Dad’s feel­ings are hurt when kids seek bio fam­ily

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - LIFE - AMY DICKINSON

Dear Amy: My par­ents di­vorced when my brother and I were very young.

We never had any con­tact with our bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther, or with his side of the fam­ily. Our mom re­mar­ried, and our won­der­ful step­fa­ther legally adopted my brother and me. Mom and “Dad” have been mar­ried for over 30 years now.

Hav­ing our “Dad” and his fam­ily in our life has been won­der­ful!

Al­though we were raised with a lov­ing ex­tended fam­ily, my brother and I still bat­tled with aban­don­ment is­sues. We longed for con­tact with our bio fam­ily.

One fate­ful day, when I was a teenager, I found my pa­ter­nal grand­mother and gave her a call. Since then we have re­con­nected with our fa­ther’s fam­ily, but not with our fa­ther. He is still a dead­beat.

Know­ing these fam­ily mem­bers has filled a hole in us. They are lov­ing and sup­port­ive.

Most of them still live in the state we grew up in. Dur­ing our vis­its home, we make a point to visit with these fam­ily mem­bers, but this re­ally both­ers our “Dad.”

He knows we love him. But when­ever he finds out we’re go­ing to visit our other fam­ily, he pouts and gets sen­si­tive, and is ir­ri­ta­ble and cold for the rest of the day.

We are to the point that we don’t want to men­tion vis­it­ing at all, but I don’t want to sneak around be­hind his back.

How can we let him know that we don’t like that he makes us feel guilty for vis­it­ing/lov­ing our other fam­ily? Is there a way we could help him with his in­se­cu­rity? — LOV­ING CHIL­DREN

Dear Lov­ing: You should start by re­mov­ing the quo­ta­tion marks from your “Dad’s” sta­tus. The man who adopted you IS your fa­ther. He is legally, eth­i­cally and emo­tion­ally your fa­ther.

The so-called “Dad” in your life is the bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther who aban­doned you and who re­fuses to see you.

You and your brother should sit down with both of your par­ents — in per­son — and be as hon­est, lov­ing and re­spect­ful as you can pos­si­bly be. Tell your dad, “You are our dad, and you al­ways will be. You will al­ways come first for us. We know it is hard on you when we visit our bi­o­log­i­cal fam­ily. Would you rather that we just never talk about it? We want to be hon­est with you. We don’t want to hide what we’re do­ing, but if that’s what you want us to do, we’ll try.”

If he re­sponds that he doesn’t want you to see these other fam­ily mem­bers at all, you will have to tell him that this is off the ta­ble. You are adults, and you have the right to ex­plore your bi­o­log­i­cal roots, and to form your own re­la­tion­ships.

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