“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#1 Jul 6, 2013
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By Amy Dickinson, Published: July 5

DEAR AMY: After 20 years of marriage, my husband and I are getting a divorce. We have two kids, a 12-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter. My husband adopted my daughter when she was 3. She believes my husband is her birth father.

How do I tell her he’s not her birth father? How do I help her if she wants to meet the birth father? How do I explain to my son that my daughter is his half sister?

I want to handle this with compassion for both children.-- Confused

DEAR CONFUSED: The way to have a difficult conversation is to prepare by thinking it through and finding the right way to express yourself, simply and truthfully — and then being brave and patient during the conversation and after.

Timing is also important, so I wonder why you are choosing to disclose this now. If it is out of anger or retaliation toward your ex during a heated period in your relationship, I urge you to wait until things are stable. Ideally this conversation would be held with you and your ex together, united by mutual love for your daughter as well as your desire for her to know the truth.

He should be involved because his job will be to tell your daughter that, no matter what, he will always be her dad. As her adoptive father and the man who helped raise her, he is her “real” father.

When the moment is right, sit with her and tell her that she has a different biological father from her brother. Answer questions truthfully. If she wants to meet him, help her to find him and play a supportive role throughout the process.

After you speak with her, you should convey this information to her brother, plainly and accurately. Do not emphasize the fact that they are “half” siblings, but focus on the wholeness of their relationship, now and moving forward.

A professional therapist with experience working with adolescents can help your daughter to process this information, along with helping her deal with complicated feelings and frustration with all of the adults in her life. She might feel confused and abandoned, and you should be patient and consistently kind — and always in her corner.

DEAR AMY: I chuckled when I read “The Only Mom’s” dilemma: She was offended when her teenage son called a friend’s mother “Ma.” She said she wanted to be the only “Ma” in her son’s life.

She has it all wrong! She should be thrilled that he is comfortable with his friends’ mothers. When my son was growing up, he and his friends were always in and out of one another’s homes and refrigerators. When the teenage years hit, I was on a need-to-know basis about most things in his life that didn’t involve food, getting a ride somewhere or clean clothes.

What we discovered was that all of the boys would open up with other mothers. We then carefully shared that information with one another. I found out that my son had a new girlfriend from another mom; in turn, I was able to tell her what college her son was leaning toward choosing. It really does take a village.-- Another “Ma”

DEAR “MA”: What an eloquent testimony to the influence and power of all of the honorary parents in a young person’s life. Thank you.

DEAR AMY: Responding to the dilemma posed by “In a Quandary”— the woman who saw an acquaintance drive away cradling a newborn baby in one arm — I once saw a young mother put her toddler into her back seat with no seat belt and no child seat.

I immediately called 911 and reported the make, model and license number, along with the issue. The police stopped the woman almost immediately — that’s how to stay out of it and make sure the child is safe.-- Concerned

DEAR CONCERNED:“In a Quandary” had already waited a day, worrying about what to do, but I agree with your choice.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Jul 6, 2013
L1 Daughter will learn teh first time she needs a birth certificate for something, like proving citizenship or a passport. If it can be done, have her dad tell her because he can re=affirm his fatherhood on the spot.

L2 I still find out stuff my girls are doing from friends 'moms because I don't follow FB and half the time they forget who they told and who they didn't. No big deal.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#3 Jul 6, 2013
1- So you've been married for 20 years. You have a 12 year old son and an 18 yr old daughter. Now that you're getting divorced, you want to:

Tell your daughter her father is not her real father
Introduce her to her real father
Tell your son his sister is actually his half-sister

Me thinks someone is a bit bitter and hostile. Honey, telling your children all this is a ship that has sailed long ago.

2- I call everyone mommy.

3- Or you could just MYOB. It's not YOUR kid, what the hell do you care?
liner

Patchogue, NY

#4 Jul 6, 2013
L1: I just find it curious that an 18 yo wouldn't have had at least an inkling of this.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#5 Jul 6, 2013
LW1 - Why now? And help me with the math here: You have been married for 20 years. Your daughter is 18, so she was born 2 years into your marriage. Yet your husband is not her bio father. What gives? Did you cheat at the beginning of your marriage? Was she conceived with the help of a sperm donor? Was she a product of rape? And since she was born in the marriage, why did your husband have to adopt her when she was 3?

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#6 Jul 6, 2013
Cass wrote:
LW1 - And help me with the math here: You have been married for 20 years. Your daughter is 18, so she was born 2 years into your marriage. Yet your husband is not her bio father. What gives?
Excellent question.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#7 Jul 6, 2013
liner wrote:
L1: I just find it curious that an 18 yo wouldn't have had at least an inkling of this.
Yeah, but why would she, though?

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#8 Jul 6, 2013
PEllen wrote:
L1 Daughter will learn teh first time she needs a birth certificate for something, like proving citizenship or a passport.
The original BC would have been sealed and she would have been issued a new one with the adoptive father listed as "father" just like a bio dad. It would't say "adopted" anywhere in the BC. There are separate papers for that. My eldest step-sister was adopted by my step-dad. Her BC just lists him as the father and it's just a normal BC not any kind of special-for-adopted-kids BC.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#9 Jul 6, 2013
Mimi Seattle wrote:
<quoted text>
The original BC would have been sealed and she would have been issued a new one with the adoptive father listed as "father" just like a bio dad. It would't say "adopted" anywhere in the BC. There are separate papers for that. My eldest step-sister was adopted by my step-dad. Her BC just lists him as the father and it's just a normal BC not any kind of special-for-adopted-kids BC.
Interesting. I wonder if that holds true in all states. Wouldn't the date of the document give it away, meaning a birth certificate dated 5 years, etc., after the birth?

I have never had to deal with that. The only adoption in my extended family that I am aware of is a cousin who is about 6 months older than me. We all knew she was adopted from the get go.
liner

Patchogue, NY

#10 Jul 6, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah, but why would she, though?
Just in normal family conversations etc. Would she have ever asked about dad's mother/father, grandpa or grandma?
Julie

Chicago, IL

#11 Jul 6, 2013
edogxxx wrote:
1- So you've been married for 20 years. You have a 12 year old son and an 18 yr old daughter. Now that you're getting divorced, you want to:
Tell your daughter her father is not her real father
Introduce her to her real father
Tell your son his sister is actually his half-sister
Me thinks someone is a bit bitter and hostile. Honey, telling your children all this is a ship that has sailed long ago.
Dog for the win.
edogxxx wrote:
2- I call everyone mommy.
Awwww, Honey. You're still trying to find a woman to breast-feed you, aren't you? ;-)

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#12 Jul 6, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>Interesting. I wonder if that holds true in all states. Wouldn't the date of the document give it away, meaning a birth certificate dated 5 years, etc., after the birth?
I didn't get a birth certificate for #1 till #2 was born. That was not taken care of in the hospital but in a building near the hospital and we did not get around to getting one till nearly 3 years in. Got both of them processed and printed on the same day.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#13 Jul 6, 2013
liner wrote:
<quoted text>
Just in normal family conversations etc. Would she have ever asked about dad's mother/father, grandpa or grandma?
Dad being the apprrent non-biological one raising her as his own daughter? Why would you think she never met his parents and that she would need to ask about them?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#14 Jul 6, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text> I didn't get a birth certificate for #1 till #2 was born. That was not taken care of in the hospital but in a building near the hospital and we did not get around to getting one till nearly 3 years in. Got both of them processed and printed on the same day.
My girls were born in 86 and 89 in Illinois. We didn't have to do anything except pick a name. We were wrangling about the name for the younger one and the staff said they couldn't discharge us until we had named the baby. I am pretty sure the hospital took the rest of the biographical data from my husband and me as part of the admission process. We didn't get the certificate until much later either but it was dated within a couple days of the birth.That's the date I was referring to. I can get print outs that are dated the time the County prints them, but the Certificate of Live Birth is still dated as the original.

Also by the mid 1980's any baby born in the US had to get a SS # if not at birth then very soon afterwards. Again, the SS# application is something the hospital took care of. But I can run a public data base check on a SS# and it will give me a 2 year range when it was issued. The 1st number tells me the region from which it was issued

If any of those did not line up, that would be an indication that the original birth certificate had been amended, changed etc.

“What's it to ya?”

Since: Mar 09

Location hidden

#15 Jul 7, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>Interesting. I wonder if that holds true in all states. Wouldn't the date of the document give it away, meaning a birth certificate dated 5 years, etc., after the birth?
I have never had to deal with that. The only adoption in my extended family that I am aware of is a cousin who is about 6 months older than me. We all knew she was adopted from the get go.
Actually I don't really know. IIRC they datd the "new" BC as if it had been issued at birth...but I could be wrong about that. This was California, so I don't know how it's done with every state, but I *think* they still do the whole seal the original one thing. <shrug>

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