Divorce with adopted children?

I seem to have opened the floodgates on letters from people, which is good. I do have to disclaim that I’m just a regular guy with no special training in family therapy, psychology or anything to do with the legal, psychological or emotional trauma of divorce. And I don’t — yet — play a divorce therapist on TV either.

So here’s the latest letter I got:

I’m about to become a divorced dad.  I don’t want that but it’s the direction it’s going in.  We have two adopted kids, 5 and 8.  It’s really killing me because of the kids.  We’re going to tell the kids tomorrow.  I read your piece on talking to the kids and how to do so.  After a crippling discussion several years ago of why they were abandoned and adopted, now “here we go again” is what runs through my mind.  I travel a great deal, well at least I did , which is what brought us where we are today.  I recently, very recently received an offer for employment locally, which is a miracle in today’s economy.  I did so to be close to the kids, especially due to the split between me and my spouse.  We’re still living together, and I’d like to have your thoughts as to how to best move forward.  Thank you

My response to the writer…

Sorry to hear that, it’s definitely not what your children signed up for when you all created a new family, but sometimes it’s just the journey life takes us on. How’d they take it when you told them?

If you really are getting a divorce rather than just having a separation, I would say that one of the best things for healing and moving on with your life is that one of you, you or your spouse (when i was in that state, I referred to my wife as my STBX, Soon-To-Be-Ex, fyi) to move out and get your own place.

I think it’s way easier for the adults and helps the kids start to understand the two-world reality that they are now in.

Otherwise, is it too late to seek a counselor for you and your wife to try and work out some things? Even if your life is a one-way street towards divorce, at least resolving tensions and difficulties now can help make a smoother future. My ex refused anything like that and I have to say that five years later she’s still so upset that I often end up communicating with her fiancee because it’s a smoother path for us to reach an agreement on issue related to the children.

I’ll also offer that divorce doesn’t mean the kids need to end up stranded. It’s never easy, but if you’re both attentive, loving parents, you should be able to work out a parenting schedule where they still feel held and nurtured as they grow up. After all, they are your children and you do have a moral and ethical commitment to them over and above any hassles you might have with your STBX.

Good luck to you. Hope it goes reasonably smoothly…

Now, dear reader, have you had any experience with divorce with adopted children? Anything different that you did or felt you needed to do — or wish you had done — given their life circumstance?

2 comments on “Divorce with adopted children?

  1. [I got a response from the original writer a few days later and with his permission, I post it]

    Thank you for your response. To answer your question of how the kids took the news of us splitting up, well, it was not taken well, which was my fear. We as parents love our kids equally but our kids take to one parent more than the other for a while and as they grow up they learn the concept of unconditional love. My 8 year old and I have something special just like my wife and our 5 year old. They know where to go to get what they want, and they also know where to go to get that support they need.

    We told them that is was not their fault (as you had mentioned in your blog earlier) and that sometimes adults have to make this type of decision in order for there to be happiness in the long run. There is no venom right now between us although she is trying to create some space. You’re right, I have to move out.

    I did suggest counseling but she will not have any of it.

  2. We adopted my son in the state of Indiana 7 years ago. We both still live in indiana. My ex wife and I were recently divorced in May of 2012. My ex-wife was seeing another man during the marriage and before the divorce proceedings started. We have joint custody with her having primary and physical custody of the child. I have him half of the time. She filed an intent to move last July 2012. Her intent is to move to Corona, CA. My question is this: Is there a law that protects Adopted children from being removed from the father and residing state if he has objected to the intent to move. Please e-mail me your answers as soon as you can. Thanks for your time and consideration.


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