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Giving baby up for adoption and struggling for practical information
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NM8448 · 22/05/2016 08:38

Hi

I really hope this is the right place to get some information for my situation.

I am 25 weeks pregnant and will be giving up my baby boy for adoption voluntary at birth.

Basic background: I am in my 30s and fell pregnant shortly after separating from my husband, we already have 4 children, I work full time and can't emotionally cope with raising another child, no safeguarding issues in place and my family has never had any social services investigations or interactions before.
I made the choice based on loving this baby and wanting him to be raised in a loving family environment and although the baby's father and I are together and get on well we both acknowledge we can't provide this baby anyway near the stability and family network that an adoptive couple can..

Financially, emotionally and practically our lives are in complete limbo as we are both going through divorces and struggling to cope with huge life changes after 40 years of marriage between us.

I contacted SS after making the decision 2 months ago and they have carried out an assessment on my Children and family as the first step to this process, all was found to be well with my children and no concerns were raised so I assumed I would be passed to the adoption team by now but this hasn't happened, I got passed to an intermediate team and they don't have the answers I have been anxious to get about how this process works.

I have sought private counselling regarding the adoption and have that support but there are practical questions I am anxious to get the answers to and as the pregnancy progresses I find myself getting more and more anxious about how this works...

All the leaflets and info I have been given are heavily based on children taken away from their families for safeguarding issues or young mums etc, there is very little to help people who make the choice voluntarily...

I worry about how baby is going to feel when he is older about being given up for adoption and want him to know he was loved and cared for not abandoned..

I worry about how things are going to happen straight after the birth, I don't want baby to go into foster care while waiting for parents to be selected by SS.. I want him to be with us for 2 weeks then go to his adoptive parents..

I don't want contact with baby, I want him to bond with his adoptive parents but I would like a pic and a little letter from them once a year just letting me know he's ok and how he is doing.. Is that realistic? How would the adoptive parents cope with that request?

I know about the legal side of things, I understand how that process works.
I need help and advice from birth mums who have done this and adoptive parents who can give me some practical advice on what they would have liked to receive from the birth mum with baby..

For example.. Scan pictures, do I send them with baby to the new parents? Naming baby, do I get to give him a name?

Letters from his brothers and sisters and us, is it helpful to send those with him for the adoptive parents to pass on when he is older?

Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

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NM8448 · 22/07/2016 11:37

I sent you a Pm

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OhNoTimothy · 22/07/2016 18:12

We have now spoken via PM.
I'd like to publicly apologise to NM for my comments about having an abortion. That was out of order of me and motivated purely by an emotional response.
I'm very sorry.

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NM8448 · 22/07/2016 18:49

Thank you,

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Haffdonga · 22/07/2016 19:16

NM Hope you're OK. I'm sorry this thread has taken a nasty personal turn and agree with Italian that it should be about support for all aspects of adoption. Nowt else. You can ask for it to be deleted if you are uncomfortable about being identified or the personal attacks.

Or do you want to ask more about adoption? You say the adoption team are now involved. Do you feel they are supportive and explaining what you need to know? Has their involvement helped? I couldn't answer your questions but others may be able.

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NM8448 · 22/07/2016 20:21

Hi Haff,
Like I have been from the start I would like to carry on being open. I haven't hidden the pregnancy or how it happened from anyone at any point so no I don't feel at all uncomfortable about possible anonymity issues.

OhNo was sticking up for her friend who has clearly suffered as a consequence of my actions and I can't really begrudge her that.. If I had a friend in a similar position I would be upset for her too. All I have ever asked is for people to bash me but leave the baby out of it.

Adoption wise the team have assigned us a really clued up social worker, she's been really supportive and understanding and what's impressive is that she's supporting the dad as well as me so she seems good so far...

According to her we can meet the parents if we want, my partner wants to, I'm a bit unsure..

We all agreed that it might be best for baby to go to second time adopters or people who are intending to adopt more children in the hope that he grows up with siblings as he wont be able to have contact with his existing ones.

The hospital has been informed and the adoption is on file now.

I haven't been able to face writing the letter to go with baby yet.. I'm working on that. The social worker will help with his story book though.

I have some good days and some bad days with it all... With 6 weeks to go I'm struggling to come to terms with the reality of the situation but still feel in my heart it's what's best for baby, I just can't get past the guilt and sadness some days.

I don't really know what else I am supposed to be doing now.. I'm still seeing the pregnancy counsellor and discussing things openly... At times hormone have gotten the better of me and I have burst out crying out of nowhere and that's really getting awkward. I want to be ok, I want to be strong through this.

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NM8448 · 22/07/2016 20:23

I guess most of my questions and anxieties now are towards what things will be like after the adoption..
I don't know what life is going to be like and I don't know how to cope with people's questions and opinions. Do I say I have 4 kids or 5 kids when asked? How do I recover emotionally?

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Italiangreyhound · 22/07/2016 21:23

Hi NM8448 I am glad you are trying to be so strong, I do hope all the counsellors know the pressures you are under. If i were a social worker I would be asking lots of questions about how YOU feel.

Re "what things will be like after the adoption." I've no idea, maybe you just need to keep telling yourself you did the best thing, which means you must know that you really are doing the best thing.

I don't know what life is going to be like and I don't know how to cope with people's questions and opinions.

Do you mean what life will be like for the child or you?

For you I guess very emotional. But I have no idea, can you talk to any others who have relinquished their baby?

re "Do I say I have 4 kids or 5 kids when asked?" I guess if it was me I would avoid those sort of questions. I'd just talk about the bits I wanted to.

In some ways it is a tiny bit how adopters do things, they just don't usually answer questions they don't want to, they are evasive.

Re "How do I recover emotionally?" I don't know; I think you need to be talking to your counselors and getting professional help with this now.

Thinking of you.

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TrulyFubar · 22/07/2016 21:28

Honestly, I've never recovered as a Birth Mother. Every milestone of the children I went on to have only served to remind me of what I missed. I was 16 and found out I was pregnant 8 days before giving birth. My own mother was pregnant with my younger brother at the same time. My panicked decision was that there was no way I could keep my baby. My boyfriend's parents didn't offer to help when we told them; they wanted to take the baby off me and there was no way I would let that happen as they had treated me terribly in the past (and continued to do so for decades). The adoption process was presented to me as a fait a compli and the worker from the agency told me they already had parents chosen. I felt that I'd let everyone down already so couldn't bear to do it to someone else. I was never advised of my rights and that I could change my mind at any point up until the adoption was officially signed. Like you, I was consumed with doing my best FOR EVERYONE ELSE. I was young and frankly, stupid to think that I couldn't be a good mother. I would have managed and my daughter (my only one as I went on to have three boys) would have been well cared for and nurtured by her parents. I married her father and all my DCs are his. This was 33 years ago and it feels as raw today as it did then. It's an incredibly hard thing to live with and you WILL grieve. I can't tell you how long for. I have had no contact whatsoever. I thought that, if I could survive the 18 years it would take for her to choose to find out about me, I'd be fine. She hasn't done that and I choose to think that's because she had such an amazing upbringing that nothing could make her happier than what she already has. If I don't think that I feel like I might implode with the loss.
I wish you all the strength, love and luck in the world for the decision you make. No matter what you decide, life will go on and it will probably be very challenging either way.

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Italiangreyhound · 23/07/2016 00:23

TrulyFubar I am so sorry to hear of your experiences. Bless you.

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NM8448 · 23/07/2016 01:49

TF your post really set me off again, I'm so so sorry you went thought that, I don't think I could have survived that at 16! I get how family pressure can be at 35 never mind a vulnerable 16 year old. How are you doing now?

The social worker has told us about stories of devastated birth mums and it really hits home how huge all of this is... so she is being realistic with us, she's asking really tough questions and making us work hard to face this..

There is going to be support in place for both of us and my children after the adoption.

I think more practical questions will come up when I start working on the story book and baby's letter.. For now I'm simply scared and anxious about everything so it's all becoming a bit of a jumble in my mind.

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confusionoftheillusion · 26/07/2016 13:54

Who cares if you had an affair? Who cares what your family say?

This is about you, your partner and your kids who all sound like they want this baby.

Yes your exes will be hurt and will be difficult but that will pass.

People may judge but who cares?

You love this baby

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NM8448 · 26/07/2016 22:00

Confusion,

I'm not concerned about being judged, no matter what decision I make I will be judged as you have seen from the posts that happened recently..

The people who took time to talk to me or my partner directly have genrally been more understanding because they actually got both sides of the situation. Others who don't base their opinion on their own personal experience and assumptions which is also normal in human nature and I can't control that nor base such a huge decision on that fact.

People at our work place who know us personally, have knows us separately and together have been truly great, work is giving me tons of support and options to make it more viable to keep the baby.

The exes are what they are, I have reached a reasonable amicable state with my ex but that's because he takes his share of responsibility in the circumstances that led to the brake up of our marriage... His gripe is keeping this baby would effect his children negatively and that's the pressure he puts on me with regards to the adoption.

The other ex is doing her own thing and dealing with things the way she does, I have never met her and don't personally know her, all I know is of actions and things I have heard when I have been around when she has acted up... I have offered to sit down with her and talk for the sake of the kids but she's not in a place to be able to handle that so I can't change that but in my opinion she does effect the decision from my partners side. I can't give a baby up to make her happy or my partners life easier... And I have now firmly decided that if I do change my mind it will be with the full understanding I will raise baby alone... The dad is very unlikely to change his mind but that's his issue to deal with, I reserve the right to make my own mind without any pressures like that.

I do love baby, sometimes loving someone is doing what's best for them.
I still believe adoption is the best option for him, and that's based on my own experience at being an affair child plus the total lack of family and now dad he will have growing up.. If he was my only child I would never consider this as I could dedicate all my energy into making sure he was raised with all the love and attention he needs.... But I do have the 4 boys who also need me and don't see how I can find the time energy and dedication to ensure they are all ok.. Having said that and as the birth draws close I am more open to my options than I have been before but as of today I still want him to grow up away from all this mess and headache.

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Italiangreyhound · 26/07/2016 23:29

NM re "His gripe is keeping this baby would effect his children negatively and that's the pressure he puts on me with regards to the adoption."

Actually any family could say that another child affects those existing. Our ds is adopted and we thought long and hard about having another child in the family. On balance we really felt it would benefit dd, (9 when 3 year old ds came) and he really has been an excellent addition to the family.

But a new child does take time, energy and money, so of course it can impact on existing children. But on the flip side a new child brings love and energy and interest and fun! How one weighs all these things, I have no idea!

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confusionoftheillusion · 27/07/2016 10:55

OP - arguably the adoption of their baby brother could affect your ex's kids in an even worse way... I wonder if he has thought of that? That it will come out that their dad didn't want their baby brother.

You haven't said too much about your DP but reading between the lines he's said he'll leave if you keep the baby? Am I reading that correctly?

I'm glad you are thinking all your options through. For what it's worth I think you sound amazing. Have you got good close friends in real life?

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confusionoftheillusion · 27/07/2016 11:16

I've just read my post and I didn't mean to sound insensitive by suggesting their sibling's adoption would be negative for your boys. Just makes me sad that your ex is influencing your decision so much.

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NM8448 · 27/07/2016 11:40

Hey confused

With regards to the ex partner he does influence things to an extent, he doesent have to consider anyone but his own kids and he's doing that to a point.. He has allowed the boys to interact and expresse curiosity about the new baby which has been great progress for what he was like at the start...he has agreed to bring the kids to hospital at the birth so they can meet their brother and have pics taken with him (for baby's story book and for the kids own sake) and agreed to hold baby and facilitate them interacting with him as the kids will be looking to him for reassurance during this time and if he's hostile they will pick up on that... This issue was hashed out in therapy and worked out with the best interest of all the kids at heart.

Our children get a lot of interactions and are well integrated with his family because unlike mine they are local and have always been a big part of their lives... His family will in no way include this baby in that support network.... That alone makes me feel sad for baby and puts a divide between him and his brothers. They are already freaking out and seeking legal advice to ensure this baby has no connection to their side of the family and therefore no claim on anything they may leave in a will to the other boys, inknow the sound a bit heartless considering I have been a part of their family for 16 years and their sons behaviour hasn't been great during the marriage but that's just the way they are, they panic easily and support their son (only child) no matter what he does.

In an ideal world he would be supportive and would consider my wellbeing and the baby's but he's just not made like that.. He has always put his needs first throughout our marriage and I don't see that changing now.... All I am grateful for is that he realises now the baby is innocent and therefore has had a change of attitude towards the kids interactions with him... That's the best I can hope for.

If I keep baby there are threats of homelessness, reduced time with the kids and a messy divorce that he has the back up financially from his parents for while I don't have any way to finance a defence.

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NM8448 · 27/07/2016 11:57

With regards to my Partner, he has never threatened to leave me if I keep baby... What he has expressed is that with his current situation he simply isn't able to cope with raising baby, alone or with me... His current situation being under enough pressure financially and time wise from his ex to be there for their two kids and that leaves no room for baby... His ex insists that he can't see baby and the girls at the same time.., the girls are to have absolutely nothing to do with baby.. If there is baby stuff around the house then the girls will not be permitted to visit etc...

Now while I am generally angered by the influence this woman has had on his decision making to an extent I also prefer honesty from him... I rather he put his hands up and said "I just can't do it"'rather than make promises he's not going to keep.

He had a little freak out when one of his female friends (again influenced by the ex) suggested that I would change my mind when the baby is born... This lead to me making the decision to say to him that rather than him stress about that and inedvertedly cause me extra pressure I would just be on the understanding that if I do change my mind it's under the understanding that I would raise baby alone... It was left unsaid that this would involve me leaving him but I think that's understood. That would be me leaving and not him dumping me if I kept baby...

My partner states he wants to stay together, he does genuinely show me love and care and does his best to support me when I let him (I have a tendency to push him away at times). He just knows his emotional and practical limitations and expressed them.

He will be at the birth, we will be raising baby together for the two weeks we have him with us and he is attending all hospital appointment and social services meetings... I don't knon what else he can do to be supportive but also honest about how he feels.

Other support I have is that I am blessed to have quite a few good friends I do talk to.... Some are supprotive and some pressure me into keeping baby...
I have great colleagues who are also supportive and know what's going on.

I just have shut down a bit with communication with friends because I'm just used to handling things on my own... I have no issue being there for others but I struggle to let people be there for me.

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confusionoftheillusion · 27/07/2016 12:54

My heart really goes out to you.

I had a pregnancy "scare" when I was having an affair and all the "what ifs" were stressful enough. I can't imagine what you are going through.

A few things though:

  • His ex absolutely cannot stop him seeing his girls with your baby around. Any court in the land (if it went that far) would see that facilitating sibling relationships is healthy. (As long as kids are safe.)
  • his ex absolutely can't reduce contact time because he has another child.


    I don't know the details of your ex and divorce etc but legally your having a 5th child with your new partner shouldn't make a joy of difference to what you get in the divorce.

    All these threats from your exes are just that- threats designed to intimidate and control you. The breakdowns of your marriages have been fairly "dramatic" by the sounds of it and the affair will have dredged up lots of emotions, angerness and bitterness which I am sure in time will fade.

    I'm not saying your ex in-laws will end up welcoming your 5th son into their family but I'm sure your exes will eventually stop feeling such resentment and anger to the baby.

    Re: your partner. He sounds very heavily influenced by his EXw. This was the case with my DP when we were first together. In my case it has passed but not without a lot of rows and an ultimatum from me! He probably feels considerable guilt but if you two are building a life together then realistically you are the person who's feelings he should be considering.

    Did you both make conscious decisions to leave your marriages or did the affair "come out" and force you to?
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NM8448 · 27/07/2016 13:44

Confused
I know that she ultimately does not have any power to stop him seeing his kids among other things he has been the more present parent in their lives.. Not because she's a bad mum but because of his shifts VS her work pattern he was able to offer them more time than she has..
He is still doing his share of childcare especially during school holidays. She relies on him for childcare so all these threats basically won't be practical for her to enforce... I know that and you know that but he is insecure about that...and can't handle the what if side of things if she does somehow manage to isolate him from the kids... They are his world and he is an absolutely devote and loving dad to them.. They also believe that each child they have should get individual time with them.. It's the way they raised the girls and the way they manage things... All that will no longer be possible if baby is in the picture... I'm not chriticising their parenting one bit it's just that it makes it glaringly obvious that the girls who already have to deal with a divorce also will inevitably miss out on time and individual attention they are used to.

As far as other influences she has on him... I see it and try to stay out of it as ultimately it's his relationship to deal with but I also understand that when you have had to live a certain way to keep the peace and conflict avoid for 23 years, it's really tough to brake that mentality quickly..
Yes he does feel guilty and remorseful over the way things happened but not over leaving... He assures me he was leaving with or without my presence in his life.

My ex and divorce wise he has quoted that I am an unfit mother for making the decisions I made (affair/baby etc) luckily he came to his senses and dropped the divorce under those terms once he calmed down. In the end he would fight me for custody and although he has no strong basis, I don't have the endless financial backing he has access to from his parents to fight him.

The way the affair came out was quite dramatic..
My partner had spoken to his ex and told her he wasn't happy a few weeks before things kicked off, she refused to entertain how he was feeling. He had resolved to tell her everything that weekend but my ex went over to her house and told her everything first... He did that because he believed she would join him in pressuring us into having an abortion.. Unfortunately for his he wasn't aware of her strong anti abortion views at the time of doing that so he didn't get the result he wanted.

I confessed to my ex about the affair a few months before that. I had made it clear that I would give the marriage one year after discovering his latest affairs (October 2014-October 2015) the year had passed by the time I got with my partner and things in my marriage were winding down so it wasn't as unexpected as it seems. My ex didn't express the want to work on the marriage and accepted me moving on until the pregnancy happened.

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gillybeanz · 27/07/2016 14:03

It is nobody else's decision but your own, and it is final.
Once you sign the papers it's pretty much the end, but I suppose you know this already.
Nobody else should have any say or be considered in your decision, certainly no ex, the father of the baby, other children, people at work, other family members etc. It is your baby until you decide you don't want it to be yours anymore.
How other people raise their children shouldn't come into the equation at all and there is a huge drama here, that needn't be, and an unborn baby in the centre of it.
I know you are having counselling and have support but just taking the drama away for a while, ask yourself what YOU want to do, for you and your baby. Not what would be best for everybody else who don't matter.

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gillybeanz · 27/07/2016 14:07

Please don't keep the baby for 2 weeks before passing him over, you will bond and it will be either impossible or heart breaking for you to hand the baby over.
I'm not sure it would be something you would ever get over.

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confusionoftheillusion · 27/07/2016 16:30

1 to 1 time with their dad would be possible with or without a baby....

I'm not trying to be interfering but I can't help thinking you will regret it hugely if you give up your 5th son.

As a prev poster said... It is YOUR decision and yours only Flowers

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Kr1stina · 28/07/2016 23:00

If you do decide to place your child for adoption, can I ask you one thing please ?

That you are honest with your child about the reasons for the decision. You will be asked to write a letter or a life story book which explains this to the child . Please don't say all the things you said in your OP, which simply aren't true , or at best are a distortion of the truth .

You are not giving up this child because you don't want it to go into day care . Or because you want the child to have an extended family .

You are doing it because neither family will accept the child because they are the result of an affair and you are not willing to go it alone . That's your choice to make if you wish and I accept that there are no easy answers .

But please don't leave your child the legacy of a life full of guilt and confusion, feeling it was their fault , wishing that they had been able to stay with you and go to day care or have fewer relatives .

Please love them enough to be honest - that's it's about the choices that you and your partner made - that neither of you are able to bring up this child and it's not his / her fault.

Perhaps you know that in the 1950 and 1960s this was a very common reason to give up a child for adoption, so it's nothing new . Although often the child was unofficially adopted by relatives .However it's almost unknown now in these more liberal times when thankfully the stigma of illegitimacy has disappeared for most people .

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Italiangreyhound · 29/07/2016 05:58

NM re "His family will in no way include this baby in that support network.... That alone makes me feel sad for baby and puts a divide between him and his brothers."

Well, that is appalling behaviour and I feel in a way that if that is how they are with their grandchildren/nephew's (whatever) brother that your existing kids would pick up on it if you were to keep the baby!

The baby will not notice initially what he does not have. There is a big age gap between your existing kids and the baby and I think in the long run you would have to choose to cut your ex's wider family adrift if they did not accept the baby if you chose to keep him. But they sound pretty horrible to be honest! So no massive sacrifice there!

They do know your ex had numerous affairs don't they? Maybe he got someone pregnant, maybe they had a baby and never told him or maybe they had an abortion. Who knows. Your ex's wider family may well see him as the shining example of a good husband but you know different, I do hope you or he has told them! It is so crap that because you havete physical evidence of an affair in your belly it is somehow the thing that 'trumps' all else. Where as his numerous affairs are hidden!

I am not saying this to influence you either way, just pointing out that at the moment it almost appears as if your ex's wider family's hostile attitude is pushing your decision (in some small way) and t should not! Really when you've given up your baby it will be no comfort at all that your ex's wider family cannot bash you with the fact you had an affair and a baby. Because I think they still will. They will not welcome you back into the wider family. I fear that you are in some way allowing them more influence than they should have.

Your ex's wider family's relationship with your sons is well established enough that they could continue to see family if they chose, IMHO, with your ex, so in many ways I am not sure that the impact would be so great on any of your children. Families with half brothers and sisters are common now, and no one would wonder why baby did not have a relationship with your ex's family.

Re "If I keep baby there are threats of homelessness, reduced time with the kids and a messy divorce that he has the back up financially from his parents for while I don't have any way to finance a defence."

Please do speak to a solicitor. I would consider speaking to the police as well, this is abusive behaviour on his part. You could find out more by speaking to women's aid.

He has no right to make you choose based on him making you homeless (from your own home?), that is utter shite controlling behaviour. There are laws now about controlling behaviour in a marriage, even if there is no physical violence. There is abuse financially because he is threatening you.

I am very sorry but I do wonder how long your relationship with your partner will last once baby is gone. Do you imagine you will be able to pick up how you left off? I am not sure you will be able to do so easily. he will remind you of the baby, and you will remind him.

It sounds like he has a lot to sort out in his own life. And it sounds like his life is impacting on you in a very negative way.

You said of this man and his ex/wife, "They also believe that each child they have should get individual time with them.. It's the way they raised the girls and the way they manage things... All that will no longer be possible if baby is in the picture... I'm not chriticising their parenting one bit it's just that it makes it glaringly obvious that the girls who already have to deal with a divorce also will inevitably miss out on time and individual attention they are used to."

I do really worry that you are literally putting everybody's feelings ahead of your own!

Who cares if his parenting style with the girls will change so you can keep your baby! I doubt it would but even so, really, can you hear this? Two children barely connect to you (maybe you have not even met them) are going to influence whether you keep this baby?

Honestly, either it will change because he will welcome baby and step up to parenting a baby he helped to create, or you/he will leave and the girls will be unaffected (except that they will know their dad could not handle another baby).

Please do not allow yourself or him, or especially the girls, to believe that the choice to keep or not keep the baby in the family (so to speak) was down to the girls or your partner and his ex, and the way they chose to parent the girls.

If the baby leaves your care they may never meet him, I think that would have far more affect on them than the one-to-one their parents choose to give them.

If you genuinely cannot raise him, and genuinely think it is best for him to go to a new family, that is your choice but it should not be about his half sisters and how their dad or mum choose to parent them.

(Sorry if that sounds harsh but really you need to not focus on so many other people - your partner, influenced by his ex, and your ex, are all clouding your thoughts with multiple people who will have no real impact on your life in the future - e.g. wider family who may cut you adrift as soon as your marriage is legally ended, half siblings who you may never see if you and current partner split up.

Please clarify your thinking to what is right for you and baby (ONLY) aside from this (and your care for your own kids) and your current partner (if you stay together) everyone else will be a footnote in your life.

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Italiangreyhound · 29/07/2016 06:03

I’ve just read gillybeanz comments and totally agree! And, as always, I totally agree with Kr1stina.

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