Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

We adopted our niece's son. Now she wants a "more authentic" relationship with him.

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Six years ago my teenage niece, "Tara," became pregnant, and my wife and I adopted the baby, our son, "Jake." We've always been open with Jake that he is adopted. When he was old enough, we showed him a picture of Tara holding him when he was born, and let him know he could learn more about his birth parents any time he wanted. He never expressed any interest, so we didn't press.

Our daughter is also an open adoptee, and three years ago when her birth mom visited us, Jake was concerned "that lady" would take his little sister away. We tried to explain away his fears, but since then he has been very resistant to hearing anything about his birth parents.

Since we live halfway across the country from my family, Jake has only seen Tara a handful of times and has never connected her with the picture of his birth mom. In fact, she usually avoids us when we're visiting, which we were always respectful of.

Our annual visit is scheduled for next month, and Tara has suddenly asked us to tell Jake the truth so they can interact in a "more authentic way." My wife is adamant that we follow the advice we were given years ago to never give Jake more information than he wants. My parents and the rest of my family are saying it's high time we get it all out in the open since it's bound to come out sooner rather than later.

--Sponsored Video--

I'm torn between the two perspectives and could really use an outside opinion. What do you say? -- Tell My Son?

I have a lot I'd like to say but I'm going to stick to this:

One of you is looking out for Jake.

One of you is on the fence.

...continued

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