Post # 1
I’ve been searching the Internet and haven’t really found a similar situation. Basically the issue is that five years ago when I was splitting up with my now ex-husband I found out that he had fathered a child who was born six months after our older daughter. I found this out through the AG’s office when I was there to file child support for my own kids. I was disgusted but my marriage was totally over, I had no desire to reconcile, so I kind of just put it out of my mind.
Fast forward to today and I am now remarried to a wonderful man, we have an awesome blended family. My kids are now 7 and 5 and don’t ever see their biological father. He made the bare minimum of an effort for a little while post-divorce but eventually skipped out completely. My former inlaws are people who I would describe as warm on the outside and cold on the inside–none of them have seen the kids since Christmas 2012. They stay somewhat updated through FB. So basically my kids’ family as they know it consists of my side and my DH’s side.
Yesterday out of the blue I got a message on FB from the mother of the child I found out about. It was pretty straightforward, “Hi, I don’t know if you know this but your daughters are my son’s half-siblings. He would really like to meet his sisters.” She went on to say that she approached my ex-husband about it first and never got a response from him. I replied back and said I’m aware of your child and that my ex probably didn’t respond bc he hasn’t had anything to do with my daughters in over two years. She responded that he’s pretty much a dead beat dad to her child too and that she moved on from the past years ago but she has always been honest with her child about him having two half-sisters and he’s been increasingly asking about them and she’s running out of answers.
I told her that it’s something I have think about a lot before I give her an answer. She replied back with a picture of her son (who looks just like my ex, as does my older daughter) and said “here is my son, he looks just like your girls, they have a right to know each other and I think it would be better now then when they’re much older.” I didn’t respond to the last message.
So tell me, what the heck should I do?
Post # 2
Honestly, I would wait until your daughter is old enough to decide for herself and I don’t think 7 is old enough to make that decision.
Post # 3
they don’t have a right to meet each other just because they are half siblings. i would not let this lady force you to do something you are uncomfotable with. do you daughters know about the other family? you can bring it up slowly and see how your daughters feel.
Post # 4
Oh man, that’s a toughie! My first thought is to never tell them anything. Ever. BUT this other mother has told her son so he may seek out the sisters eventually anyway. I personally wish she would’ve never told him. My ex husband’s father did this to his family. They didn’t find out til they were in their 20s, though, that they had an extra marital sister. They are not close with her at all. No animosity, just 2 different families living 2 different lives I guess.
I think it’s good you’re taking time to think about it. Maybe even see a family counselor about it to at least work through your feelings? I mean, how do you explain to little kids that dad was with another woman and ta-da you have a brother? I think it’d be too much.
Post # 5
I don’t think it’s that complicated and that the siblings have a right to know one another. More family is a great thing
Post # 6
Before I was born, my mother had two other children who were given up for adoption (very long story). I always grew up knowing that I had a brother and sister out there somewhere, this wasn’t confusing for me nor did it cause me any damage. I understood the circumstances from a very young age. We would write to them and send picture and gifts for them as my mother deeply missed them and wanted to be in their lives. I would have loved to have gotten to spend time with them when we were children as I was so lonely being raised as an only child. There were several times we arranged to meet when my mother was living but always at the last minute my brother would decide he didn’t want to go through with it. It was a bit harder for him as he was older when he was given up and rightfully was upset that he was given up and I was kept (I am years younger and had a different father). When I was 12, my mom died. My sister came to the funeral and we now have a pretty solid relationship. I met my brother once in my teen years and he still prefers to think I don’t exist.
I know this is a lot different than your situation but my long winded point is, kids are a lot smarter and in tune with what they want than we realize. While 7 is very young, I do think that kids are able to think about things and decide how they feel and how they want to proceed. If I were in your shoes, I would explain the situation to my child unbiasedly and allow them to decide how they wish to proceed. Perhaps they may be interested in meeting once and then decide they wish to not include them in their life. Or maybe they will meet and grow closer as they grow up. Who knows! Ultimately, it’s your decision. That’s just my two cents from someone who came from an untraditional situation.
Post # 7
Ehhh…I’m torn on it. They share DNA and I think they should have the opportunity to know each other. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be crazy about having a congenial relationship of any sort with someone who was banging (or had banged) my husband. I feel like let HER figure out what to tell the boy now and at the same time, I realize how petty that is.
I have a similar situation, yet quite different at the same time. My 1st husband had a child in his 1st marriage. That child’s mother HATED me and although we would get my step-daughter for long stretches of time, my kids were quite small at the time and have very little recollection of it. When we divorced, there was no more communication with my step-daughter. As the children grew up and became teens I became aware that they were communicating on My Space, etc… and I was glad for that. My step-daughter was then a young adult and she could do those things after she moved out on her own. Now, today, they are close as close can be – as if they were all raised together in the same house. It’s quite remarkable to see. One of my daughters told me she really regrets not having access to her sister growing up. I feel badly about that too I didn’t CAUSE it but I did nothing to remedy it either and I was relieved that I was free from dealing with her mother. Now my children feel that they’ve been denied something that was theirs and I accept my portion of the responsibility for that.
You won’t be able to keep them apart forever and if everything seems stable (the boy isn’t violent or threatening in any way), it wouldn’t hurt for them to know they had a brother. One day, we’ll all be dead and gone and all they’ll have is each other. We can’t choose our parents and we’re not responsible for the foolish things they do. I’m all for the meeting, especially now that the cat is out of the bag.
Post # 8
Wow if I found out I had a half-sibling as a teenager (or older) I’d be very mad at my parents for not allowing me to meet them, especially since you knew about the sibling for years. That’s a major secret to keep. I would have a sit down and explain that they have another sibling through their dad, keep it simple, and explain that you will respect their wishes regardless of what they decide regarding meeting/not meeting. Put no pressure on them, but ultimately, let them make the decision. I’m not a parent, however, I’m just going off what I’d do. Good luck!
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2018 - Omaha, NE
I met my half sister at age 10 or 11 (I forget). It’s not any of the kids’ fault that they have more siblings from other parents. It’s not like they’re 30 and only want to meet to mooch off of them. They’re just kids and they want to know their siblings. There is no harm in that.
Post # 10
As someone whose biological father also has children by women other than my mother, I would be open to it. I grew up very close with my half-brothers (one of whom is only 2 months older than me) because my mother and their mother made it a priority to have us in each other’s lives. I’m very grateful for that.
Post # 11
PERSONALLY, at 5 and 7 (I have two as well that are 6 and 8 so I am well aware of the capacity at those ages), I would not introduce her son to my kids at this age. I would wait till they are older and able to understand the logistics somewhat. A relationship can always be developed later.
Post # 12
Thanks for all the comments. My DDs call their step father dad and I refer to their bio dad as the “dad who helped make them.” At most I think I would tell my kids, “I found out that the dad who helped make you also helped make another kid. If you would like you can meet him one day.” And then go from there. Honestly I think even that would sail over my five year old’s head but my seven year old would take that explanation.
I don’t really care that the mom was the other woman. She was one of many. I’m way past the point of caring about that. What I’m mostly concerned about is that this could lead to my kids (particularly my DD7) having feelings of sadness or anger about their life and the fact that their real dad isn’t around.
Post # 13
This could be a crazy suggestion, but there it goes just in case: could you possibly meet all of you in a playground and just see how it goes and decide after that?
You could ask the other woman not to tell her son that he is meeting his half-siblings at least until they are back home. That way, there is no need of introducing the kids to each other as half-siblings. And then when you are back home, you can decide.
Post # 14
I had a similar situation to your daughters. My father abandoned us and later abandoned our half brother/his mother. I did know his mother, as she was my dad’s girlfriend for a little while. When my father left them I was about 8 and my brother was a baby. She made an effort to still call me and come pick me up for visits. Because of her and my mother allowing it, my brother and I grew up knowing each other. We have fun childhood memories and love each other like siblings. I think it would be hard to just connect as adults. I would have missed so many important things in his life. I think your girls will be grateful later that you helped facilitate a relationship. I know I am.
Post # 15
What a tough spot to be in. My mom grew up with her half siblings. They treated each other as full siblings despite the fact that 2 of them had dead beat dads. I don’t think it caused any resentment between them. I think they focused on each other more than who their actual parents were.
I think it sounds like your daughters have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with your DH, and I think that is worth a lot in this case. Especially as that will assuage some of the insecurities or jealously from not having a male figure in the house when friends, etc., do. I think as they get older, there will be more questions, maybe even some moments of anger or confusion, but I think the fact that they could potentially have a beautiful relationship with people they share blood with outweighs that risk.