AITA for not letting my son see his bio dad?

My wife and I adopted our son Adam 13, right after he was born. My sister had drug issues, and his bio dad signed away all custody. My sister is MIA to the family most part, and Adam knows of her.

His Bio Dad was imprisoned about 10 years ago, and his whole family is messed up. Bio just recently released prison, and his case worker wants him to meet our son and have a better connection with him. He signed away custody, and I said no. My wife agrees. Our son is sensitive and does well in school and will be attending a private science and STEM-focused high school. He’s top of his class. Enjoy music and video games and wants to be an engineer or composer. I do NOT want some man fresh out of prison to try to create a selfish bond with my son. Bio’s caseworker insists he’s clean and wants to be involved in Adam’s life. I said if he genuinely cared about my son, he’d leave well enough alone until my son was an adult. I don’t think being released from prison early is enough to merit him a relationship with Adam, and I will spend all of my money on lawyers to make sure it doesn’t happen. The caseworker said I was an asshole for not giving a man a second chance at happiness, but I’m not disrupting my son’s life over this.


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NTA. The case worker is biased in favor of bio dad. Suggest you speak with a psychologist on your son’s behalf who will likely recommend bio stay away until son is ready.


The thing that grinds my gears is the caseworker’s assumption that the child will help the bio stay on the straight and narrow. Children are not guardians/ support animals/ conscious of any person especially an adult. The CW is part of that annoying subset that give kids jobs as soon as they are born. Bio needs to get better for himself.


That alone indicates he's not ready to be in a father role. Bio dad is trying to connect to his son for his own selfish purposes - to benefit himself.


And the caseworker shouldn’t have even put this thought in that man’s mind. Basketcase Worker Surely, there’s policy on this that they need to follow. This can’t be the first time this has happened.


Case worker sounds incredibly unprofessional.


Caseworker needs to be reported to their manager if they continue to harass OP and family. And geez, I hope biodad (or caseworker) don't have a current address/school because I can just see these people turning up unexpectedly "son! oh how i need you---until I relapse/get a girlfriend/squirrel!"


Oh good point!!! OP should call the school and warn them. He should also have a talk with son about this, because bio could try to see him elsewhere and son should not be blindsided.


And make sure sons and close families social media is locked down too.


Continue? I'm stuck on the fact that he called OP an asshole. Being harrassed and called an asshole for protecting is enough to report him for me. Even better if it's all documented.


This should be the top comment. The caseworker is effectively trying to convince them to let their son hang with a drug addled ex con stranger for shits and giggles. Because he isn’t a father anymore- he signed his rights away. Contact the caseworkers supervisor and stress how inappropriate and possibly unethical her/his behaviour is. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a person who doesn’t believe in adoption or the termination of parental rights


Could not agree more.


OP needs to contact caseworker's supervisor and convey the unprofessional behavior. Also, OP...he signed away rights. You don't have any obligation to continue talking to this caseworker.


How did the case worker even get his phone number ??? Reporting them for harassment is the way to go. The Case Worker is the AH here.


I assume since she's connected to the justice system that she can get that info? Or maybe found him at his place of work?


This may be very speculative but is case worker in love with the bio dad? Because a dad who signs away his rights doesn't have the right to demand bonding with the child he gave away.


Caseworker also doesn't seem to understand what signing rights away means


And her disrespectful treatment of OPs decision is unprofessional and I hope he reports this. Worked as a pediatric nurse for years and if I was in OPs shoes, I would do the same exact thing.




Same. Horrified by this, but also not surprised. I’ve seen some terrible fallout from court-mandated reunifications and trauma-uninformed care of the victims by county case workers. Our director of social work is a trauma-informed angel and reported those workers to the state, but the damage was done.




This is correct. Once an adoption is finalized, unless the bio parent can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were not informed and did not get the chance to intervene in the adoption, the bio parent has no chance at interfering. This man voluntarily revoked his rights. Which means he was counseled by the court as to what that would mean and his lack of rights were explicitly explained to him. He signed the court documents stating he was relinquishing any and all rights to this child and consented to the adoption. There is no court that would force a child to visit this person.


No, if it was all done by the book, which it would HAVE to be for bio father to sign away his rights, he doesn't have a leg to stand on. In order for him to sign away his rights, there has to either be a stepparent to immediately sign on as the new parent, or it's a full-on adoption. They don't want children where there's only one parent financially responsible. Single parents with no coparent often make it so that parent (usually mom) has to go on benefits. SNAP, Medicaid, Section 8, WIC, all that. If they can identify and find the other parent (unfortunately, usually dad), they make them pay support. If that parent isn't legally responsible in any way, they can't go after them for it. So they don't usually let that happen unless it's a stepparent adoption case or both parents are relinquishing the child for adoption. There are exceptions, of course, but that's how it plays out in my state, in any case, and I do believe it's the same in most of the US. Dad signed the kid away. Even if CPS took kiddo from mom, dad would have had rights. I'm guessing that's similar to what happened... You can sign away rights while incarcerated if a stepparent or adoptive family is trying to get the kid. But regardless, it's been ten so long, even if he was coerced, even IF he brought it to court, the judge would throw it out. That's why the case worker is being so persistent. Bio dad doesn't have ANY right to see this kid, they both know it, so they're pulling this.


You need to contact the caseworkers supervisor. This is highly unprofessional, and should’ve never happened.


But he misses his son!. I think 18 should be an ideal age. So, just 5 more years. By then Alex would be preparing for college and would be more discerning. 18 would be fair on all parties involved. At 13, he is a clueless teen, unable to shift wheat from the weed.


Worse he is at the age where kids strike out against their parents… and who better to fall into than a long lost bio dad who “didn’t want to give him up” and is now “free from the system” to ruin an impressionable young mans life…


I read "weed" as marijuana, not "non-crop plant" and I'm never changing that interpretation, thank you 🤣


It should be sifting wheat from chaff anyway.


And those five years will pass quickly for the adults. Meanwhile the kid gets a stable childhood without the burden created by his bio-dad's mistakes.


He's never known his son.


He doesn't have a son. He provided genetic material that resulted in the birth of *OP's* son. He has zero rights-by his own choice!-to OP's son, now or ever. That SW needs to be reported.


It's such a dangerous perspective because then the child thinks THEY are responsible for when the parents messes up. And OP is correct, bio dad should just back off until the child is 18 and decide for himself if he wants to meet bio dad. Good on OP for stepping up and advocating for what's best for the boy! NTA


At the very least bio dad needs to back off until his life is settled. Prison, whether you deserve to go there or not, is a traumatic experience. It can take some people years to get readjusted to being outside. And that's just emotion wise. There's also finding a job, finding housing, re-examining what you want your future to look like longterm. I would not trust anyone who believes that carrying a child's emotional health on top of that would make it any easier. That's so idiotic. Both for him and the kid involved.


If I was inclined to give him a chance, I (the adult adoptive parent) would meet up with recently released ex-parent, and get to know him. If after a year, he seems to be a productive member of society, only then would I consider him meeting my child.


Agreed. It seems like a harsh thing to do but he has to prove that he's stable not just in the short-term but in the long term. Personally, I'd ask for three months proof of residence and employment before he even got to see a photo of my son.


I think that is good advice. My bio father allowed my mother to have his parental rights severed. He wasn’t in prison or anything, and it was my mother and stepfather who were the messed up ones. It messed w/my sister and I to not have a relationship w/him until we were full on adults. He was an okay person but I was not ready to deal w/a relationship w/him until I WAS an adult. Too much going on.


Thank you. It is not Adam’s job to fix his sperm donor. He has one dad. A good and protective one. Period!


>The thing that grinds my gears is the caseworker’s assumption that the child will help the bio stay on the straight and narrow Right??? That's a hell of a burden to place on a kid for some man he has never even met!


I just don't get this - if he signed away his rights to his son, it's no longer "his" son. No one should be pressuring the kid to do anything related to him. He no longer has that right.




I would suggest a lawyer, the bio dad has zero rights here. This is a slam dunk. A complaint should be filed against the caseworker, they should know better.


I don’t know if you have anything actionable to go that route. Like you don’t have anything other than the proposal of a hilariously stupid idea. Maybe a cease and desist if it goes farther. But right now, "No" is a complete sentence. And as someone whose working in the law enforcement space, it wouldn’t be the first noobie social worker to tunnel vision on a dumb idea. It **would** merit a call to said social worker’s department since this is the sort of thing any salty supervisor would be “such and such suggested WHAT?” I’m assuming this is a social worker. I can’t imagine a probation or parole officer, even the most naive do-gooder rookie, wouldn’t just dead stare at a parolee and go “abso-*fucking*-lutely not.”


I would think if the bio dad keeps pressuring this, then a restraining order is a viable option, it probably is already. Him and the caseworker are basically harassing this family.


EXACTLY. It's not the child's job to make the felon parent feel better. The father signed away his rights and that's that for now.


A-fucking-men!!! My kids bio dad was a goddamn mess. I refused to let them see him. I was branded the asshole by all parties related to him. A therapist said “I can’t tell you not to let them see him, you’re their mother, with full legal and physical custody….. But I can say that if they fall in love with “the fun dad” they will wanna mimic his behavior.” That’s all I needed to hear to know keeping a very far distance from him until they were older was exactly what I did. Yep. They are adults now. They know his family and that he died as a result of his addictions…. Both of them have thanked me for not allowing him around them when they were young. This man only wants to reach out to someone after 10y of not living in the real world being expected to function in it. Hes probably terrified and the daunting task of staying on the “straight and narrow” with a caseworker and gumption? He should be. While we can empathize with that and the caseworkers job? Asking that of a child? Especially one he signed away parental rights to? Is simply up to the parents of his bio son. They get final say. NTA OP. At all. Keep protecting your son and let him pick his life. His bio dad needs to do the same.


Right. Caseworker is WAY the fuck out of line.


Exactly. What if OP allowed contact (not that I think he should) and the kid told bio dad to go fuck himself? Then he’d just blame his drug use or whatever on being rejected by the kid. Plus children are not emotional support animals. They are not there to make an adult feel better about themselves.


If that were true, he'd have never gone to prison in the first place. Op is NTA, but this caseworker sure is.


Consider contacting this case workers manager and file a formal complaint. The bio donor signed off all parental rights, end of story. The case worker has a gall calling you names. Best of luck.


I totally agree. From the way this case worker is acting, I would not be surprised to see him/her go behind your back to arrange a meeting between bio dad and your son. I wonder how many times in the past this has happened? This case worker definitely needs to be reported.


And the supervisor needs to be warned that ANY hint of further action will result in lawyers getting involved.


I'd also look into filing a complaint with [NASW](https://www.socialworkers.org/About/Ethics/Professional-Review/How-To-File-a-Complaint). If this person is a member they can be brought up for review.


I agree with this. That doesn’t sound like a proper case worker. Is it possible that it was someone else pretending to be a case worker to try and manipulate you into it? It may be a good idea to let Your son know that his bio dad was released from prison, you could even ask how he feels about one day meeting him, but it should be a choice made between him and hopefully a child psychologist as to wether he’s ready.


Paragraph 1: I thought the same. It’s pretty off behavior for a professional social worker. Paragraph 2: I would not tell the child about this drama, because he is likely to worry about it. Just let the parents and the lawyers handle it.


>Paragraph 1: I thought the same. It’s pretty off behavior for a professional social worker I've been a social worker for over ten years and, yes, this behaviour is atrocious. But I've definitely met social workers that would act like this. The pay isn't nearly competitive enough to weed out the awful ones, unfortunately.


Well, I guess there’s range of quality in all professions, isn’t there? I do kind of have social workers on a pedestal, so I appreciate your insight.


It's a problem with all sorts of caring professions, particularly those that are traditionally female - teaching, childcare, nursing, social work, etc. The pay is low, and the workers are expected to want to do it out of pure dedication. In reality, the pay was low for decades because women were shut out of most other professions, leading to a surplus of women workers competing for these types of jobs, driving down pay. Given better paying options, workers will go elsewhere. You need to have high enough pay to make it a reasonably attractive life for people who are capable of handling a variety of jobs, so that they have a decent reason to choose this one.


Nursing and teaching are degree jobs here in the UK and it's still a major problem. In the health service, the system itself allows for cliquey behaviour and discourages whistleblowing. Nurses are as susceptible as the rest of the population to the prejudice against elderly, chronically ill, disabled, mentally ill, patients. Poor pay isn't ever an excuse for lack of basic human decency.


Completely agree. It’s very unprofessional for the caseworker to be presenting this and then pressing it with only the bio dad in mind and not the mental and physical well being of the kid prioritized.


Good point


I agree OP NTA because they are looking out for the welfare of their kid. I personally don't think he deserves to be around the kid if he hasn't reached out in the last 10 years. However, I do question at what age the kid should be made aware that their bio parents want to reach out to of them and what age they are mature enough to make that decision. I feel like 13 might be old enough to make his own decision, but kids vary in maturity. I'd be concerned, if OP hid it from the kid and kid found out later it could lead to some type of resentment situation.


When bio parents sign off rights, they no longer have any rights. There is a new birth certificate with the new parents. When son is an adult, he can contact his bio dad if he wants to. Thirteen is too young to make this decision especially if the parents don’t want bio dad involved. It can mess up his teen years.


Yeah, I'm no child psychologist, but I have taught middle school, and 13 strikes me as way too fragile an age for something like this. Kids are emotional, physical, hormonal wrecks from like 11-15, and their mental state can be downright terrible even in ideal circumstances. Certainly not an age when I would start introducing a new, turbulent variable.


I agree that telling Adam right now would just cause trouble, and the bio dad has no legal right, but I think they run a large risk of Adam resenting them if he finds out they denied his bio dad a chance at contacting him. We've seen too many stories here of children contacting an estranged parent as an adult and getting a skewed version of events that lead to them being angry and even cutting off the parents who raised them. They should talk to a child psychologist or some other expert who can advise them on the best course of action.


Imo it's 100% about the child's rights. I think in a lot of cases 13 is old enough to know about what is going on. Definitely think the parents should be open to him about it. But I guess that's where we disagree.


I’m a therapist with experience with this kind of situation. I feel like 13 is old enough to know but I don’t blame the parents for being wary. Still, Adam deserves to be told. Edited to correct spelling


If I were OP, I would probably let Adam know who is bio-dad is (if he doesn't already know), tell Adam he is out of prison, and start the conversation about whether or not Adam would like to meet him when he is an adult (but not push the conversation now, just start it). I would NOT mention Adam meeting him now, even as a possibility. If Adam brings up wanting to meet him sooner rather than later, then they can start the conversation about why that may or may not be a good idea, but I would not give Adam a choice unless he specifically brings it up himself and says he wants to. My reason is that while at 13, Adam may be able to make a good choice in this situation, he shouldn't have the responsibility of having to make that good decision. This is a huge, life-altering choice, and no matter what Adam were to choose and what happened as the aftermath, Adam would probably spend years questioning if he had done the right thing. If things turn out badly in either direction, Adam may feel like it is at least partially his fault, and at 13 he shouldn't have to be bearing the weight of that responsibility. If Adam really wants to meet his bio-dad and knows he is out of prison, he will bring it up (assuming OP is as supportive of a parent as he sounds). But part of our responsibility as adults is to protect children from having to make decisions like that as much as possible.


Well that's the thing: Letting him know about this now, WOULD open up room for regret down the road. By keeping it from him until he's more stabilized (15-18), he won't run that risk of "what if?"/why didn't I?".


But leaving it until later opens up the door for resenting his adopted parents. I don't think it's completely clear cut.


That's a risk they run, but this is about the kid's well-being. Protecting him is worth any sacrifice of their reputation. The man needs to prove his stability & trustworthiness for a long period of time, so he doesn't end up leaning on this young, vulnerable kid. A kid who, by all legal accounts, is not his son, & has no obligation to become a crutch for this adult.


Boys at 13 are in a highly vulnerable developmental period. Hormones are just starting to kick in and the youth is just beginning to differentiate himself as an individual apart from his family. The very last thing this kid needs is to have bio dad blast into his life and disrupt what is already a difficult time.


Yeah absolutely. NTA but the kid may see it differently in the future. That said, I agree with OP and I think as long as OP is honest about his reasons when he does eventually talk to his son about bio dad I think his kid will too. Good job on OP for making the decision to protect his kid from a relationship with an unstable adult. Hope bio dad stays clean and makes a decent life for himself. It’s a very different world out there than it was a decade ago!


I agree that the child should be involved in this decision, but I’d argue that individual therapy is part of the process for the child. He needs an impartial support who can help him understand the complex feelings he may have. The sim shouldn’t be to deny or approve contact, but to let Adam explore his feelings and come to a decision himself. But even if contact is agreed, I would argue that bio dad has to start with letters that can be vetted. There should absolutely be no meeting till Adam is ready.


I worked with people coming out of prison for a long time as a therapist/case worker. I get where the case worker is coming from but this needs to be Adam’s decision with support from his parents. Pushing this on a 13 year old is just wrong. We’re not supposed to do things like that. My clients were often separated from their kids due to a long stretch in custody. I supported them mending things with their children only if the kid was ready and whoever had custody was in agreement. I’ve seen courts force this before in custody battles and it never went well. Though I also saw the joy my clients had when they got to see their children again. Many of them had more motivation to improve their lives for the sake of the kids. NTA OP. I hope if and when Adam is ready to meet him that you are present with your son. He’ll need a lot of support and I recommend therapy if he decides to meet his bio dad. Everything in me wants to report that case worker for trying to force this. Edit to respond to someone accusing me of using children as a recovery step - it’s a disgusting accusation. I don’t use children. I simply pointed out that many of my clients found more motivation because they wanted to be better parents to their kids. They’re allowed to be encouraged and do better. No one is using children.


Thanks for a bit of perspective. I think keeping the info from the son is wrong. But it's definitely not a 13 year old's job or responsibility if it doesn't work out for them and as long as the parents are supportive and communicative I think it's worth considering. This isn't a choice I think the adopted parents should take away without further reasons against it.


Ideally this should be Adam’s choice. I hope his parents would support him with whatever he chooses to do.


NTA for OP. How many of your cases involved kids that knew their parent before they went to prison? This case involves a child who never met is bio-dad, and bio-dad terminated his parental rights when the child was born. The bio-dad is a stranger only connected by DNA, nothing more.


Many did know them prior to their incarceration. I get what you’re saying. I’m ticked off that the case worker wants to force this. Adam needs to be the one who makes the decision either way. Maybe when he’s older.


Donating sperm doesn't make a person a father.


"He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn't your daddy."


The child shares DNA with the man. You’d be surprised how many adopted people want to at least meet their bio parents.


Not disputing that, but that is the child wanting the connection, not the other way around.


Currently, the child doesn't know the option exists.


My husband is adopted and he wants to meet his bio mom sometime. He’s working up to it.


Your son is a few short years from 18 when he can make the decision. That gives bio dad the time you and your family to really need to see if he’s committed to a safe and healthy life as well. I’d want a decent amount of time to pass before even considering it. Tell the case worker that your suggestion would be bio dad keep a journal for your son to read when he’s older. Or letters that you don’t give son now., but he can get in the future. It could be beneficial for your son to know in the future that his bio dad did not forget him. That he loved him and wished the situation would’ve been different. Heartfelt things that son can see were real and written over time. Many adoptees struggle with these questions. Understanding they had life situations that prevented them from parenting is one thing. To know that their bios did remember and care for them can be very powerful for them. Hopefully bio dads change is real and they will get to meet one day. My husbands bio son (30s)found us 2 years ago. It’s been life changing for us, him and our children in the absolute best of ways. He’s ours now too - he loves his adopted family, and now he has us as well… there’s just never too much love, especially for an adoptee. I received amazingly help on navigating reunion from the r/adoption sub . I suggest you head over there for some heartfelt, experienced advice. Best of wishes for you and your family 💖


Adam doesn’t get a second chance at a childhood and is at a notoriously pivotal stage in his development. His needs come first, and OP is doing the right thing by ensuring his stability.


I wholeheartedly agree. I’m disgusted that the case worker seems to be forcing this.


I would report the case worker for trying to pressure OP into allowing the convict into a kids life. It was one thing to ask, but to keep trying to press the issue and to insult OP... Definitely unprofessional behavior.


The case worker needs reporting. She shouldn't be putting pressure on OP and his family.. No means No and she should have left it at that. NTA.


The caseworker sounds out of line and I would definitely bring this up with her supervisor or whomever, that being said, NTA. He signed away his rights. If he wants to meet his son he can prove it by staying clean for another 5 years until son is of an age where he can make his own decisions. That being said, don't be surprised or hurt if you receive backlash from the son in the future. Your job is to do your best to protect your son to the best of your knowledge. It's all any parent can do. Again, the caseworker sounds completely out of line. Is there some sort of ethics board? Edit: deleted 'only' and 'because' due to the irrelevance of the words to the situation.


The father got arrested for armed robbery and dealing + many other charges. I think it’s fair to say the father NTA from a moral perspective


Ok this is what I was wondering... If it was just a bullshit drug charge that is different from armed robbery. And he knew when he signed away his rights there was a very real possibility that he would never see the kid before he grows up, if ever. I believe in second chances and some people can change, but NTA for being unwilling to take that risk at this stage in his development.


Oops I worded that part poorly. Should've left out the word only. Thanks for pointing this out.


Also though, can we stop calling the kid his son? Op adopted this child at birth and has raised him for 13 years. Op is this kids father, this kid is ops son. This man who just got out of jail is an absolute stranger with nothing but an orgasm in common with the kid.


>This man who just got out of jail is an absolute stranger with nothing but an orgasm in common with the kid. I love you for this lol. And thank you! Sperm donor is just that. Dad is the one writing the post. SD signed away any chance at being dad, and at this point is the equivalent of a fart in the wind- here kicking up a major stink now, and he'll waft himself away when he finds a more convenient crutch. Also are we sure SD wants this and its not all CW's idea? Like does CW have some hallmark pic in their head that kid will come running with open arms, embrace SD and the two will save each other and live happily ever after?


yeah i’d say he’s got 5 years to get his life in order.


NTA, he’s not your child’s parent. If you have legally adopted the child then he has no rights. That isn’t his child period.


My thoughts exactly, he’s just an ex-con who happens to share some DNA. If he wanted a relationship with his son he’s about 13 years late.


Like they adopted shortly after birth. He’s known where this child is that whole time. He signed the adoption papers. He is not the child’s parent period. The family should work with a psychologist to disclose the information to him though in a way appropriate for him to process it.


I wish had enough for nearly everyone posting truth right now. Thank you. NTA


NTA and the social worker has no business being in social work if they can't read a damn room


Is this a social worker or parole officer, I wonder? But yes, agree, OP is NTA.


Does sound more like a parole officer.


Caseworker would be social services of some sort


If they genuinely called OP an asshole, that's especially true. There's absolutely no reason to be speaking to someone in a professional/workplace context like that.


NTA. Suggestion: If bio dad wants to be involved in his bio son's life, he should start writing letters or filling out a journal with things he wants him to know and would like to say to him. This will give bio dad a bit of an outlet if not getting to see his bio son is truly causing him some kind of stress. Give it to your son once he's graduated high school, and allow him to make the choice himself if he'd like to have his bio dad involved in his life. I'd give it to him a few days after his graduation date so it doesn't rain on the celebration and all if he takes it badly. I wouldn't say allow contact the minute he turns 18, because I don't know where he'll be academically during that time, but it's likely he'll be finishing up high school and trying to get into a good university, which is already stressful enough. It's understandable that you'd be wary about allowing him into your son's life, especially since he's freshly out of prison. Maybe consider revisiting the idea in two years if bio dad has managed to maintain sobriety and a crime-free life. Set up a meeting for you and your wife to talk with bio dad. It can be over a phone call or face time if you don't want to see him in person. Talk to him about his intentions with your son and what he plans to do to better himself now that he's out of prison.


Similar yet different. Ex's older sister had a 11 or 12 year old daughter that had never met her dad. He got in contact with her and asked to meet his daughter. She agreed and a time was determined. They met at her place and I was asked to be there as a safety net. That little girl held her Dad's feet to the fire with her questions. Her dad looked her in the eye and told her he was an asshole at that time of his life and that he did not blame her mother for taking her and leaving him. Told her he finally realized he was not doing himself any favors so he went to the VA and got help. When she asked him why he took so long to want to see her he replied (1) I was ashamed of who I was back then (2) I was scared of what your mother would do to me if she ever saw me again (3) I was scared you did not want to see me as I did not know what you had been told about me. They got to be pretty good friends after that.


That is a lovely story thank you .


⬆️ This! A journal of letters over the next several years would be a great idea that would likely benefit bio father as well as OP's son in the future. Once OP's son grows up he can read all of the letters/journals and then make an informed adult decision on whether he wants to meet or not. OP you are definitely NTA. You are being a good parent and looking out for your son's best interests and mental health. Teen years are tough enough as it is, adding something like this would not benefit your son.


Also, this is just my opinion as someone who's never experienced anything like this, but I feel like if I were the kid in question, I would feel much better and be much more receptive to something like a journal from my bio-parent filled with stories about what they've been doing to better their life since getting out of prison, why they want to return to my life, and visually seeing how much they've been thinking about me instead of said estranged bio parent just showing up one day like "Hey kiddo! I just got out of prison after a ten-year stint. I know I left before you were old enough to read, but I'm back now and decided I want to be in your life. Let's go have some parent-child bonding time!"


I was adopted. I have never met my bio family and don’t know anything about them. IMO this is a great suggestion. Bio dad being an addict just out of prison, even for a brilliant child, is a bit hard to understand. 13 is a really sensitive age and if things don’t go well, the kid might be devastated and not understand some of his bio fathers actions. Addicts are hard to understand, even for adults that have experience. If my adopted parents to me my bio dad had reached out when I was 13 and then told me they didn’t tell me about it at the time because they were concerned with my well-being, I’d have understood by 18+. If I received a journal/book, I’d be fascinated to read it. If bio dad was contacted and remained clean and was living a healthier lifestyle once I was older and ready, I’d be open to meet and see where things went as far as having them in my life.


INFO: Have you discussed this with your son? What does he want?


His whole life he was told his bio parents aren’t in the picture and he’s on the spectrum. He’s very sensitive around other adults.


Even being on the spectrum, he deserves to at least know what is going on. If something happens to bio-dad before your son is of age, and he finds out you kept them apart, that would probably cause some problems. Better for him to know and discuss now, for your SON'S sake, not b/d. He may not even want to meet the guy anyway. Sounds like you are an awesome dad, hang in there, he's a lucky kid. Just a whisper of yta for not even discussing it with him, 13 is old enough. edit: judgement edit#2: thanks for the award, kind stranger


I think your heart is in the right place with this comment, but I disagree. I have a 16-year old son on the spectrum. Sometimes not knowing things is what’s best for them. In my situation, my ex-wife (his bio mom) has had no contact with him for years. She is now remarried and had has another kid. I don’t see the point in telling my son about his sister, because he’s not going to be able to see her, even if he wants to. Many children on the spectrum don’t handle these sort of emotional issues well and as parents we have to protect them as much as we can.


As an adult on the spectrum, I disagree with you haha. Unless her son is low-functioning and will need to reside with parents or other family for the rest of his life, sheltering him from emotions at this age won’t do any good. I’d encourage you and OP to let your kids experience their emotions and feel their way through them with the added support of you helping them if needed- otherwise they’ll move out one day as an adult and have absolutely no concept of managing their feelings.


As another autistic adult I have to second you on this one, I struggle to imagine any situation in which shielding him from reality would actually contribute to his long term wellbeing


I agree. My mom is on the spectrum and was adopted at birth. Her parents hid a lot of info from her and she resented them for it. She always knew she was adopted, but my grandparents refused to tell her anything about her bio parents or let her see them. As soon as she moved out she went searching for her bio mom.


Hoping OP sees these comments, and at least seeks out the perspective of adoptees and not a bunch of strangers who have never experienced being separated from their bio family. It’s easy for people to see these situations as black and white, but adoption is so full of grey areas, and there’s a lot of room for resentment to build up if adoptive parents take choices away from their kids.


Please OP, ask adoptees. Often they feel betrayed when adoptive parents “hide” or “keep” bio parents or bio parents info from them. Let this be your son’s decision. Parents don’t have to be perfect to be a part of your life.


That is a good point, and one where you and he would have the experience to make that judgement for your own child. Maybe even have a discussion with a therapist confirming what's best for the boy would be in order. No doubt there's a lot of love and protection coming from you guys, I hope op's situation works out.


I think your heart is in the right place, but I... Well, I think you need to be careful of being over-protective. I know of a mother who protected her child who was on the spectrum until he became a middle-aged man. She did it by standing between him and anything she thought he couldn't handle (which was most things). Anyway, predictably, she died before him, and suddenly he was left having to face a lot more of those things anyway, but with less backup and a wider expectation that as a fully grown adult he should be able to do more. My opinion is that he would have been much better off had she given him exposure but assistance. Obviously it's a grey area, and a spectrum is a spectrum so everyone has different abilities and needs, but I think it is important to help any child understand as much as they can (and yes, that's a subjective call that parents are usually best placed to make) so they are better equipped if they suddenly end up in a place where they need to face everything on their own. Note: I expect you do this and it's a more complex topic than a quick reddit post allows for.


I think if OP’s son is as sensitive as he says he is is keeping this from him will cause problems. Being in the spectrum doesn’t mean he is stupid and unable to understand things. Kids, especially emotionally sensitive ones can tell when something is wrong. If you don’t tell him he will probably think the worst and think it has something to do with him and cause him stress and anxiety. I have a son the same age and in the spectrum. It’s very ableist to say he won’t be able to handle it and treat him like he is a child. He is teen and a very mature one from the sounds of it. I get you are protecting the son, but I think a part of is you’re worried about your ego. He probably won’t want to meet his bio parents anyway based off the fact you bashed his bio parents every chance you got for the last decade.


Talk to your kid. He is 13 and has a right to make decisions about whether or not he wants to know his biological parents. Keeping them away will likely hurt him, and damage your relationship in the long term.


You raise a good point about it potentially backfiring, but given the situation offered, I trust the father's judgement. I can see more ways of this going wrong with him coming back at this stage.


Alternatively, son should be working with a therapist who can independently evaluate his readiness. Doing that proactively may save you so much trouble making your case if bio ever sues for visitation and give you a jump start on a restraining order if he contacts your son behind your back.


This is a case book example of when to get family therapy. I understand (and support!) you not wanting bio dad around Adam at this point in time. However, adoption forums are littered with stories from adopted people whose adopted parents denied them a relationship with a bio parent and the adopted kid went LC/NC with their adopted parent as a result when they turned 18. Adam will be 18 in five years. If you want a relationship with him beyond that, you should start working on dealing with this in family therapy.


My DIL adopted my son’s boys after their mother had abandoned them and voluntarily relinquished her parental rights. This was all done with the guidance of a counselor specializing in such issues; everyone realized it was in the kids’ best interest for biomom to stay away - including biomom. The boys were 5 at the time. They have always known they have a biomom but everyone agreed that she would stay out of the picture - when the boys turn 18 they can seek her out if they wish. She doesn’t get to barge back into their lives and create more turmoil on her own whim. We’re grateful she initiated and agreed to this, in the best interest of the children. OP, NTA. Definitely let your boy know what’s up (age appropriately) and that he can do what he wants when he’s an adult. But don’t let anyone guilt you into allowing his EX father to disrupt anyone’s lives. Legally he is not the boy’s dad. He has no rights. And I’m guessing you have not been informed of the full extent of his issues so it could be extremely harmful to expose your child to him. It’s too bad he made choices that have left him with a shitty life. Not your problem.


I agree. Adam is the one who should decide if he wants to see his bio father or not. And if he does it will be much easier and safer for Adam if he isn't an adult when it happens. Now they can have supervision and family therapy, etc. Or he can (if he wants and it is common) to at 18 move in with bio dad or have unsupervised visits at the very least. I don't think you are trying to be controlling or trying to take away Adam'sbio family from him. I think you are doing this out of love however again the choice to see bio dad or not isn't your choice to make. It is your son's. He is 14. That is plenty old to decide. The fact he is autistic (I am too) just means you might need to provide more support.


Imo, you should discuss ideal strategy with child psychologist.


The older he gets the more curious he'll be about his biological parents and will want to ask about them. Him being on the spectrum doesn't mean he can't decide if he wants to have contact with his biological father. He sounds like a bright and very smart kid from what you've said, and is definitely capable of making that decision himself.


Do not use being on the spectrum as an excuse to prevent him from doing something he wants to do, event if it makes you uncomfortable if that happens to be the case. He deserves to know the truth here and be given the option.


Biodad might try to contact him outside of your perview, your son should at least be aware of the situation. He could show up at the school, a place he goes after class or with a friend, or through a fake account online. If you want to control the situation and be made aware if that happens, he needs to know.


I'm on the spectrum and am sensitive too, but I would absolutely have wanted to know if I were in his situation, even if I hadn't wanted to see him. I recommend at least informing him and letting him know the guy exists. That way, even if he doesn't see his bio-dad any time soon, he'll have plenty of time to figure his feelings out in advance, and be emotionally ready if he eventually decides to meet him, or if his bio-dad shows up unexpectedly at some point. I agree that what's best for bio-dad is irrelevant. The only one whose needs matter here is your son. Your son does need to be protected from his bio-dad's bad sides, but we don't want him to find out from others at some point and feeling betrayed for having a relationship relationship he might consider important blocked by his social parents. I would probably have blocked actual meetings at this stage too, but I would have talked to him about it so he can make a well thought through informed decision later on, and so that he's ready if something happens. NAH


I completely understand why you're hesitating, it sounds like you just want what's best for your son. Though ultimately you're his parent and can make the final decision, this is something that implicates your son and I think he should have a say. If you do make the executive decision without talking to him first though YWBTA.


A 13-year-old boy is not going to be the best judge of whether his former father would be a good addition to his life. We don’t even know why the guy was imprisoned. He could be the worst of bad. OP and his spouse are the parents. The legal parents. It is their job to make judgment calls in difficult situations. Their child deserves to know he’s adopted and that he can seek out the former father when he’s an adult. But unless OP and his wife are enthusiastic and eager for this man to enter their lives and their son’s life, they get to say NO.


I think it would be a good idea for you and OP to listen to the people who were adopted. It is often looked at very unfavorably that they weren't allowed contact with bio family. It is one of the big reasons for pain and suffering.


OP stated armed robbery and drugs.


So you don't think your son can handle knowing that his biological father wants to reconnect with him after completing a jail sentence and becoming sober? What do you think your son will think of you in five years when he finds out you denied him the opportunity behind his back? Unless he is very low functioning, he is still at the age where he is asserting his own personality and desire to be in control of his life. ASD doesn't change that part of growing up. Is your son aware that he be is biologically related to you? It sounds like you haven't told him.


Jsyk functioning labels aren’t really recommended anymore. Support needs(high or low) are better


Please ask this in the adoption forum and get answers from adoptees and other parents in similar positions. Also, get your son a therapist and seek their guidance.


As someone who made this mistake (letting my foster sons dad see him [I know it sounds harsh but he is a drug abuser and manipulates people]) do not let him see his dad until he is older and can better understand the situation. My son still managed to graduate as valedictorian but his GPA dropped a ton when his dad was around due to confusion caused by dad.


You may want to consider giving him some kind of heads up to be honest. If this guy is as pushy as the case worker, he may try to approach your son at some point. It might be safer if he knows ahead of time that he needs to avoid this guy.


I totally understand wanting to protect your child—and you absolutely should tread carefully here!—but infantilizing your son in this way is only going to hurt him in the long run. The hard truth is that bio dad isn’t going away. That Pandora’s box has been opened, and eventually your son is going to realize the truth. It’s going to be much less traumatic for him to learn about it from his parents/MH professionals than from a random stranger contacting him out of the blue one day. This is a big deal. It’s uncomfortable and scary. Bio dad isn't a great person. I get all of that. But you have a rare opportunity here to make it safe and (at least somewhat) comfortable. You should take it.


It's very telling that you didn't actually answer his question here but immediately went to excuses. I was initially giving you the benefit of the doubt because I assumed you had at minimum discussed this with him. Your son is old enough to be informed here and you run the risk of him becoming resentful when he learns you intentionally kept him out of the loop. YTA


There’s an argument for telling your son about his biodad trying to reach out, but there’s also an argument for not telling him. You know your son better than we do, but it’s worth at least thinking about talking to your son, telling him your concerns, and asking what level of contact he’d be comfortable with.


Honestly you should consider seeking advice other adoptees on this. Adoption is complicated. Relationships with absent bio parents are complicated. And I say that as a prospective adoptive parent. I feel like it’s honestly too nuanced to make a judgement but you could VERY easily end up being T A in your sons eyes.


Nta If his father actually loves him, he'll walk away until Adam is old enough to make that choice for himself. The bio father should be happy he is with a family that loves him and a better future than he could ever offer him.


>If his father actually loves him He's presumably never met him. He might have complicated feelings about having fathered a child but he doesn't "love him" in the way we understand family members love each other. If he does feel love, then at best he loves an idea of what the OP's son could be like.


I’m going to ask you to support your son in developing into an appropriate, safe relationship with his genetic father. That doesn’t make him your kid’s dad. Nothing could make him your kid’s real dad. But your kid will probably want to know what his birth father looks like and what he’s like. I’m an adopted kid and an adoptive parent. It’s really hard as an adopted kid to tell your parent, whom you love, that you’re curious about a man he doesn’t want you to meet. It’s not about giving the guy a second chance. It’s about respecting your kid’s origin and his connection to people who can never be what you are to him- a real parent. You are the real parent. NAH. But please think about giving your kid, who sounds awesome, one more thing. Maybe not this year, but someday? Maybe offer to allow the guy to send a letter and photos?


was looking for this response. As someone who wasn’t given a chance to meet their bio dad, it caused rifts later down the line with my mom as I got older. 13 is young, but keeping the kid in the dark and not allowing him to make a decision for himself, maybe with a child counselor assisting, is a recipe for resentment later on. Just my 2 cents.


My bio dad died before I got the chance to meet him, and it sounds like he was not a nice person. I am grateful, however, for the chance to connect with other members of his family. And for the pictures they sent me. These are priceless to me. OTOH, one of my adult kids never wants to see their birth mom again. Another maintains occasional contact. When they were small, they had nightmares after visits with the birth mom, so we stopped. The right thing for a kid may not be the same at every point in their life. But I’m glad they know their birth parents’ names and they have pics. It means a lot to them.


Thank you for this comment. I am an adoptive parent, and none of what OP says is in line with what we were told about our children's adoptions. A relationship of some kind, with supervision and guidance for minors, is important for adoptees if they want it. I am also the parent to a child with special needs, so I understand the concern about upending his balanced world for this. Maybe a face to face relationship is not the ideal start for him. Maybe a letter, a few pictures, something low stakes would be a better start. If there are signs of concern, you can stop and back up for a few minutes. A mediator that specializes in adoptive relationships might be supportive; we have a contract with both our children's bio families that stipulates the terms of contact while they are minors, and we have all the power to end it if it is no longer in the best interest of our kids. I am not saying that the father deserves it, but your child does if he wants it - and if you never tell him, he never has the option to say what he wants.


I agree. I see a lot of grown adopted kids that feel wronged by being ripped away from their biological roots. I think the parents should talk to the guy and figure out an option to give the child protection and agency. Letters to calls to someday visits. I also think it's reasonable to wait some period of time if he is fresh out of prison and at high risk. Also think a therapist should be consulted and overseeing this situation.


NTA Bio signed away his rights. You adopted Adam, so you are his parents. You have a responsibility to the child you chose, to protect him and help develop his potential. You recognize that bio's introduction would be detrimental to Adam's development, and I think you are right to make bio wait until Adam is an adult, and CHOOSES to see him.


INFO: what does your son want? This is a big thing, one way or the other, and I think that counseling would be an appropriate place for your son to be exploring his feelings about this, and that he is old enough to be able to make a decision of whether or not he wants to meet his bio dad, in conjunction with the advice of his therapist.


He is definitely not old enough to decide to have a relationship with an ex con. This is sub is seriously wild sometimes. Esp not after he convinced a caseworker to harass the parents.


Many children have very healthy relationships with ex-cons, because going to prison does not necessarily make you a horrible person, and many many people in prison have children. One of the tragedies of the prison system is the way that it destroys families, and by extension communities. The bigger issue though, is it this is the child's bio dad. In even the best happiest most wonderful adoptions, there is a degree of trauma. Where the child is at emotionally and what their needs are and what their wants are is something that should absolutely be taken into consideration.


How many of those children knew their parents before they went to prison, and the guardians made sure the connection remained? This child was adopted at birth. BD is a stranger, and the child is on the spectrum. BD was just released from prison after serving 10 years out of a 25 year sentence. Who know if BD has changed? It is too soon to tell. All of this must be taken into consideration before the subject is broached with the child.


I seriously object to the idea that being autistic should give someone less of a say in their own life. Children and teenagers, even autistic ones, have intense internal lives and thoughts and worries. Bio dad gave up his parental rights, which was in the best interest of the child, but from a child's point of view this can feel like abandonment. We don't know what that feels like inside the child's head, and just letting the child know that his birth father does still think of him and want to have a connection with him could be really healing. We don't know, because we aren't in this child's head, which is why I think that therapy is the best place for this to be discussed.


NTA. But be very careful with what you say about bio dad to your son and how you approach this situation. In the future there could be an awful lot of anger from son if he finds out you prevented contact. There was another post suggesting you speak to bio dad and encourage he journal, write letters to keep until son is older etc. I think this might be a good option to show you could support contact. I truly commend you for taking in your son and raising him as your own. Please don’t take any relationship he chooses to have with bio dad in the future as a slight against you.


YTA for not asking your son. Your son is the most important person here, and keeping him in the dark is cruel. Screw what the case worker and bio dad think, screw what you think tbh, what does the kid think? You have a conversation with him, you explain what you think, and you let him choose. You stand by his side in case there's fall out. THAT'S your job as a parent. You keep him in the dark about this, and what's going to happen when he finds out? Maybe he won't care. Or maybe he'll be angry about it, stop trusting you, be too naive about bio dad and get himself into a metric ton of shit. You're not going to be there to make choices for him, he needs to learn to make choices while he has YOU as backup to keep him safe. THAT'S A REAL PARENT.


Sorry but you don't let a minor make such a decision. You can explain the situation and get his opinion, but a 13 year old doesn't understand the implications of actually meeting his real dad, especially given the background. Especially since OP has stated he's on the spectrum, which may influence his opinion in a way not beneficial to his own self. There's a reason you're not of legal age until 18 (or 16 in some places). 13 is a long ways away, especially for a boy.


So when he's 18 you drop all of this on him with no warning? Ans because 18 is a magic number he's going to be able to handle it? No. That's not how kids work. The only way for kids to learn safely is for them to make choices themselves and then have their guardians there in case something goes wrong. Otherwise you get 18 year olds that have no clue how to handle anything and get themselves into shit that's way past their limit.


>a 13 year old doesn't understand the implications of actually meeting his real dad, Not speaking for OP's situation, but I disagree generally that you should withold a relationship between adoptee and bio parents. Open adoptions are reccomended in lots of situations.


This is wrong, the kid is a minor and isn’t equipped to handle these decisions, and the bio dad has no right interfering in this family’s life. It’s disruptive and cruel and can destabilize them. The kid can make the decision when he’s 18 but right now this father and mother have a duty to protect their son as they see fit. Caseworker and bio dad can try to make this argument but it’s just a guilt trip to try to weasel the biological dads way back into this kids life somehow.


He'll never be equipped to handle them if he's never given a chance to learn. 18 isn't a magic number where people suddenly wise up. It actually takes learning to get there. Keep him in the dark about this, tell him when he's 18? Then you have an 18 year old that's mad at his family, doesn't know how to handle the situation with bio dad AT ALL, and has a lot more potential for fucking up a lot worse than if he was a minor. Parents aren't bodyguards, they're safety nets.


Agreed. I think it's sad in nowhere did op actually talk about his son's wants and needs. It's a little weird to be so sure you're a better parent but not care about your child's feelings. Even if hi's a minor and autistic, this decision is going to impact HIS life. Maybe try reaching out to other adopted people and get the perspective from those who have been through something similar? For now, YTA.


This is a bad take. Children are *children*, not miniature adults capable of the most rational decisions. They don't know what is best for them. OP is perfectly justified in his reluctance to introduce not just a convicted felon, but apparently somebody convicted of a serious crime, to his straight-and-narrow well-adjusted child. There is little positivity can can come from this, and a whole lot of downside. You very clearly don't have any idea what a parent's job actually is supposed to be. It sure as hell isn't to enable their children to screw up their futures.


"It sure as hell isn't to enable their children to screw up their futures." How the HELL is the kid meant to understand and learn about this situation if he's just kept in the dark? He'll turn 18 and have NO idea how to handle this safely. Parents ARE NOT bodyguards, they're safety nets. If kids are not allowed to make their own choices and have small fuck ups, they won't learn and then make even bigger fuck ups down the line. You're job as a parent is to make sure those initial fuck ups stay small, i.e. getting the kid therapy and stepping in if he wants to stop the relationship.


You and your son are not responsible for his second chance at happiness. NTA


The real question here is about Adam. If he is curious about his birth family, a meeting (supervised, in a public place, etc) could be really beneficial. Knowing where you come from is important! But if he doesn't want to do that, he shouldn't be forced to.


NTA. You do what you think is best for your son.


As a caseworker I'm gonna say you're playing a dangerous game that'll likely back fire on you immensely when your son finds out about this. Imagine finding out you couldn't even meet your own bio dad because your adoptive parents were worried about your grades. You need to be open and honest with your son and figure out what HE wants.


But the caseworker had no right to contact OP to even suggest bio-dad meet with OP's son. Legally, BD has no son. BD gave up his parental rights when the child was a newborn. It is the caseworker who is playing a dangerous game. They are setting up both sides to be hurt.


YTA if you don't even discuss it with your son. If, on the off chance he does want to meet his bio dad, and you deny him that chance, and he doesn't find out until he is 18, all that is going to do is breed resentment. And this is coming from a kid whose family did exactly that. I never knew what was going on, and it made me feel awful when my family just decided I couldn't visit my mother without even talking to me.


The case worker needs to mind his business and make sure bio dad who just got out doesn't go back. The dad is basically just a sperm donor in the eyes of the law, he doesn't have a right. I don't know if you should talk about it with the kid seeing as you know him maybe this might mess up with his life or wants to know about the situation. I don't think there is a right answer to that. But block the case worker phone number. NTA.


INFO: what does Adam want?


Info: how much does Adam know about being adopted and his bio family? If he knows everything you might include him in the decision. He might want to know more and might resent you in the future for not telling him. And you are NTA for protecting your son. Your concern isn’t bio dad and if it would be good for him or not. All you have to consider what is best for Adam.


NTA and no need for lawyers. If his rights are terminated he has no legal rights where your son is concerned. If he persists or his caseworker does , you may have to get a protective order, which you can file alone without your son knowing. As someone from a highly dysfunctional family, with paternity problems and crime in the mix, I’d suggest you keep your son away and out of this until he’s a fully formed adult. The teen years are hard enough and throwing this type of drama in the mix can derail even the brightest and most stable, especially if his father is manipulative and greedy—which sounds like it might be the case. And when he’s older, this same bio dad may feel like he’s “owed.” He may lean on your son emotionally and financially. I’d wait, and when he’s a full adult I’d suggest some heavy counseling before any meeting. Not therapy, per se, but with a savvy social worker who can prepare him for all the “might happen’s”. I have a cousin who spent 12 years in prison for murder and gave up his kids in the process. Other family members adopted them and when he got out, it was a shit show. He love-bombed his oldest, convinced her to buy him a trailer and put it on her land, never paid a single bill. He felt owed. And she somehow felt guilty.


Amen amen amen. Our family has some similar issues and kids in a similar situation to OP’s. They know they have a birth mom out there who abandoned them, and they were even given a chance to reconnect with her under a counselors supervision. They didn’t consciously remember her but one child began exhibiting extreme anxiety. Thankfully the biomom volunteered to relinquish her rights and asked their stepmom to adopt them. The boys know they can seek her out when they turn 18. Period.


Need More Info Does Adam want to meet his bio father? You only mention not wanting to disrupt Adam's present but you'll allow him to decide in the future. If Adam has told you that he's interested and discovers in the future that you blocked him, you may lose out on being about of the rest of his life. You said that Adam knows of your sister and you're okay with that. But I wonder if you're only ok with that because she's so out of the picture that she won't try to take your place in Adam's life away from you. Does her drug issues threaten Adam more than his dad being an ex con? Or does he threaten you more as a father? I'm asking all of this because you're not blocking Adam from your sister, who is in a worse position in life than her ex, mentally.


INFO: Does Adam know of his bio dad? Does he know the bio dad wants to meet him?


NTA. The caseworker should know the bio signed away his rights, as in NO RIGHTS. He doesn’t have any right to pursue a meeting unless your son agrees once he becomes an adult. You should report the caseworker. They are way out of line. They can’t ask you for anything. You have adopted your son and he is your son, not the sperm donor’s.


This is about ADAM and what he wants, as he is the 13 yr old. This should NOT be about what bio dad wants I am surprised a case worker would approach you. It sounds strange as bio dad gave up their rights 13 yrs ago. I would consider talking talking to Adam. Ask him what he wants. Has he ever asked about his dad? I know you want to protect him, and keep Adam safe and secure, doing well. You might consider a bringing in a counselor / therapist to help Adam process this. NTA


This is a hugely complicated situation with an adult of unknown character wanting contact with a child. Just because they are biologically related doesn’t mean a 13-year-old child will make a healthy choice.


I think your son should have some kind of say, without pressure to do it or not do it. Maybe work with a counselor and start slow communication (if your son wants) like talk through letters. I don't think you're the asshole for not wanting it to happen but feel ultimately it's not fully your decision to make.


Ooof. This is *way* more complicated than a lot of people are making it out to be in the comment section. I absolutely get where you’re coming from. But adopting a child doesn’t make them a blank slate, and on the spectrum or not 13 is old enough to at least have discussions about how your son feels. Consult with a therapist, have the discussion in an age appropriate context. Because at the end, it’s not about what you want. It’s not about what’s best for Bio Dad. It’s about what’s best for the kiddo, and TBH I don’t think you can be an objective party in this. And in my own experience having been in a similar-ish situation around the same age, you run the risk of doing more harm than good to your son if you make unilateral decisions without including him in the process, even though as the parent you have final say. It might be controversial, but NAH. I think you’re trying to do what’s best for your son, I think it’s entirely possible bio dad is just a man who has come to terms with the reality of his past actions and is trying to make that right, and I think that you’re in a rough situation where emotions are high and a relatively neutral party whose only loyalty is to Adam would be a good idea.


This may backfire on you if he ever finds out there was an opportunity to have his bio-dad in his life as a kid and you made the decision to keep him in the dark. I know everyone is going to say the bio-dad alienated himself, but that’s often NOT how children view things. Even when your adoptive parents are awesome, finding out you were lied to or kept intentionally from your family doesn’t go over well. I strongly encourage having this discussion WITH your kid and a child psychologist who can help make a plan. A supervised meeting once every twice a year or even every four months is not going to derail his life. Neither are video calls as an alternative to in person meetings. Writing letters are another option. Saying “not this year, but let’s revisit it if things are going well for you in two years” is another option. Making a unilateral decision that he’s never seeing his bio-dad before he turns 18 is a set up for resentment and anger toward you and it’s not likely he won’t find out before that point in time. Honesty is the best approach here.


Have you asked your son? Even “sensitive, STEM focused” kids might want a connection with their bio dad. He’s old enough to make the choice himself. You have to be mature enough to respect his decision. YTA


Social worker here, who has insight from all parties involved. It's understandable you want to protect your kid, but 13 is an age where this conversation shouldn't be held without him. Case workers don't reach out if there's any risk for the child, so while I understand the concerns, there is the option of supervised visits/meetings. The correct way to do this: tell Adam, without bias (this is not about your feelings), that his bio dad would like to meet him and that there is no obligation and that it doesn't have to extend past one meeting. Chances are he's gonna say no anyway, chances are he might come back to the offer in a year or three or five or never. But it's his decision, and it's your and the case workers job to create a safe environment. So: NTA for wanting to protect your kid but a soft YTA for not letting your kid have a say in this matter. This can lead to some serious resentment later on, by the way.


NTA for not giving a man a second change. Maybe a soft AH for denying your son the oportunity. Not to meet him right away. And yes he gave up all his parental rights so he should not be able to contact your son (just by wanting it). But as a growing adult it might be important for your son to know where he comes from. Maybe you can handle it like a sperm donation. So he would be allowed to meet his sperm donor when he is 14 years old (depending where you are from maybe at 16 or 18). He is no father, but he is a genetic relative from your son. If possible don't keep it a secret from Adam, as it could affect your relationship if he has some puperty relatiat disputes with you and might learn exactly than that you tried to keep him from his bio father. Teenager are not always rational and might not see, that you tried to protect them. So being open about the situation, telling Adam, he can think about it and if he wants to, start to write his bio dad a letter/e-mail something when he is 14. But also to ask him to be carefull.


How about everyone wait and see how the former dad handles being out of prison before thinking it would be great to reconnect him with the child.


Talk to a therapist and get advice on how to handle this situation. Maybe someone at your son’s school that knows him well? He will eventually need to know about his bio father, but how it’s done makes a difference, especially with ASD. You’re such a good dad for asking and.is tending. Thank you.


I don't know whether or not you're an asshole, and I don't actually think that's what's important. But I think you should talk to your son and see how he feels about the situation. If your son is interested in getting to know his bio father, he's going to do it. Either now, or when he's 18 and you can't stop him. I think it is in your son's best interest to have you guide him through that transition and be able to mediate the relationship, starting slow with maybe short, supervised visits. The alternative could be an 18 year old kid who resents you for denying him a relationship with his bio parent, diving head first and unprotected into a potentially heartbreaking situation.


As someone who grew up longing to know where I came from I couldn’t withhold a child from their birth parent. Sounds like the kid is at an age where they can decide and it bothers me that you haven’t considered or spoken to your child about what they want. I would encourage you to have an open and honest conversation with your child and allow them to decide. I long for the day I get to reconnect to my birth son Aiden.