I am a happy wife and a proud mom of two wonderful children. We are living abroad. My first child is from a fling prior to my marriage. My husband and his family love her and adore her more than their own. She was seven when I got married, and she now uses the name of my husband.
I left her biological dad as soon as he got me pregnant. It was a mistake and I wanted a better life for her, something that guy couldn’t offer. His family is aware of my daughter, and was not surprised because that guy has many children with different women. But he still doesn’t know the meaning of being a father.
My dilemma? My daughter’s questions. When she was five, she asked me why she didn’t have a dad like other kids. I told her she had a lot of them and enumerated all her “dads”—my father, her Lolo Dad, and my brothers, all of whom she calls Daddy, plus their names.
When she was eight, she asked why she came first before I got married. I said she is so special it took me a long time to find the perfect dad for her. Now, she is 11 and she’s asking me who her real dad is. I told her that my husband is her dad, and will always be no matter what.
I know the time will come when I will have to answer her questions directly, but I don’t know how. Answering her will only open up more questions. I cannot tell her that her real dad was a spineless sperm donor and that she was the product of a fling. I am afraid she will look for him and find out he’s her worst nightmare. That part of my life is done, and one I hope she doesn’t have to go back to.
My daughter is surrounded by so much love and affection. I owe her the truth. But how?—Protective Mom
Judging from your various answers to her questions, you’ve done well by yourself! They are cute but sensitive replies—enough to be accepted by a kid for the moment. Delving into the philosophical and raw realities will be too much for her, for now.
You’d be surprised at how resilient children are. No matter how emotional they become, or how many temper tantrums they throw when they don’t get their way, they will listen to a stern and strong grown-up who will talk to them like an adult in a quiet, nonthreatening manner.
Considering she has so much love around her, it’s just her curiosity that she is sating, not any emotional vacuum she is trying to fill up. When she is much older and has grown mature enough to search for the other half of her DNA, there’ll be no turning back on her quest—like it or not.
Take this time to continue giving her the security of a solid family life. Keep forging on with your constructive yet playful games alluding to her predicament, enabling her to set her mind on the right track. With these, she will have enough practice to cope with reality later in life, and not be thrown off kilter, had she not been guided by you. There’ll be time for that—but not yet.