My husband has asked me to adopt his daughter and I’m not sure about it

Posted by

My husband has asked me to adopt his daughter and Im not sure about it jpg

I hope this is an okay sub to post this on. My husband “Jack” and I have been together for six years, married for three. He has a seven year old daughter “Hazel”. We met when Hazel was a baby, but I didn’t spend much time with her until she was two, because her mother “Amy” sadly died and she came to live with my husband full time (they had been coparenting and were on friendly terms before that.) I never really planned on being a parent figure to her to begin with but when I moved in and was spending so much time with her I bonded with her really quickly, and now here we are. She’s the sweetest kid in the world, I love her to an extent I didn’t think it was possible to love anything and I definitely see her as my child. But I’ve always been really careful to remember that she’s not, and I’ve never asked her to call me ‘mummy’ or anything – sometimes she does on her own but I always make sure to remind her that she had a mum who loved her.

Related posts

Part of the reason of this is I grew up in care, and I know what it’s like to go into a new home where people act like they’re your parents when you know that they aren’t. And I also know what it’s like when you do bond with foster parents and then get moved on for whatever reason and never see them again, and while I don’t plan on ever divorcing Jack I’m worried that if that does happen it would crush her. I was never adopted or anything but I did stay close to my last foster mum “Esther”, who I was with for a few years. I still see her pretty often.

Anyway, this issue started the other night. I was reading to Hazel before bed and out of absolutely nowhere she asked me why her dad has parents and brothers and sisters and cousins etc. and I don’t have anyone. I kind of explained it to her in basic terms that I didn’t have parents and she asked who looked after me and so it kind of turned into an impromptu lesson on what foster care is and I pointed out that Esther (who she’s met before) was kind of like a mum. And then she asked why I don’t call her mum then and I just said it’s because she never adopted me so she wasn’t officially my mum (this isn’t really true and in hindsight was a really stupid thing to say but I was thinking on the spot of child-friendly ways to explain all this).

Anyway, she went to sleep and I thought that was the end of it until today, when Jack asked me if I’d consider adopting Hazel. Apparently she asked him about it and she wants me to be her mum properly (yes I cried). Obviously I would love to be officially her mum and I would do it in a hearbeat if I thought it was what was best for her but I’m hesitant about this for multiple reasons:

  1. I’m worried that my past in care and also the fact I’ve had some mental health issues (which were all resolved before I started dating Jack) will mean I won’t be allowed to which could get Hazel’s hopes up for nothing.
  2. I met Amy a few times and she was such a lovely and kind person. I don’t want to erase her from Hazel’s life. Equally, Amy’s parents are still in her life and I don’t want them to feel I’m trying to steal their granddaughter, and adopting her would legally separate her from Amy and thus from them.

Does anyone have experience with this from either my position or Hazel’s? I would love some advice or to hear other people’s experiences with this.

John M. Kaman’s answer: Your story tugs at the heartstrings, and it’s clear you’re navigating this decision with a lot of love and consideration. Adoption, especially in circumstances like yours, is as much about emotional readiness and the dynamics of existing relationships as it is about legal formalities.

Let’s unpack your concerns together, in a way that might help you see things from a broader perspective.

Your Past and Potential Adoption Challenges

Your worry about your past in care and previous mental health issues impacting the adoption process is understandable. However, the primary focus of adoption assessments is to ensure the child’s wellbeing. It’s about the stability, love, and support you can offer now, not your past struggles. Your journey might even be seen as a strength, demonstrating resilience and a deep understanding of Hazel’s need for a secure, loving home. If you’re open about your history and how you’ve worked through your challenges, it could positively reflect on your capability to parent.

Honoring Amy’s Memory

It’s incredibly empathetic of you to consider Amy and her parents in this decision. Adopting Hazel wouldn’t erase Amy’s place in her life; rather, it could reinforce the message that Hazel is loved by so many people, both those who are with her now and those who can’t be. It’s possible to find ways to ensure Amy’s memory remains a cherished part of Hazel’s life, perhaps through rituals, stories, or keepsakes that honor her mother’s love.

Adoption does change legal relationships, but it doesn’t have to alter the emotional bonds Hazel has with Amy’s side of the family. Clear, compassionate communication with them about your intentions and assurances that you want to maintain and support their relationship with Hazel could be key. Many families navigate these complexities by focusing on what’s best for the child—ensuring they feel loved and connected to all parts of their family history.

Your Connection with Hazel

The bond you’ve formed with Hazel is evidently strong and loving. Children can thrive with the security that comes from formalized family ties, and Hazel’s initiative in asking about adoption is a significant indicator of her feelings. While your fears of the future are valid, it’s also important to weigh them against the potential benefits of deepening the relationship you have with Hazel through adoption.

Moving Forward

No one can make this decision for you, but perhaps consider these steps:

  1. Counseling: Engage in family counseling or seek advice from a therapist specializing in adoption and blended families. This can help address your fears, prepare for potential challenges, and consider the impact on all relationships involved.
  2. Legal Consultation: Speak with a family law attorney to understand the adoption process, how you might address your concerns regarding Amy’s family, and any potential hurdles given your background.
  3. Family Dialogue: Have open conversations with Jack and, in an age-appropriate manner, with Hazel about what this change means. It’s also crucial to discuss this with Amy’s parents, ensuring they understand they are an invaluable part of Hazel’s life.
  4. Support Networks: Connect with support groups or online forums for adoptive parents and blended families. Hearing from others who’ve navigated similar paths can offer insight and reassurance.

You’re considering a profound commitment, and it’s evident your decision is being made from a place of love and concern for Hazel’s wellbeing. Whatever you decide, Hazel is fortunate to have someone in her life who cares so deeply about her happiness and sense of belonging.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *