilt or conscience, then that's not in his best interest. If everyone is happy, don't rock the boat.

Also, if that's your worst fear, well, then you're doing well! :) You are also going to project your own fears onto your son. Wait until you are ready and he is older. You are not hurting him by not telling him now. Wait. At least for a few years.

I'm sure you'll get opposing opinions. Now would be the time to pray about it, if you're inclined to pray. Good luck. Keep us posted as to your decision and results or let us know if you have any more questions! :)

B.

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P.E.

answers from Columbus on

please do not tell him right now but let the adoption go through unless you think he is emotionaly ready my mom told me i had a different father from my 2 sisters and brother when i was 5 till this day i still struggle with this reality at 24 yrs and i dont know how one day i will tell this to my children about thier grandpa wait until he is about 10 to 13 depending on how well he handles tough situations.

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