I met a single mother who has a beautiful little two-year-old son…. We have now been together for three years. I love her son very much…. I treat him as if I were his biological father… but my fear is this: He doesn’t know anything about this, so how can I tell him that I am not his biological father? … I am afraid he is going to reject me in spite of all the love I show him. His biological father doesn’t know anything about his life and hasn’t cared about him since he was born. He conceived him and then forgot him.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for finding enough love in your heart to share with a little boy who needs a father. It obviously doesn’t matter to you that you are not biologically linked to the child. You love him with all your heart, and probably could not love him more if you were his birth father.

It is clear that this issue is extremely important to you. However, even though the fear you have expressed is extremely common, your anxiety comes from a misconception of what really matters to kids. You believe that this little boy will reject you because you are not his birth father, but children don’t understand biology. What they do understand is the feeling of being loved, and you obviously provide a relationship in which this child feels very loved.

The important thing now is how you handle the ongoing conversation with the boy regarding this issue. Waiting any longer to begin the conversation would be a mistake. But don’t think of it as a one-time dialogue in which you reveal what you consider to be a secret. Instead, look for occasions in the boy’s life to introduce the subject of adoption. For example, when he sees a woman who is pregnant, say that some people get their babies from a mommies’ stomach, and others get their babies by choosing them through adoption.

At another time, point out a woman without a father for her children, and tell him that sometimes fathers have to move away, or they have problems that cause them to go away. That gives the opportunity for another man to choose to be the children’s father.

On the Internet there are stories and even videos of animals that adopt other animals. You can also find books for children that handle the subject. At some point when you are talking about it, the boy will ask about himself. That is the time to casually say that his other daddy had to go away and you are so happy to be able to be his forever daddy. If you don’t make it a big deal, he won’t either, and he will grow up never remembering a time when he didn’t know.

Just as this child can’t comprehend the depth of your love for him, you may not realize how much God, our Heavenly Father, loves you. Will you reject God, just as you are afraid the child will reject you? God has already shown immense love for you, just as you have shown the child your great love. Make the choice today to accept God’s love, and He will give you the wisdom you need as the head of your family.

We wish you well,