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Charles Dean

At what age should you tell a child that you are not their "real" parent?

I married a woman with a child. The real "donor" has not had anything to do with the child and we have not pursued any kind of support from him. To all accounts our child has no idea that I am not her "real" dad. I will decide based on her maturity when to tell her, but I am curious as to what all of you think is the best age.
Rettag:

You are the REAL Dad - god bless you! the other man was just a sperm donor who blessed you with this gift from God. It takes a real man to be a Daddy and it sounds like you are the real deal. :) but in all accounts please wait until the child is mature enough to handle this thought process - only you can decide that because you are the loving Dad who knows best.

Kiki:

I have several friends who have adopted children and they told their children at a very young age. That makes it no big deal for the child, as they grow older they will not even remember not knowing the truth. The key is to let her know that as her adopted father, you are no different than her mother as far as your role as parent. You love her just as much and she is your child.

If you let her believe that you are her biological father, when she learns the truth it may be a traumatic experience for her. There are child level books that help explain adoption to young children that emphasize some of the points in my first paragraph.

She may have questions about her biological father, even at a young age, so be prepared for how you want to answer those.

JaneMarie:

Well said, no wonder you have so many stars.

MaggieD:

Excellent answer, Tom. My vote.

Adamhamid:

No age- why tell her if it doesnt matter to them. You raised her- Your the "real" parent if you ask me

Rettag:

I agree - good answer....sperm donors are plenty - but it takes a real Man to be a Daddy.

Ferdinandisafella:

'Why tell her if it doesn't maatter to them'!!!!!!!! DOESN'T MATTER!!!!!!! We're not talking about forgetting to tell her about a telephone message which should have been passed on this is BIG! DOESNT MATTER!!!!! Grow the hell up!!!!!

STEPH:

I wouldn't tell her . Why would you bring out some painful things that they didn't need to know. Only if they find out would I tell them..

Ferdinandisafella:

WHAT, YOU IDIOT!!!!!!! I'm adopted and i was told at a very young age, basically i've always known. That was the RESPONSIBLE thing my parents choose to do, SOOOOO much less traumatic than 'finding out'!!!!!!! Plus it's the childs own personal business so what right does anyone else have to know something so important when the child involved is been kept in the dark. Also there are many health reasons why all involved should know NOT to mention it's the moral thing to do.

Djprice:

Whenever the cognitive factors permit. i suggestively advise that you do do so at the earliest possible moment that you BOTH can functionally deal with this with proper/positive coping skills.

Goodbye, Cruel World:

You are the child's real parent. If you have been honest about the dates of birth and of marriage, you have a great opportunity to reinforce that and reveal the truth about the "donor".

You wife should extol your virtue of having married her when she needed a good man to be your child's father. She can talk about being glad the schmuck is not a part of your child's life.

Because family medical history is important, your child will need to know. It is easier when they are young to lay out the truth than when they are older, like teens, and more willing to hold something against you.

Pighead:

Wow I would talk it over with your wife. You two together should make the decision and think of all the consequenses that would and could follow. If the "sperm donor" is not in the pic, why complicate things now. In my opinion you are the "real" dad. ............ Anybody can be a father but it takes a real man to be a DAD.

Kat:

The earlier the better. Imagine how you would feel if you were a teenager and found out that your mom or dad wasnt your real parent. In most cases the child wont be upset about it and the earlier the truth is told the easier a time the child with have dealing with it. Granted I wouldnt tell her that her daddy didnt want her (use common sence) but emphasis that you love her very much.

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