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to wonder when to tell DD about her secret half sister?

(94 Posts)
MoomieAndFreddie Thu 20-Sep-12 18:37:15

DH has got a 15 YO from a previous marriage. She was 9 when DH and his exW divorced. Me and DH got together in early 2008 when she was 11. I never met her as she wasn't happy with her Dad having a new girlfriend and didn't want to meet me. I will call her SD even though she isn't really due to the situation.

In 2009 we had a baby who has now just turned 3. When SD found out DH and I were having a baby she was very upset and started refusing to see or speak to DH. In 2010 when SD was 13 she decided she wanted to speak to him again but wouldn't see him. This went on for 6 months, but SD then abruptly stopped speaking to him for no apparent reason. She also completely cut out all of DH's other family as well ie his mum and his grandma. When he has contacted his exW she has told him in no uncertain terms to fuck off out of SDs life stay away as it just upsets her being in contact with him. Me and DH married in 2011 and SD was, of course, invited to the wedding, but didn't come.

Anyway, sadly, I don't hold out much hope of her wanting to reconcile anytime soon. Although it goes without saying, DH still sends SD birthday and christmas cards and maintenance to her mum. I personally think that he should make more effort to reach out to sd but there is only so far I can push this really, after all, its not my business as I have never even met SD. I would do anything to have her in our life though, and if she ever wanted to see us, I would welcome her with open arms no matter what.

I know my DD is too young to understand just yet, but when should we tell her? also I am worried about when the time comes to tell her, what the hell do we say, and will she be hurt that her half sister has never wanted to meet her, and what if DD wants to meet her and we have to explain that probably won't be possible? I know this is long and complicated so thank you if you have got this far.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Thu 20-Sep-12 18:40:54

I think you have two choices. Start talking about it now, as part of the usual conversation, let her grow up knowing it. Have pictures in the house, all that stuff. Or, do as my DM did and tell her when she is in her 30s hmm.

SminkoPinko Thu 20-Sep-12 18:46:29

Start talking about her now. Say she has a sister and isn't that fab and you hope you'll all meet her one day.

twilight3 Thu 20-Sep-12 18:46:36

I have a similar issue, although not my bio children. My foster children (6 and 4 1/2) have an older brother from a relationship their late father had before he met their late mum.
The mother of their half brother cut off all contact with him as soon as she found out that he had another relationship, two years after their separation, and it turns out there is little courts can actually do about this sort of thing. SW has discussed the situation in depth and explained that with everything going on in their lives atm it's not a good time to reveal that they have a brother, but if this woman never wants any contact I do wonder what I should do. Talk to them and get them hurt, or not talk to them and get them hurt and feeling betrayed when they inevitably find out later in life? (their father's family d never approved of their mother and a result don't like the children very much and are not too shy to show it).

Sorry, not much help, just a note of support as i can relate to your problem

twilight3 Thu 20-Sep-12 18:47:45

mrsTerry, how did that feel? Were your DM's reasons good enough for you to "forgive" her/understand her?

SoleSource Thu 20-Sep-12 18:48:12

Agree with MrsOrange. All the best smile

merrymonsters Thu 20-Sep-12 18:48:23

I accidentally told my 16 year old cousin that her older sister was a half-sister. It hadn't occurred to me that she wouldn't already know. The whole extended family all knew.

I'd just tell her openly that she has a half-sister who you don't see. That way it will just be something she always knew. My siblings all live in other countries and my children have cousins they've never met, but I talk about them once in a while and show them pictures. The kids just accept that they live elsewhere.

Molehillmountain Thu 20-Sep-12 18:52:25

I agree with making it part of her "story" as she grows up. Big revelations when children are older seldom go well. We have three donor conceived children and they already know about their beginnings at an age appropriate level. My parents didn't tell me key things about our family. It's not good.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Thu 20-Sep-12 18:55:16

My DM's reasons were absolutely impeccable. It was a very difficult and painful time in her life and I understand completely. However, it was very shocking to me. There was another family secret about the generation before that had come out a decade earlier and we handled that well so this revelation had me saying, "is there anything else I need to know?"

MoomieAndFreddie Thu 20-Sep-12 18:59:13

Oh god so could it be we have ALREADY left it too late? Am not sure if its relevant to the story but I also have a 6 yo DS as well who lives with us and DH is bringing him up as his stepson (although he has contact with his bio dad regularly) and DS doesn't know about SD either.

I am not looking forward to bringing this up with DH. I think he finds it hard to deal with hmm

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Thu 20-Sep-12 19:08:19

Could you not introduce it gently. Photo album, "who is that?". Just have it come up in conversation. The less drama the better I think. Although DH will need to deal with his issues around this before you do. If he comes across as stressed and upset, it will make it harder.

dottygirl1 Thu 20-Sep-12 19:08:41

Maybe you could speak to your DH and explain how it will be from your SD's point of view. She is fairly young now and as she matures she may want to be part of her fathers life again. Imagine how she would feel if she tries to rebuild relations only to find out that her step sister doesnt even know she exists.

I agree that the sooner your children know about her the better.

mynewpassion Thu 20-Sep-12 19:10:09

I know that he doesn't see her but it boggles me a bit that he doesn't even mention her.

DuchessOfAvon Thu 20-Sep-12 19:15:12

I also found out about a half-sib when I was pg with DD2. Horrid.

After the dust settled, I did say that I would have preferred to have known about them from the off - even if there was a chance we'd never actually meet. As it was, I had to deal with the shock of finding out about them and meeting them all at once.

If I'd known about them in advance, then when they did turn up, it would have been like they were coming into focus rather than arriving in an explosion of revelation.

Molehillmountain Thu 20-Sep-12 19:20:32

Op, absolutely not too late. Just about right I'd say. Don't worry.

catwoo Thu 20-Sep-12 19:23:54

I agree with Dotty
Not telling your DD about her DHs older child is almost like denying her existence.pretty rotten

OrangeImperialGoldBlether Thu 20-Sep-12 19:24:11

OP, your son has a dad, not a "bio dad." That's a really horrible phrase. He has a dad and a step dad.

Bue Thu 20-Sep-12 19:25:57

I agree that big revelations are terrible. Very different situation, but my cousin, who was adopted by my aunt and uncle when she was a newborn, decided a few years ago to seek out her birth mother. They wrote a few letters back and forth and she discovered that her birth parents (who gave her up as teenagers) had stayed together and were married with a teenage DS... who doesn't know anything about her. I feel awful for that boy because one day he will almost certainly find out and it will be the most terrible shock. Wouldn't it have been easier for him to know as he was growing up that 'mummy and daddy had a baby that they loved but had to give away' or something? There are always ways to let children know about these things.

Belmo Thu 20-Sep-12 19:29:45

I'm a secret half-sister. My siblings are 22, 19 and 18; my dad has been saying he'd tell them when the time was right for years, I think he feels he's left it too late now and probably never will sad
I always knew about them, I don't remember my mum telling me, I just always knew. Definately, definately tell her now - she won't understand exactly but she'll grow up knowing. You don't want a soap-style 'big reveal' when she's a teenager! Secrets are horrid, I think.

hattifattner Thu 20-Sep-12 19:30:50

I think this is an ideal opportunity to reach out to SD, to be able to say "We want your sister to know you, can you send us some recent photos and maybe one afternoon you could pop in to meet her. You could stay for dinner or the afternoon or even just for an hour or so, but it would be lovely for the two of you to meet each other one day..."

Nothing draws a teenaged girl like a cute as a button little girl.

Id also get your DD in on the act...get her to send pictures she has drawn and photos of her only.

Hopefully your SD will feel at some point that she could stop by, once she has taken that step, the next step is easy.

WorraLiberty Thu 20-Sep-12 19:32:48

Is it possible his DD wasn't happy that you got pregnant almost immediately by her Dad?

Perhaps she saw the new baby and the fact you already had a toddler, as a kind of ready made family that she didn't see herself fitting into?

StuntGirl Thu 20-Sep-12 19:36:17

I disagree Hatti, as a teenager I hated kids. If someone sent me that I'd have been very hmm about it! Guess it depends on if the dad knows his daughter well enough to judge that, but its definitely not a given!

fedupofnamechanging Thu 20-Sep-12 19:38:05

I agree that you should talk about your sd now and make her part of the fabric of your family, even though she isn't physically there. The time will come when your sd makes contact and it will be enormously important to her to know that she was acknowledged and thought about, during these years.

It's important for your child to know about all the important people in her family. Finding out later may make it hard to accept her and bond.

carabos Thu 20-Sep-12 19:45:28

DS1 (26), was until recently a secret half-brother. XH remarried and had a daughter who is now 18. She wasn't told about DS1 until she was 16 and only then because XMiL was having a significant birthday and wanted all her GCs to be present. Obviously had to tell XH's DD who the strange young man was!

XH had no intention of ever telling her left to his own devices. In fact for the past 22 years he has tried to pretend he wasn't married before. It always comes out somehow, and leaves him looking untrustworthy,(which he is) and in fact he once lost a job over it.

eatyouwithaspoon Thu 20-Sep-12 19:53:34

I 100% agree with Karma Believer. I have a half sister, she cut all contact with my DDad and he and my DM did nothing to stop her as a teenager, she knew all about us. Apparently my dad did send cards but they were thrown away by her dm. We eventually meet as adults me 40 her 60, even though it was her who cut contact it was incredibly important to her that we had known about her. We knew about her by accident really we were never told and not encourage to talk about her. She doesnt feel strong enough to meet my siblings but we are in touch occasionally.
A lifetime of bitterness for her and sadness that we dont have a relationship with our sister for us, just very sad all round. sad

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