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How do I tell my 3 year old her Daddy isn't her biological father?

My daughter and I were only on our own for about a year before I met my husband. He is the best dad she could ever have, we were blessed to have some one come into our lives who loves both of us so much. We were married last year, are in the middle of the adoption process and expecting a new baby in May. Her biological father consented to terminate his rights. He hasn't been too much of a father as of yet. We live within a couple hours of one another and he doesn't visit or call, but he send things once every few months and we don't want to banish him completely. She quickly blocked him out though and can't recognize his name, voice or picture. She now knows only her Daddy, my husband. She thinks she has my husband's blue eyes. We want to keep her informed and never lie to her but don't know what to say. How do we explain things to her without devastating her, especially with a brother coming soon.

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Asked by soulshinebright at 9:53 PM on Feb. 21, 2010 in Adoption

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Answers (25)
  • I would probably wait until she's a little older to understand.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:54 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • Just wait it out until she's old enough to understand. BTW just my opinion any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy. Biological or not he is her daddy. He does all the daddy things he is supposed to do. I really don't see why she needs to know any different at such a young age. You are truly blessed and so is she. No need to mess it up.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 10:00 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • My son is also 3, and my DH is also not his biological father. His bio-father, doesn't call, visit, anything, he has never had anthing to do with my DS. But I agree, I think they are just to young to comprehend right now, so when he is older, i will have to set him down and explain it to him. As to how, i'm not sure yet. Just be open with them is what I've been told. No need to give to much information, but be prepared to answer their questions.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:00 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • In a perfect world, you would not lay this on her until she has navigated the re-orientation phase which comes in a child's development in the ninth year - 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 or 10.

    She is way too young to understand that at all - and in fact the only true reality is: who tucks me in at night? Who laughs and picks me up? Who sees my new achievements in climbing and talking and mastering things? Who am I bonded to, and lights up my heart when he comes in the room?

    THAT'S my daddy ! ...

    Attempting to hedge her confidence in this reality by introducing a "well, sweetheart, not REALLY..." could only serve to weaken the foundation under her feet JUST when she is making her first steps into the world.

    Since this fact is merely a matter of sperm, I can't see how to explain this without making her feel rejected in the process, somehow not bonafide, like Daddy is "not HERS".

    Wait until she's 11 or 12 ...

    Answer by waldorfmom at 10:11 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I would keep it simple for now, just tell her that she is lucky and instead of one daddy, she has two. Tell her one daddy helped to make her in mommy's belly and the other one is helping to take care of her now.

    She may have some questions which you can answer carefully and in simple terms. I think if you try to explain it to her anymore than this, she may get confused and it could upset her. As she gets older you can add more detail, by the time she is 12-13 she will be ready for the whole story. Good luck!

    Answer by imamommmmyyy at 10:35 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I am an a similar situation- if her biological father has agreed to give up his rights, let him! If your husband is the only daddy she knows, you don't have to tell her any differently. My son is 3, and my fiancee is the one he calls daddy. When she gets older, you can explain. But in my situation I don't feel that it'll ever be necessary. My fiancee intends to adopt my son which changes the name on the birth certificate. I will not lie to him, but if he's the only father ever known I don't see the importance of letting them know someone abandoned them at a young age...

    Answer by Annabel1809Lee at 11:13 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I would wait until she's older, I don't think she would understand.

    Answer by mommorgan at 11:20 PM on Feb. 21, 2010

  • I say wait until she is older, at age  3 she only knows that her daddy loves her and she is going to have a brother. When she is older if she starts to ask questions then answer them as they come up.


    Answer by MiddletonFamily at 11:08 AM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • I don't think there's an urgent need to tell her unless she starts asking questions. When she starts showing interest about it then be open and honest. Wait for her to bring it up. She loves your husband and there's no harm in her thinking there is a blood connection for now. My mother's stepfather helped raise me from infancy. Neither my father or my biological grandfather were there for me so he played both roles in my life until he passed away. I didn't know he wasn't blood related to me until I was in middle school. I never asked about it until then. It didn't bother me a bit when I was told the truth. I loved him so much I didn't see him any differently.

    Answer by Court128 at 11:48 AM on Feb. 22, 2010

  • What is this "I would wait until she is older" crap? Isn't that exactly what the adoptees and adoptive parents are told not to do. I was in a similar situation, except that my first husband was dead. Simple solution. You put a wedding picture in her room with the three of you in it. It isn't a secret. It isn't something you are hiding and waiting for her to be old enough for. It is a fact that is right out there in the open. You might also want to maintain a relationship with her biological grandparents. I've found three sets ofr grandparents to be invaluable. If you think this one is hard wait until you have to explain it to your son.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:27 PM on Feb. 22, 2010

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