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'Ask Amy' only got it partly right....

Started by Kitty C., May 14, 2011, 08:42:55 AM

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Kitty C.

I just read this letter in the 'Ask Amy' column to day and could not resist the urge to respond:

Dear Amy: I am trying to settle a conflict between an ex-lover and myself.
I am 25 years older than she.
She claims she is pregnant with my child.
That may be true, and I am OK with that until a DNA test can be done.
I do not have a problem in providing support to her — both financially and also being a part-time father to the child. However, she does not want me to tell her parents or anyone else that I am the father.
She claims she is too embarrassed to let her parents know and wants to tell them that the father "just took off" and left her.
I cannot live this lie. What would I tell the child as he/she got older — "I'm your dad, but please don't tell your grandparents?"
I refuse to offer any support until she can admit to her parents that I am the father of her child and I am free to tell anyone that I am a "proud father."
Am I asking too much?
— Frustrated in Oregon
Dear Frustrated: First things first: DNA test, followed by the truth.
You can assume that your ex is panicking. Don't take her bizarre plan too seriously.
Give her some time to figure out how she feels and what she intends to do.
If you are this baby's father, then you have every right to disclose this news to whomever you wish.
I applaud your willingness to step up, financially and otherwise, which makes me wonder if you might be the best parent to raise this child. You sound more mature and perhaps better-prepared than the child's mother. She might do better as the "part-time" parent.

My response:

Dear Amy,
<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p> </o:p>I am appalled at your response to 'Frustrated', who wanted to announce he is the father of an ex-lover's unborn child, against the current wishes of the ex-lover.<o:p> </o:p>
I absolutely agree that DNA testing must be done first, as soon as the baby is born.  In this day and age, paternity fraud is is not uncommon, with many men paying child support for children that aren't even theirs.<o:p> </o:p>
But your comments about 'part-time parents' are and can be extremely detrimental to the child.  If you do the research, it is proven that children with separated/unmarried parents do much better when they have as close to equal access as possible to both parents.  The father is just as important in a child's life as the mother, just in different ways.  A child NEEDS both of those influences in order to grow well-rounded and balanced.
<o:p> </o:p>Now, it may be very possible that, in this particular case, the would-be father is more mature and stable to handle raising a child, but it doesn't change the fact that, barring any issues of abuse, the mother should have as close to equal access to the child as possible.  And vice versa, of course.  Problem is, today's family court system does not view the father as important to the mother in a child's life, but only as the financial support.  And there are thousand's of fathers out there who are begging to spend time with their children who are not allowed to by biased courts and vindictive mothers.
<o:p> </o:p>I would have thought you, a knowledgeable, divorced parent, would understand that.  Apparently I was wrong.
<o:p> </o:p>Bio-Mom and Step-Mom, Seen Both Sides
<o:p> </o:p>PS:  Amy, if you are interested in learning more about the trials and tribulations of non-custodial parents, I highly recommend the website of Separated Parents Resource and Action Center (SPARC) at www.deltabravo.net.  I have been on this site for the past 12+ years and been a moderator on the forums for many of those.  I think you would find the website an eyeopener.


Now we'll see if she prints it but, to be honest with you, even if all she does is read it and actually comes here to learn more, that would be sufficient to me.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Kitty C.

Well, she responded...but only privately.  She stated that she did say 'part-time', but said that she meant both parents should be involved.  But I'll be honest with you....the tenor of her response kind of felt like I was being reprimanded.  I can't locate her e-mail right now, but if I find it, I will post it.

Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


Kudos Kitty!  I agree with everything you said, and would add that the rash of adoptions against the wishes of unmarried fathers means the writer cannot afford to take the mothers "bizzare plan" lightly.  I wrote her a letter that says the same, as follows.  We'll see what she says.

"Dear Amy,

I am writing in response to "Frustrated", who has an ex-lover who may be pregnant with his child.  I agree with your advice regarding the paternity tests.  However, I don't agree with your advice of "Don't take her bizarre plan too seriously".

Unmarried fathers are at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to their right to be a father to their biological child.  It is purely at the whim of the child's mother, unless the father acts immediately.  There are numerous cases where young mothers have fled to more "friendly" states to give the child up for adoption against the fathers wishes, and without the fathers permission.  Here are several recent cases that illustrate just this issue: 

John Wyatt of Virginia had his child placed for adoption in Utah by his ex-girlfriend, against his wishes and despite his desire to be a father to the child.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302445.html (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/13/AR2010041302445.html)

Kevin O'Dea of Wyoming had his child placed for adoption against his wishes after his ex claimed she had miscarried, then placed the child for adoption.  http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/ODea072809.pdf (http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/ODea072809.pdf))  and (http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-11795-some-call-it-kidnapping.html?current_page=all (http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/article-11795-some-call-it-kidnapping.html?current_page=all)

Jonathan L. of CA had his child placed for adoption against his wishes, and despite his petitions to the CA court to stop the adoption and allow him to parent his child. http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20CACO%2020110415044.xml&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR (http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20CACO%2020110415044.xml&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR)

In this case, the child's granparents wished to raise the child, and were denied until the adoptive parents were found with narcotics.  Only then were the grandparents allowed to assume custody of the child.  http://www.standard.net/topics/courts/2011/04/06/catching-baby-tamia-utah-connection (http://www.standard.net/topics/courts/2011/04/06/catching-baby-tamia-utah-connection)#

These are just a few recent examples that have been covered in the national news media.  The problem is, unfortunately, much more common than most people would believe.  I would advise an unmarried father who wishes to be a part of his child's life to research putative father laws for his state.  Many states have very strict rules for unmarried fathers to establish parental rights - far more complex than simply establishing paternity.  These laws make it easy for young mothers who want to get rid of a problem to place the child for adoption against the fathers wishes.  Many states require the father to register on a putative father registry, to provide money to the mother for labor and delivery expenses, and to have contact with the child within a short time after the birth.  If "Frustrated" wishes to be a part of the child's life, he must meet the standards laid out by his state, and he must be able to provide sufficient evidence of having done so.  He should keep a journal of all contact he has with the mother, noting dates and times of contact and any threats the mother is making.  He should keep copies of all cancelled checks for monies given to the mother and have "baby expenses" in the memo of the check.  He should have dated pictures of himself with the pregnant mother, in the hospital, at the doctor, and with the baby. 

Finally, secrecy and lies are what allowed all of these cases to happen.  In all the cases the mother kept secrets from the child's father, from the grandparents, etc. so that she was able to place the baby for adoption in secret.  In almost all cases the mother goes to extreme lengths to prohibit contact from the child's father, and to make sure that the father is unable to meet the standards of the court for custody of the child.  The father should not be an accomplice to the secrecy that could very well prohibit him from being a parent to his own child.  He should discuss the pregnancy with the girlfriend and her parents, and make sure they understand that he is willing and able to raise and support the child."