Posted in the Chicago Forum
“Not a real reg”
Since: Jan 13
#1 Sep 2, 2013
Iím the mother of a 13-year-old daughter,ďKeri.Ē Her biological father hasnít been in her life since she was a baby. We were teenagers with radically different outlooks. From the time I found out I was pregnant, I focused on support groups, my education and finding a job to support us.
My ex dropped out of sight. He never paid child support or saw her. I struggled to finish high school and find work, and then I met a wonderful man who loves Keri as his own child. We built a wonderful life and family together. He has been her ďdadĒ for 10 years.
Keri has started asking questions about my ex, wondering what heís like and if she can meet him. We agree that she has the right to know about him. I looked up my ex, and he hasnít changed a bit. No job, involved with drugs, unstable and violent, and he wants nothing to do with her. I learned that he told his family and friends she died.
My husband and I agree that he isnít the type of person that we want in Keriís life. I donít want to tell her this ďfatherĒ doesnít want to see her. I donít want her to know how violent my ex was, or that she was conceived through rape. I donít want her to know this reality, but I understand that she has the right to have at least some of her questions answered.
What is your opinion on what/how much we should tell Keri about her biological father?
Your daughter is at an age where it is natural for her to have questions about her biological family. She no doubt fantasizes about her ďreal dadĒ(like most adolescents), even though, as you know, her ďrealĒ father is the man who loves her and has helped to raise her.
You and your husband should approach this carefully, thoughtfully and as a family. A therapist with experience working with adolescents would help all of you to find the best way to frame this, but the goal should be for her to know the basic truth ó presented in a way that she can grasp (I donít think itís wise to tell her she was conceived through rape). You would all benefit from talking through this painful issue individually and also as a family. Your daughter will grieve this abandonment, and you must be with her as she does, without feeling threatened by the process.
Your husband should also consider legally adopting your daughter. Going through this process could be joyful for all of you. That would be the happy ending for this difficult chapter.
My son and daughter-in-law havenít talked to us since we had an argument five months ago. Our son will not answer my e-mails asking for forgiveness, and we have not seen our two grandchildren (ages 13 and 11). What should we do?
You donít say what this argument was about, or if it is a pattern of behavior for all of you. But because you are asking for forgiveness, Iím going to assume that you are at fault and are trying to make things right.
Asking for forgiveness without admitting wrongdoing can be seen as an attempt to paper over serious issues without trying to change.
You should try to meet with the couple in person (without the kids present). Tell them you would very much like to sort things out. Vow to listen and hope they will give you the opportunity.
The letter from ďHurtingĒ was devastating. Hurting lost a child and didnít receive comfort from friends.
I had a friend abandon me after a huge loss. I responded by being there for her (as I wished she had been for me) when she was grieving.
She later apologized to me. She said she learned the hard way how to respond to others.
You are an extremely generous and understanding friend.
#2 Sep 2, 2013
1: He told people she died??!
The girl will get the truth eventually and get hurt, but hopefully, with her supportive family, get through it and realize who her family is.
#3 Sep 2, 2013
LW1 - Adoption can be a tricky route. What if the sperm donor (I hesitate to call him "father") throws a monkey wrench into the works, demanding visitation rights or even partial custody? Consult an attorney before you do anything.
In the meantime, I'd suggest seeing a family counselor as well. The girl needs to know that she was conceived when both you and her biological father were young, that he could not handle the responsibility of being a dad, and that he has problems with drugs and the ability to control his actions and emotions till the present day. Stress that that has nothing to do with her at all - that she is loved by her parents (you and her *real* dad who has been raising her) and the rest of her family. Maybe suggest that she can meet him when she is older - an adult. A good family therapist (maybe the one who specializes in adoption counseling?) should help you work out your strategies and words. Good luck!
LW2 - Since you did not provide the details, I am going to make up my own.
So, this was the 453rd time that you called your DIL vile names, went on a racist rant, and openly questioned her morality because she has an older child, age 15, who was born in a previous relationship out of wedlock and whom you, therefore, do not consider your grandchild. You did this in the presence of your grandchildren, upsetting them significantly. Your son and DIL have finally had enough: You've done this cr@p before, and apologized for it, and went on to do it again, and again, and again. They have cut of contact. What you can do is look deep into your soul, see what an awful person you have been, and try to repent, but leave your son, DIL, and grandkids alone.
Oh, am I completely off track? Got it all backwards? Sorry. Maybe somebody else can make up an entirely different scenario with an entirely different suggestion.:-)
Since: Jun 09
#4 Sep 2, 2013
L2. This is what it looks like from the side of a toxic relative who has no awareness, or an unwillingness to acknowledge, how their own conduct affects others.
I like Cass's scenario.
If there is another family member, perhaps they ca explain what the cause is, but don't ask them to mediate a reconciliation.
There is a family in my acquaintance where the father and son worked together for many years and then they broke off all relations. The son did not come to his father's wake or funeral. I asked a younger brother at one point. Apparently the father died without having any idea what happened. I suspect that was not accurate as it is not consistent with my knowledge of the father. I strongly suspect that whatever happened the family decided to close ranks, and quite effectively , too.
“I Am Mine”
Since: Dec 08
#5 Sep 2, 2013
what cass said
“Where is Everyone?”
Since: Jul 12
#6 Sep 3, 2013
L1: She should know all her heritage -- the good, the bad and the ugly. Having good parents now might make her feel lucky. I agree it has to be done with a therapist.
L2: Cass might have it right. She probably did do something to the DIL. Too bad we don't know for sure. If so, good for the son for sticking by his wife's side.
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