Life Advice


Health & Spirit

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

Carolyn Hax on

The rest of you are looking out for Tara.

Jake is 6, yes, or 5? Jake needs both parents on Team Jake.

The intricacies of open adoption have sprouted an industry of counsel around them. Please use your contacts to find a good therapist who works with families on these issues. Develop a strategy for bringing Jake into the full truth that minimizes the potential for (further) bad associations.

Doing this would ultimately be a gift to Tara, too. If a healthy birth-parent relationship is what she wants, then develop and present to her your plan for giving her that.

Re: Jake:

Sadly, you need to move fairly fast, I fear, because someone soon will spill the beans and take control of the message away from you.

-- Rod123

You're probably right, unfortunately. The letter-writer needs to be absolutely clear with the "high time" side of the family: This is not their decision to make.

Re: Jake:

I think Jake's birth mom can develop an authentic relationship without telling Jake she gave birth to him. She can meet Jake right where he is and spend time with him on family occasions when they're together. No need to add to Jake's anxiety right now; give his brain and emotional maturity time to develop and see what happens.

-- XNP

There's risk of it evolving into a lie of omission, though, so there has to be a plan for that going in.


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