Contacting adopted children. Leave it alone?

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swingaloo
swingaloo Posts: 2,778 Forumite
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Just wondered what advice people would give in this scenario.

I apologise that its a bit of a long one-

The background-
My husband was married before nearly 30 years ago. His wife left him for another man and when she left she was pregnant with a baby which was my husbands although he was not aware of it. Both her and the other man eventually came to see my husband when she was 7 months pregnant and told him that even though she knew the baby was from the marriage she had held off telling him because she was unhappy and intended to leave irrespective of the other man coming on the scene. This was the first my husband knew of the baby. At this time they had already started divorce proceedings.

They asked if they could bring up the child together without any input or contact with my husband. He was devastated at the time but he really thought that the fairest thing for the baby was for her to grow up in a stable home and he thought the man his ex wanted to marry was a decent man. They both told him that they were happy for him to be at the birth but he declined as he said that if he saw the baby he would not be able to agree to what they proposed.

Consequently she married the new man and went on to have more children and they are still happy. There has been no contact of any kind since the divorce.

Now the quandary-

My husband has never forgotten about this child despite having 2 further children. Now with the search availability through Facebook I have discovered his ex wife and the daughter are on there. Its like looking in a mirror looking at her and one of his other daughters. We first found her over 12 months ago so this is something we have been mulling over for a long time.

He knows she is there and asks me if she looks happy, is she married etc but he will not look at any of her pictures.

He has mulled over contacting her mum to ask if the daughter knows she has a birth father. But he says he has no right whatsoever to disrupt her life or rock the boat and says it would be selfish of him to interfere in her life for his sake and would only do so if there was a guarantee that she would not be upset in any way. Of course there can be no guarantee that there would be no upset on either her or her mum or dads part so he is reluctant to do anything even though he has spent his life regretting the decision he took even though he thought it was for the right reason at the time.

Now I was adopted by my dad after my mum got pregnant by another man before she met my dad. The scenario was the same, my mum and adoptive dad asked my birth father to stay out of my life and he agreed. I have always wondered if he walked away regretfully as my husband did or if he breathed a sigh of relief and celebrated!

Its too late for me to ever know the answer but it has niggled away at me for years and I just dont want my husbands daughter to ever be in that position. Of course Facebook wasnt around when I was in that position so there would have been no way my birth father could have seen me on there but i have always wondered what he would have done. I so wish I could have met him.

Of course there is nothing to say that this young lady feels the same.

My husband is very much of the 'I would love to know her, but she must come first' train of thought.

I see from the other side and can really put myself in her place and dont want it to get too late for them. I often hear my husband talk about her and wonder if my birth father had a life of regret.

So today we have been talking about again and there are options-
but none seem to be right.
He could contact her on Facebook although he does not have an account but I do. We both feel this is wrong as it could cause a massive shock. We dont even know if she knows the truth about her dad.
He could contact her mum and ask about her but again it could all backfire as he promised to keep out of her life. Again he feels it would be a massive shock but I feel that as he made the decision when he was so young he hadnt really understood the lasting implications.

Both of us are in complete agreement that her feelings must come before his but I also feel that as her birth father his feelings do have to be considered also. I live with a never ending wonder about why my birth father didnt ever try to contact me and dont want her to have to live with the same.
I would give anything to have met my birth father but of course this young lady may not even know her dad id not her birth father. I didnt know about mine till I was 26 and I felt really upset that it had been kept from me.

My hubby thinks he has no right to interfere although he would dearly love to be able to meet her one day.

I know in her shoes I would want him to contact me.

I am not pressuring him in any way, whatever he does and if he does anything at all it will be his decision not mine.

So, leave it alone or take the chance?
Contact the mum?

Would value opinions more detached than mine. Thank you for reading.
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Comments

  • balletshoes
    balletshoes Posts: 16,610 Forumite
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    "I know in her shoes I would want him to contact me" -

    but as you have already said, you don't even know if this young woman knows anything about her Dad not being her birth father. She may never know.

    Its most definitely not up to you or your OH to contact her, in any way, shape or form. No way, no how. If your OH wants to know if his birth daughter is aware of his existence, he contacts his ex-wife to ask. And then once he has an answer, if its that she has one Dad, the man who has brought her up, and thats all she knows, he lets it lie.
  • heuchera
    heuchera Posts: 1,825 Forumite
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    I think the daughter has a right to know the truth. Secrets have a nasty habit of coming out, and not always in the best of circumstances.
    left the forum due to trolling/other nonsense
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  • pigpen
    pigpen Posts: 41,062 Forumite
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    I'd gently contact the mum and ask if it is ok to ask about her.. it may be he finds himself blocked and unable to contact her again which is something he needs to consider. definitely ask if she knows about her birth father and that he isn't going to gate crash her life and upset everyone he just wants to know she is happy and well and that she has been in his thoughts all her life. All unintrusive and the like.

    If the new husband adopted her though she will know the minute she needs a birth certificate .. apparently the new issued one after adoption states 'adopted' on it.. I've not seen this but the dates would indicate something untoward .. was she ever even legally adopted or is there no birth father listed on the certificate.. it is possible to get a copy of her birth certificate to find this info..

    Its so hard to know what to do for the best..

    My BIL was in a similar position though had had contact with his daughter for a short time.. but she came looking for him at 18.. it is more difficult because it is likely she knows nothing.


    If he never takes the chance he may regret it for the rest of his life.. rejection is hard to swallow but at least it is an answer.. I'd take the chance.. carefully!
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  • tea_lover
    tea_lover Posts: 8,261 Forumite
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    Leave it, completely, totally, don't contact any of them. The only step I'd take is for your husband to make sure he has just enough presence online that he'd be easy to find if she was ever to look.
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,778 Forumite
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    Thats the thing, secrets do have a way of coming out. I learnt the truth during a family row and Im so angry.
    He rightly says she must come first and does not want to upset her at all but I think Im looking at it from a completely different angle as I was in exactly the same situation as she is and i know what I wanted and now its too late for me.
  • PasturesNew
    PasturesNew Posts: 70,698 Forumite
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    Have you got a copy of her birth certificate? (£10 or so) just to check what father's name they put on there....?

    I think she has a right to know that she has a "real father" and who that is, but it's something that needs to be managed properly.

    So, my first step would be to get her birth certificate to see what the ex-wife put under "father" in the box on the form.

    You probably need some professional help to make the contact. An intermediary .... rather than doing anything direct and/or via Facebook.

    Imagine if you got drunk one night and just posted "IMMA UR DADDI!!"
  • tea_lover
    tea_lover Posts: 8,261 Forumite
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    Her real father is the guy who's brought her up for the past 30 years.
  • balletshoes
    balletshoes Posts: 16,610 Forumite
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    heuchera wrote: »
    I think the daughter has a right to know the truth. Secrets have a nasty habit of coming out, and not always in the best of circumstances.

    I agree with that, but its up to her mum and Dad to tell her, its not up to the OP or her OH to do so.
  • swingaloo
    swingaloo Posts: 2,778 Forumite
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    tea_lover wrote: »
    Her real father is the guy who's brought her up for the past 30 years.

    Thats very true and my husband is more than grateful that this man has stood by all her life and brought her up to be what looks like a lovely happy young lady.

    However, my 'dad' did the same for me but it did not stop me wondering if my birth father wanted me or not. It would have meant the world to me to find out that he did. That would never have taken away the love I had for my 'dad'.

    Sometimes, as in my husbands case it is not always possible to be 'the guy who brought her up for the pat 30 years'.
  • heuchera
    heuchera Posts: 1,825 Forumite
    edited 2 December 2015 at 9:01PM
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    swingaloo wrote: »
    Thats very true and my husband is more than grateful that this man has stood by all her life and brought her up to be what looks like a lovely happy young lady.

    However, my 'dad' did the same for me but it did not stop me wondering if my birth father wanted me or not. It would have meant the world to me to find out that he did. That would never have taken away the love I had for my 'dad'.

    Sometimes, as in my husbands case it is not always possible to be 'the guy who brought her up for the pat 30 years'.

    I think PasturesNew's idea of getting a copy of the birth certificate is a good one. Presumably the daughter has seen her own birth certificate, so if your OH is down as the father she obviously knows already. But if (as I fear) they've lied and put her new husband down as the father then the brown stuff is going to hit the fan when she finds out she's been lied to all these years.

    She is an adult now, and she deserves to know the truth, if she doesn't already.
    left the forum due to trolling/other nonsense
    28.3.2016
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