Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Biological Fathers everywhere hiding in plain sight

Lorraine
Did anyone come around your house saying "trick or treat" and pretending to be a biological father in hiding last night?

Thought so.

I wish I didn't know that a few of my friends fathered children they do not acknowledge but it's true. I always find it disturbing when they reveal the truth to me because it's something I don't want to know. Call it TMI. There's the father whose child was adopted and when the birth mother called him asking for help in finding the son, he said no. He didn't go into the details, but I assume she was asking him for money to hire a searcher. This is a man who could have afford a thousand bucks easy. We've never talked about it again. He has a strong and 
opinionated wife of many years, and they have a son, and I'm probably correct in saying that this son doesn't know about his big brother. What happened, I don't know. I don't ask.


Then there's the man who called me out of the blue one day about ten years ago--we had not been in touch for a decade before that, but friends who had once hung out in the same crowd--to tell me that he recently found out that he was a birth father himself. He said something to the effect of: "All those years, when you talked about adoption, wrote that book--there I was, involved too and I didn't know it."

QUELLE SUPRISE!
He hadn't known he was a birth father until the mother, a one night stand or nearly so long ago, called him to inform him a few months earlier. He said he was blown away with the news, but he did remember running into her once at Grand Central Station in Manhattan and she didn't want to talk to him, she just ran away as quickly as possible. He said he had a funny feeling that day from her reaction that maybe...she had gotten pregnant. But since he knew nothing else, since she never told him anything, she just disappeared from his life, he put the encounter in the back of his mind. Now, he said, he had met the young man, and to him it was a kind of miraculous event: the young man had gone to the same university as he had; had majored in the same subject, not only resembled him but shared interests and mannerisms, and in one of those weird synchronistic occurrences--smoked the same kind of cigarette, a brand once popular but today has a limited following: Kent. My friend loved that touch. He kept repeating it: He smokes Kents. He loved meeting his son. They had a bang-up time at lunch.

My friend was married now, with a daughter and a son, and he too had a strong wife. She was against telling the other children--they were adolescents then--and against telling my friend's father, saying that the news might be a shock to him, and somehow--well, you know, that lead to a stoke or heart attack, was the implication. Give me a break, I thought, she just wants to make sure that this extra grandson--the first born son who resembled his father so much--was not included in the will of the grandfather. This was a prosperous Irish family. Wow, I thought, we have not come any distance since feudal societies with bastards and legitimate children, and first wives and eldest sons and all that implies. Ignore the illegitimate! Keep them out of the will! Off with their heads!

There was the man who called me up because he was a friend of a friend and he knew he had fathered the child of a stewardess years ago, but now not only did he not know her name, he was trying to see if there was any way he might find his child. Like, really? I don't have a crystal ball. There was the man on a vacation in the Galapagos who told me his story and how he would like to find his daughter because he could now afford to pay for her schooling, make sure that she had everything monetary that she needed. There is the good friend who got his high school girlfriend pregnant, but her father made him promise that he would never reveal the truth, that he would leave and never contact his son, and my friend feels bound by that promise of four-plus decades ago. The boy was not adopted; my friend has watched from a far distance; he is a good man; he does know what occupation his son chose; it was one he himself tried but left. Do I agree with his decision to honor that old promise to a man who is surely dead by now? No, I do not.


WHEN DADDY LIVES DOWN THE BLOCK
Where is this all going? Several weeks ago I read in The Ethicist in the New York Times Magazine a letter from a biological father wrestling with the ethics of letting a neighbor's daughter know that he is her true father: I didn’t find out for years, but I fathered a child with a woman in my neighborhood who was, and still is, married to another man. The girl does not know about any of this. Neither does the husband. At the mother’s request, I have had nothing to do with the girl, though I offered to tutor her. Does she have a right to know her true parentage upon reaching adulthood? Sooner? Over the objection of the mother? Only when the husband dies? Who can make these decisions and when? NAME WITHHELD, NEW YORK

The Ethicist's advice: talk to the girl's mother and try to reach a consensus (in other words, convince her if you can to tell the truth, and then you have to tell the purported biological father as well), but do not act alone, as that would be analogous to jumping out of the bushes with a sign that said: “Surprise! You were created from my sperm!” I could understand all that, but the part that made me upset was this line: Even when the girl becomes an adult, an out-of-the-blue, unilateral disclosure would still be the most destructive approach.

What if the mother never agrees? What if she stays married to the girl's father, as far as she knows Daddy, and so the mother never wants to spill the beans? Is it going to be any less shocking news if the mother agrees to tell the secret of paternity?

I know news like this will always be shocking, but damn! I am a firm believer in everyone's right to know the truth of his or her origins. It's not always pretty, it might not be the news you were expecting, but who wouldn't rather know? If the father who raised someone was a good parent, I assume one would go on loving that person and relate to him as Dad. But truth? There's nothing like the truth. We are human; we deserve nothing less. --lorraine
-------------------------
PS:
Maybe this father business came to mind today because the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints recipient of Demons of Adoption Awards And we know LDS is not in favor of the truth, or single fathers when it interferes with LDS doctrine.

For more, see
Utah rules against natural father. Again. And again. Adoption is big business there.
A Child of War Discovers 'Dad' Killed Her Parents
Is it a 'Birth' Certificate or Certificate of Title?

35 comments:

Lori said...

This is the one part of adoption that my daughter will never be touched by. She is a complete only child. He died - killed by a woman is the story - the day before his 25th birthday and there were no more..... I have only been pregnant twice in my life, my daughter and a spontaneous miscarriage about 4 years ago, right after my first f2f with my daughter.

My father was a first father - my older brother is an adoptee light.... something I know is painful to him.

Adoption seems to have seeped into my whole family... sigh.

(how funny the word verification is "quille" - and your Subtitle is "Quelle" - interesting - silly, but interesting"

LilySea said...

I know a few stories like these too and I am always incensed when someone implies that a right to saving face/secrecy in any way trumps the right of a person to know his or her biological origins.

Sorry, it might be hard, but then, in so many cases, you made the decisions that got you here and why should the person born of your decisions suffer instead of you?

SameOld said...

I read somewhere that research in Scandinavia found that over a third of children were not fathered by their legal male parent. So what about other countries? It would seem there are a lot of biological fathers not rearing or responsible for their off-spring.

Raven said...

I asked my father once if there were any other children I should be aware of. He became huffy with me and said it was none of my business. Ten years later as he was dying, he told me that one day I might be contacted by someone saying he is my older brother. Seems Dad was a lively dancer when he was a teenager in the United States Air Force.

The sad thing is my dad couldn't remember his girlfriend's last name, so I have no idea about how to search for this long-lost brother.

letterstomsfeverfew said...

My brother-in-law (an adoptee) fathered a son with a woman who was married. All the adults in the situation knew it but decided not to tell the boy. He found out when he was 15 - it explained why he didn't look anything like his sisters or his "dad." That boy is now 20 and is a seething mess of unhappiness because the adults in his life LIED to him. I can totally understand why. How does one go about trusting *anyone* again when the most basic and fundamental truths have been withheld from you by the very people you should be able to trust?

The truth, told with love and integrity, is *always* the best option. Always.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Same Old: A third? Wow. That is a lot of scaliwagging around town. My husband is part Swedish but he assures me there are no children I'm not aware of. I believe I read that when people do blood tests for bone marrow and that kind of thing, it turns out that 10 percent of Americans are not...whom they think they are.


And Lori: Adoption does seep through families, a tragic after effect of the first adoption. Look at me--no adoption that I know of in my family until I give up my daughter Jane. Twenty years later she gives up Lisa. It is a sickening aftermath of the tragedy of adoption, that one begets another.

maybe said...

"Adoption does seep through families..."

I attribute this to the cycle of abandonment repeating itself throughout generations. (I am using the term "abandonment" in a non-judgemental way - I know this word is loaded for many who read here). Once it occurs it is hard to break and it could be caused by situations other than adoption, such as a parent repeatedly walking into and out of a child's life in an unpredictable fashion.

Regarding the plethora of bio-fathers - I know of a few of these situations and they ended with much heartbreak when the child discovered the truth. Lying about a child's origins is a recipe for disaster.

Lorraine Dusky said...

maybe:

I have practically fallen in love with the use of the word 'abandonment,' as the media nor Isaacson could not stop using it when talking about Jobs. It brought a dose of reality to the language. No "adoption plan" BS. Adoptees feel abandoned. Let's get it straight. And we first mothers need to accept it.

maybe said...

I'm in agreement with you Lorraine re: the term "abandonment." No need to pussy-foot around it. I abandoned by baby when I left the hospital without him. Did I want to, was I doing so willingly? No - but I still left him there, so yes, I did abandon him. It is my cross to bear.

Anonymous said...

Abandonment is a word that can be used by many people.
For example in divorce when a parent leaves the home
they are leaving thus abandoning their family. When a parent is not allowed to see their own child due to factors
that are out of their hands. They in affect are held as the abandoning parent. Which there is always two sides and usually it is the mother calling the shots out of anger or hurt.
We as mothers have been abandoned by family, by society
and clergy but of course we weren't babies. Many of us weren't even adults but were treated with cruel and unusual
punishment. Having our babies taken without benefit of any legal rights. Therefore, we were " allowed","forced" and or "coerced" to give up, surrender, abandon, give away, adopt
out, our babies. Being left with the abandoner legacy for the rest of our lives.
I have always said even murderers get forgiven but not mothers especially when others have to justify adoption and demonize mothers to make adoption the right thing in
societies eyes.

I Do not accept that for one minute and never will as long as I live.

Chris said...

hmmmmm....not much being said about the 'daddys'. Curious.

Jane Edwards said...

I know of three men who abandoned their girlfriends and their children although the children were not given up for adoption. Many years later they searched for their children. These men said they left their pregnant girlfriends because they were afraid of being "trapped." Once leaving, they didn't know how to come back. Eventually the desire to know their children (and perhaps male pride) made them search. One found his now adult son quite easily and they have had a positive reunion. The other two never were able to locate their children or their children's mothers.

Cedar said...

"I have practically fallen in love with the use of the word 'abandonment,' as the media nor Isaacson could not stop using it when talking about Jobs. It brought a dose of reality to the language. No "adoption plan" BS. Adoptees feel abandoned. Let's get it straight. And we first mothers need to accept it. "

Indeed we do have to accept it. But do we have to take responsibility for it? That is an entirely different issue. No, i do not take any responsibility for the surrender, because it was coerced. I did not give him away, walk away from him, or in anyway "decide" on adoption from a free and willing stance.

Many mothers are so convinced by the industry that it was their decision and responsibility even if coercion occurred, that it becomes difficult for them to shed this, free themselves from all guilt and self-blame, and put the responsibility where it truly lies. But a huge part of the process of become self-aware and healing comes when this self-blame can be 100% shed. You do not need to "forgive" yourself, as there is nothing to forgive. Those who coerced you should be begging for your forgiveness.

maybe said...

It seems that men who leave their children (either knowingly or because they were not aware of the pregnancy) or given more leeway to enter their children's lives than mothers who give up a baby for adoption. You don't hear as much of the usual talk about who the "real" parents are and how this interloper should meet the child once then scuttle back into oblivion. The world is much less willing to show compassion to a mother who was forced to lose her child.

Unsigned Masterpiece said...

I agree that abandonment is probably what motivates a lot of adoptee behaviour but I do not think we abandoned our children.

Never forget that we were told we were no good for them and that they were going to perfect families who would give them everything we could not.

Sadly when we met our children many of us discovered that everything meant money and privilege but not necessarily love. Sometimes they were abandoned by the people who were supposed to be saving them from us.

dpen said...

Ceder,

I know when my first motehr said she was sorry...i didn't know how to react. I felt guilt and confusion. I think because of the stories that she had no other choice so what is she saying sorry for? I can honestly say all the while growing up i was never angry at my first mother. Some intuition told me she probaly had no other choice. AND the adoption was best for me. Was it? Who knows? It just was lousy I HAD to be adopted to begin with. I think I was hoping that she would have been happy that i had a decent life in spite of the sadness of adoption. And i think she did. Was she responsible...well yes she was. She was 23 and I was her 3rd illegitament baby. I was not allowed in her mothers house( of which my grandmother has said she was sorry for...and i let her know she let a good one go), she did not have a job and she was limited in her abitlties. I know in her own indivual way she tried...thought it was ok to place in ad in the paper for foster care for me, thought it was ok to leave me in CC to run to Cali to find my bfather, it was ok for CC to deem me abandoned as they had not heard from her, THEN placed me with the state as she had no other option. AS an adoptee i "should be so totally PISSED at my abandment...true abandoment. But it just makes me sad because I know she was just working with the tools she had. Neither her or her family understood what this was doing to me. Because hey i was "just" a baby who felt nothing. Now we know how wrong that is. At the end of the day...it was my basic personhood that was affected..who i became was a result of her inabilty to see waht was best for me. I understand all of that. What i don't understand is how it becomes the adoptees responsibity to understand the mothers need to distance themselves from the responsibity. Maybe you were too young to stand up to your parents and a socety that thinks its ok to bounce babies around as if they are dogs, I get that...but for an adoptee to just hear the words I am sorry this happened to you and said from the heart....I am sorry i was unable to be there for you....I am sorry i was where i was at when i had you. For an adoptee to hear i understand your feelings and my part in them, whter they were born from ignorance or weakness....I am sorry. Thats what i mean about taking responsibilty...because the truth is thae adoptees feelings of abandonment(trust me many adoptees don't feel they had them... i didn't for a time) are a given and no rationization can overcome the the deep feelings of unworth many of us feel...and really its just a fact...to place blame may feel good for the short term but don't help in the long term. I don't blame or hate any first mother for an adoptees feelings of abandonment but i do expect them to help understand it and not get defensive.

d28bob said...

I'll tiptoe into this minefield and say yes, we adoptees sometimes feel a sense of abandonment. Since we don't know the situation which took place that led to our placement, we can't really blame anyone. But the feeling is the same, whether we were given away freely with no pressure, coerced, kidnapped, stolen, or whatever happened. Until we gain knowledge of the circumstances, we will only be able to assume.

Many natural mothers were young, didn't have support, didn't have resources. I understand that. But when I see first mothers who can only see it as their babies were taken from them, I wonder if they will ever heal until they acknowledge that they had at least some responsibility. Denial heals nothing, only acceptance does.

As for fathers in hiding, my own birth father hid my existence for almost 60 years from his later family. And still refuses to upset his house of cards. My reaction is something like Jobs' with his own father - if you couldn't do the socially acceptable thing at the time (1949) when you knocked a girl up, (marry her until the kid is born then divorce her and go back to the fiancee you cheated on) then fuck you Sperm Donor - I don't like to associate with lowlifes!

dpen said...

Now to get back to the original post...I have HUGE resent and anger at males that walk away and ABANDON their children. I hate the excuses that they and the rest of society make for them. They get such a pass for just being male. The ones not actually carrying the child..the ones that abandon the mothers of their children...grrr....yup got some anger there.

The day i start hearing biofathers taking responsibility and their buddies supporting them in it is the day i will soften my stance on that.

For the many that do...obviously i am not talking about you . When i first started my search for my first family the woman i was talking to asked me about my bfather...i said in disgust...that i really didn't want to meet him as he walked away and abandoned my mother....and me the most vulnerable in the whole thing.

maryanne said...

Each one of us needs to decide in our own hearts what our responsibility was for the surrender, and that will vary a lot from person to person depending on their circumstances. I feel yes, I did abandon my child. I gave up, and gave him up.In my case, without going into the whole story, I lacked the courage to do otherwise.

Other people, my parents, his father, the agency, society, bear their own responsibility for their part, as nothing happens in a vacuum. I have found it both honest and healing to accept my own piece of responsibility for the surrender, and move on from there, rather than blaming everyone else for everything. A lot of people were responsible, including me. I needed to admit that to myself and my son.

I do need to forgive myself, as well as others, and have strived to do that.

dpen said...

Mary Ann,

sniff, sniff...that was very honest and so true for all of us. I could go on and on placing blame for my a adoption...grant you i had a good afamily...(still do...ok...few warts) so the path is a little easier for me. But to know that i don't have to be defensive about my situation or defend my very valid feelings, or feel secure enough that someone is listening means a lot. It contributes to healing and forgiveness. That i think is very hard for some adoptees....being able to forgive. I think we have to go through a plethora of emotions before we can get there.

Anonymous said...

It took me a lifetime to finally find him, but my biofather is the most beautiful man who never forgot me and I love him. He has taken away a lot of the hurt from my mothers constant rejection of me.
It would be perfect but his current wife is a jealous, manipulative and controlling cow who has tried everything to get rid of me.
I think a lot of men are scared of what their current wives will do to them..... I know my father is paying dearly for acknowledging me. She is making his life hell.

maryanne said...

dpen, I think we all need to go through " a plethora of emotions" until we can forgive, and accept forgiveness. As a mother, I had to learn that it was not my son's job to forgive me; that I had to forgive myself and the others involved that I cared about. What I had to do was take responsibility for my own actions, but my son did not owe me "absolution", and my blaming others did not help me, him, or anyone.

I had to finally say "I did this, I gave up my child, it was a terrible thing with life-long consequences for both of us,and I am sincerely sorry. But the fact that I did this does not make me a terrible person forever, nor a person unworthy of compassion and respect.

This is a deeply personal thing. For me, the two polarities of either "we were all coerced and bear no responsibility" or the opposite that those who do take some responsibility "wanted to surrender and didn't care" or are in denial no longer work for me.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

"But a huge part of the process of become self-aware and healing comes when this self-blame can be 100% shed"

Cedar, I agree with your opinion here. Many of us begged for help to raise our children and were refused, even from our own parents.
Not all of us were convinced that adoption was good. Some of us fought against it and lost the battle.
Others of us gave in to the surrender because we saw no other way and we had no place to go.

"Unwed mothers and their children" are still considered a "social problem." Lots of people hate us...because they see us as deviants against the social order...even today.

Adoptive parents are still viewed as people who are saving society from....us.

Anonymous said...

Since abandonment has been brought into the dialogue, I'd like to add another perspective.

First, in my experience, like Cedar, I feel that coercion was a large part of my experience. I don't know if this is more a 80s and 90s perception or not, given "counseling" we received by counselors we trusted/assumed were simply charitable, professional folks (only to discover, later, that they were primarily facilitators working for potential adoptive parents.)

I think the coercion perception/reality also may come with the presence of hopeful couples in our delivery rooms or birthing rooms hours after delivery, longing for our children.

It is such a vulnerable time, those hours after birth. For every horror story I've read/heard of mothers from the 50s and 60s being tied down and worse, I've heard one about hopeful potential adopters being sent to the bedsides of mothers hours post-partum.

It's such an unfathomable time for "counselors" to encourage new mothers to "visit" with those hoping she will relinquish. (In some cases she has agreed ahead of time. In some not so. Either way, according to the more ethical thought, a new mother must "make her decision anew after the baby is born," not knowing how new motherhood will feel.

Maryanne is right that owning ones part is integral to healing ... and right that one's part varies in each situation.

For example, some of us had a part -- even if it was naivete -- in relinquishment (though, for many of us, continued contact scooted us over that line), but not in the closure of an open adoption.

Thus, the other perceived abandonment that doesn't often get addressed is this:

When open adoptions are unilaterally closed by adoptive parents, it is doubtful that most are truthful with the child. (I know of far too many such instances, and suspect they abound.)

The children are left, then, to perceive themselves abandoned yet again -- often by mothers who long to be a part of their lives.

I hope, at some point, this issue is spoken to by some of the current leaders/speakers within the conference circuit.

7rin said...

Cedar said...
""Adoptees feel abandoned. Let's get it straight. And we first mothers need to accept it."

Indeed we do have to accept it. But do we have to take responsibility for it? That is an entirely different issue. No, i do not take any responsibility for the surrender, because it was coerced."

Coerced is just an excuse for not fighting hard enough. Coerced is still abandonment, you just get to let yourselves off for it is all.

There were plenty who did and do fight to keep their kids. Those who didn't absolutely need to take responsibility for it, otherwise you're just as bad as the ones who're still happily chirruping about how they've given such gifts to the APs.

The only excuses that are valid is drugged up and/or tied down. Not being let back into the parental home or whatever, while it may be coercion, ain't no way no how gonna excuse you from abandoning us.

Sandy Young said...

7RIN said:
"The only excuses that are valid is drugged up and/or tied down. Not being let back into the parental home or whatever, while it may be coercion, ain't no way no how gonna excuse you from abandoning us."

First of all, most of the mothers of the BSE, which I am, WERE actually drugged up AND tied down. I certainly was. And, I remained so until after my son left with the social worker. As I have said many times, I surrendered a son, only one child, to adoption, so the sweeping "US" just doesn't work.

However, I can understand EXACTLY what you are talking about regarding being "abandoned" because while adoptees FEEL abandoned, in many cases, mothers WERE abandoned, and I was. I was abandoned by my family, my friends, my church, my minister, my parents, my job/school/the whole of society. I was told in no uncertain terms that I COULD NOT return home with "that baby" and since I couldn't get a job/car/apt/ and had no way to support myself or my chiild, let alone a place to take him, I had no choice but to surrender. I think that, to a greater or lesser degree, that was the experience of most of us during that time.

For 30 years, I told myself that my "sacrifice" no matter how unwillingly given, was for the best, since he went to a perfect life and I couldn't give him a father...but he HAD a father. And, suddenly, I realized that I had done everything in my power to stop him from being taken from me for adoption. I had nothing whatsoever to feel guilty about, and I bloody well refuse to forced into saying that I am an abandoner.....because, its simply NOT TRUE. I was abandoned; my child was stolen.

1 Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me." As infants, our children may have felt abandoned. They may have felt that painfully, however, they are grown now...adults. Isn't it time to put away childish things and knock off the blaming and finger pointing and heal yourself. And, I don't believe that it is necessary to accept some bogus blame that others impose because THEY feel guilty. I JUST WON'T.

Sandy Young said...

Oh, yes, I forgot one other person who did some "abandoning"....the Fathers....who are the subject of this blog post. My son's father abandoned me until the end, when it was too late. I think almost all of the mothers whose children were lost to the adoption machine walk in the same shoes as I. If these men had stepped up, acknowledged parentage, married the mothers or at least agreed to assist with some kind of support, there would be far fewer adoptees from the BSE, and there would be far less blogs like this. And yet, when they pop back in, they are the "most beautiful man" and always, always the mothers are the ones who are forced to take the blame.

Anonymous said...

7rin-

Regarding your sweeping claim about mothers who are not physically tied down, etc: What unmitigated bullshit.

If your perspective is one of feeling abandoned or of actually being abandoned, you have the right feel that way, to claim that truth and to say so.

Some mothers do abandon their children without a "fight," without the desire to parent.

That said, how strident or ignorant or intentionally shit-stirring to assume many of us did not fight to raise our children, tooth and nail, often in the face of unfathomable odds.

Sometimes people lose fights.

Their is no shame in losing a fight when one has employed all of one's might.

Morning Song

Anonymous said...

Sandy Young wrote:"And yet, when they pop back in, they are the "most beautiful man" and always, always the mothers are the ones who are forced to take the blame."

Not according to this adoptee. I do not think my father was a prince who could do no wrong just because he is male. I think my n-father was a world-class a-hole and I blame him completely for my being relinquished. He was a single, self-supporting adult and most assuredly could have taken care of me. He was just selfish and immature. I couldn't possibly blame my first mother. She wanted to step up to the plate and do the right thing (i.e. raise me) but she was FORCED to give me up. She would have been fired, evicted, etc. from what I've heard if she tried to be an unwed mother in those days. And yes she was drugged until her perfect, healthy white infant was taken away.

So Sandy, I can certainly understand your bitterness that men always seem to get off scot-free but not everyone sees it that way.

Robin

Lorraine Dusky said...

Robin: Once again, thanks for the comment, always cogent, always measured, always on the mark. And I love that you also pop in with the eternal references to adoption everywhere....

Thanks for your commentary and I believe I speak for a lot of FMF's readers.

Anonymous said...

Lorraine,
Thank you for your kind words. I enjoy being a part of FMF. It has been healing for me. I would be very happy if my commentary in any way helps others with their own adoption issues.

Robin

Anonymous said...

LilySea wrote:" Sorry, it might be hard, but then, in so many cases, you made the decisions that got you here and why should the person born of your decisions suffer instead of you?"

I couldn't agree more. That is why I always felt that my n-parents had no right to privacy from me. They had a right to privacy from the world but every person has the right to know his/her bio-parents and ancestry. And you are so right, why should I have to pay such a price because of choices they made?


Robin

Anonymous said...

Regarding this piece called "Biological Fathers everywhere hiding in plain sight" by Lorraine, posted on November 1, 2011: It seems quite unsympathetic to males, and it seems not to consider how things can be for males. Let me tell you a story from the OTHER side of your window, please: My brother was 15 when he got the 15-year-old neighbor girl pregnant. When she was three months pregnant, she married another man. In that place and that time, if a woman was married when she gave birth, the law said that absolutely the husband was the father. There could not be any argument about it. While she was still in the hospital, she phoned my mother and told her that she had just birthed my brother's son. My mother told my brother. My brother -- who still could not drive -- walked to the hospital to see his son. He had just finished 10th grade. My brother had zero legal rights, but he saw his son regularly, and he worked two jobs and shared what little he had with the mother for their son. Probably, the mother's husband had no idea that my brother was visiting his son, because almost certainly her husband believed that HE was the natural father of the child. When the child was two-and-a-half years old, the mother told my brother that he no longer would be allowed to see the child, because the child would start asking questions, and she did not want to have to explain to the boy who my brother was. My brother nearly fell apart; he was devasted. He did, however, keep quiet about the fact that he was the child's father. The woman was married to someone else; my brother would have had no legal right to see his son even if he had announced to the entire world that it was his son. Now, more than three decades later, I came across the truth, quite by accident. My brother had not been seen or heard from in over 15 years and may be dead. And, suddenly, this old truth that I had not known fell into my lap. I wrote to the mother; she did not respond. We live hundreds of miles apart. You want to condemn my brother for fading away? For having gotten the girl pregnant? You want to condemn me because I don't know what the right answer is? It's not fair to be blaming men always. Even in your examples, the mothers could have spoken up way back when. In my brother's case, he was told bluntly: If you come around again, my brother and his buddies will beat you up. If you open your mouth and tell people you're the father, my brother and his buddies will beat you up. Condemning natural fathers is really easy, but it's also not always fair.

Jane Edwards said...

Anon,

Please read more of our posts. We do not condemn birth fathers. We've written sympathetic pieces about fathers denied custody of their children by outrageous state laws, particularly Utah laws.

We are critical of men capable of helping the mother of their child keep their child who refuse to do so.

I hope you can find your brother and that he can be reunited with his son. If you cannot locate your brother, I encourage you to try again to contact your nephew's mother. It will likely be a great benefit to him to know his biological family.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Anon:

I am not even sure you read the whole post--because it is only critical of fathers who walk away from their offspring, and certainly not in a situation such as you describe. I do hope you make contact with your nephew--and your brother, his father.