Reconnecting with an Adult Child

Updated on December 03, 2012
K.C. asks from Saint Louis, MO
9 answers

my husband has a 20 year old daughter that he has not seen since she was 2 years old. he signed his rights away after her mom took her & moved to Florida after cheating on him with his best friend, mom was 18 at the time & dad was 21. he was fresh out of college making very little money & paying over $800 in child support a month while only seeing her 2 weekends a year. he was a very good father to her in the first 2 years of her life & has always loved her but at the time he didn't feel he had any other choices. mom wanted him out of their life & dad couldn't afford to pay child support much less fight her in court, her parent's were very wealthy he was not. He now has a 4 year old son of his own, a 4 year old step-daughter & 10 year old step-son, and is an AMAZING father to all 3 of them. he has had a void in his life though all these years by missing his relationship with his own daughter who now also has a 3 year old daughter. he wants to reconnect with her but is afraid of the disruption in her life that it would potentially cause. he understands though that if it is going to happen he needs to be the one to make the first move. he has 2 brothers that have tried contacting her through FB in the last few years with no response, although her mom did contact one of them the last time they contacted her & completely blew up at him for trying to contact her. we have the address where she lives but are trying to decide the best course to take too make contact. Any positive suggestions or advice would GREATLY be appreciated!

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answers from Dallas on

Send the letter. You never know if the mom is speaking for her daughter or not. And you never know what she told her daughter about her dad and he might get to clear up misconceptions.

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answers from Seattle on

I would suggest that he write her a letter - old fashioned but a lot more personal than something like email or facebook.

He should write her about how he feels for her but not blame her mom for him not being around for her.
I did not see my dad for years after my parents divorced. Just like in your case my mom had the cards stacked against him - while I understand that, it does not make up for his lack of trying. I would bet that your husbands DD feels the same. It would be better for him to accept responsibility for his part in this than to try and place the blame somewhere else.

Sending her the letter will put the ball in her court. He needs to be prepared that she may not get back to him. Maybe it will take her weeks or months or years to be ready to respond - maybe she will never want to respond. He needs to be ready to accept that and then able to move on.

I reconciled with my dad, though it was only a few years before he died. I am happy I had that chance, though I was very angry at both my mother and my father for their inability to act like civil adults. Their selfish decisions resulted me not growing up with a father - and even though we had a relationship later, it was not the same that it would have been had he been a part of my life as a child.

She is an adult now, contact her and let her make the decision if and to what extent she would like to get to know him.
Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Send a letter and some photos, be sincere and gentle. I would have loved to hear something from my dad. I never met him and don't have any pictures. I'll bet she would like to hear from her father. I hope it all works out for all concerned.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Absolutely he should contact her. It doesn't matter what the mom thinks. The girl is an adult now.

If he is a great guy, and he loves her, and he begins a positive relationship with her, there is NO WAY this can be detrimental to her. If she doesn't want to have contact, however, then obviously he will have to wait until she changes her mind.

YES, he should contact her, apologize for not being in her life (with no excuses, even if mom's a crazy person), and begin being a wonderful father to her just like he has proven he can be with his other three kids.

The best course to make contact with her is to just send her a heartfelt letter, since you know her address. But like I said, NO EXCUSES.

Cc, below, is right on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

Though I'm not normally a fan of sending letters, I agree very much with what Ina G. said.

Even though he was not completely at fault he needs to apologize for not being there, and he needs to be willing to let her come to him at her own pace (if she ever does). But at least he will know that he tried. And in her heart she will too (even if she won't admit it).

Good luck - I'm sorry that this has been so painful for him and his daughter. Praying that it all works out for the best, with lasting peace. I pray that her heart will be open to him.

PS: I agree with another mom - NO EXCUSES in the letter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sent a letter with your honest heartfelt feelings. the mother sounds very bitter, leave that out. only speak about your heart to your daughters heart. it will mean the world to her even if she decides not to respond. I can tell you it will most definitely give the daughter a healing to know she was loved by her father her whole life. Don't delay.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i would send a letter too. i would keep it short and honest though. it sounds like mom is still very bitter and has probably transferred those emotions onto their daughter...sad to say.

if he takes responsibility for his mistakes and explains that he really loves her and always has, i don't see how she could ignore it/him. he has to really work hard at staying in touch and keeping up his end though - she will be overly sensitive to lapses on his part, i hate to say it. i'm the daughter in this scenario :) it is very easy to say "well he SAYS he wants to fix things, but it's been six months and no emails. so obviously he was lying!" not saying your hubby would do that (i'm sure he wouldn't) just giving fair warning. she will be very sensitive and on the alert for him to screw up.

good luck to all of you. i WISH my dad was willing to reach out like this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

If it were me, I would type the letter on the computer, save it and look it over for a couple of days just to make sure that it feels right. Make sure that it's heartfelt. Then when he is confident that the letter is exactly what he wants to say to her, have him handwrite it, preferably on stationery and like Toni V. said, send some pictures.


answers from Detroit on

The mother is driving the wedge, do not let that stop your husband from trying to reach out! the letter sounds like a good idea. He may need to try, try, try and try again due to the interference and years gone by but it is his right to repair what has been broken without him there would not be a her (his daughter) and paperwork cannot dimiss that fact.

sending you prayers of success

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