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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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...and over and over I hear people say they are the way they are because of their childhood....well, ladies, all I can say is that you are all wonderful in my book IN SPITE of your fatherless/motherless childhoods.

My story: My mother married my father in 1945. While he was at sea with the Navy, she bore my twin sister and me. He was also a drunk, but she never mentioned that. We lived with my mom's parents until she remarried (to another drunk as was her unfortunate pattern in life). I did not hear from my biological father until I was 18 and he never paid a penny toward child support. When he said "this is your father" my response was "my grandpa is my dad, you are just the sperm donor" and I hung up. I already knew he remarried a kind lady and she had 13 children with him. A few years later, we got a call from someone in his family who told us he had died. Mom, of course, was a little upset, but she got over it. As for me, I cried when my grandpa died, not when the sperm donor died. Now fast forward to 1994 in Los Angeles. Martin Luther King Day starts with a big BANG and lots of shaking. I was living on top of the Northridge earthquake and it was a doozy. After I spent 3 days cleaning up the house and property and arranging for repairs, I went back to work. I dont know why, but I needed to connect with my father's family in Logan, Ohio. I called the information operator and asked for all the names and phone numbers of my past last name. There were 6 of them! I called and said "this is your older sister in California, Susan, and after a pause, my half sister Jeannete said "Oh my God, wait til I tell everyone!!!" I asked what it was like living with my dad and she was very honest. He went from one job to another, left her mom penniless and on welfare with 13 kids. He died in an alcoholic state in the arms of a hooker! I now have family in Logan, one of my sisters and her husband came for a week in CA to visit me, we all love each other and amazingly enough, they all also referred to him as their sperm donor! His second wife died a few years after he did, my mom died 5 years ago. But the greatest joy of all was hearing the operator say, "Yes, I have plenty of them here - did I just find your siblings?" YESSSS!!

God bless everyone who has not had a storybook childhood.

Susan

Linda needs a "Like" button so I can "Like" Jamie's last post...it made me smile :O)

Kathy -

I am very greatful my mom did it alone. Especially after learning exactly what my dad was. My mom had her moments - but all in all - she did a pretty good job raising me in a time when single mothers were frowned upon. She became the black sheep of the family - and it really was her and I my entire life. I am proud of the job she did and greatful that she chose to keep me and raise me alone (people at the hospital urged her to sign me away for adoption!!)
Mom has been gone almost 11 years - and not a day goes by that I dont think about her - I am who I am because of one amazing woman!

I applaud all of you for sharing your stories. I'm sure it hasn't been easy to do. You are all incredibly strong and wonderful.

OK, here we go.
As long as I can remember I was told I was adopted. I really never thought about looking for my "real" mom until I was an adult due to health issues. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to meet her. My mom refused to help, would never tell me anything further than she had forgotten the name of the agency they used.
I tried myself after mom died. I searched for the hospital I was born in and called. I was informed that the original building had burned down, and with it all the records.
I admire your daughter for taking that step, even more for being mature enough to understand what could happen.
Being there for her is right. I just wish I could have met my birth mom. I will wonder forever if I have any brothers or sisters.

Well, now. This is some deep stuff. I guess I should share my sperm donor story, too! ;-)

I'm 25 these days, and I began speaking to my biological father last summer. My parents divorced when I was 3, and my mom remarried when I was 8. I always felt like my step-dad was my real dad, so I never had a sense of missing my father. When I was 14-ish, my bio dad called my grandma's house while we were visiting for a holiday. My grandma lives in a small town, and he had heard through the grapevine that we were there. I spoke to him for a couple minutes, and he and my mom exchanged contact info. I wrote him a letter, but he never responded. Last April (10 yrs later), we were back at my grandma's, and my mom and I decided to drive over to my bio dad's brother's house. Well, lo and behold, the brother, wife, and daughter were all there! That was slightly awkward... He started calling all the family, and I was speaking to all these relatives that I had never met before. A few months later, my bio dad calls me up, and we had a polite conversation like strangers do. :) I've only spoken to him a few more times since then, but I'm not upset about it. I lived without him all these years, and I can continue doing so. I just thought it would be interesting to maybe meet the man that everyone says I look just like.

RBlues, I'm glad you gave your daughter the support she needed even if you didn't agree with what she was doing. I'm sure my mom didn't want to drive me over to her ex-brother-in-law's house, either, but she did! Keep up the good work.
Brianna, I'm so happy that you gained a sister! I'm sure you thought long and hard before making your decision, and look how your bravery paid off. Congrats and good luck!

Ok... I JUST WANT TO HUG & SQUEEZE ALL OF YOU!!!!

Ronnie- go get 'im, girl!

Brianna- he is so not worth someone as amazing as you

Jamie- {{HUGS}}

Kathy- HUGE {{HUGS}} & you are an amazing woman.

Jamie and Ronnie, I was reading your stories and I started bawling my fricken head off - I was "lucky", my father married my pregnant mother at 17 when she was pregnant with my older sister. They then proceeded to have 3 kids by the time she was 20 and a fourth (accident) when she was 24. Imagine being mentally competant and adult enough to raise 4 kids when you are just done being a kid yourself. My dad was was a multi-dimensional father. 1. He was a workaholic. 2. He was a functioning alchoholic. 3. He was physically and verbally abusive TO ME. 4. He was wonderful to the outside world, so if I ever complained outside the family, no one would have believed me. 5. He never hit my brother or my two sisters - only me.

The reason I was bawling, is because I thought you were so lucky not to have to grow up with an alchoholic father. Sure your mother's both struggled, but I bet they would agree they'd do it the same way (versus an abuser staying) if they had to do it all over again.

Isn't it ironic that I am jealous of both of you for what you DIDN'T have to endure with a live-in father?

I was my daughter as well which is why I was so leery of her doing this. My dad left the night before Thanksgiving when I was six and we never saw him again. When I was about 12, I looked him up in the phone book and called. He was all, "where did you get my number?", "Where's your mom" to which I replied, "at the Bronco game" and then he said, "Well, I'm in the middle of something, I need to go". No "how are you" or "I'll call you back", "I'm sorry" --Nothing.
Something must have clicked in his brain because about a month later, my mom was being sued for the rights to the Bronco tickets. Tickets that would have been lost if not for her struggling to keep paying for them while raising three little girls by herself and putting herself through college. The best part of this story is that my mom won the right to keep the tickets AND her lawyer brought up the fact that he had never paid a penny of child support to which the judge AND his lawyer both went, "WHAT!". The judge demanded that a court date be set immediately to deal with this new situation AND REQUESTED TO BE THE PRESIDING JUDGE ON THAT CASE. He totally humiliated him and we finally got some financial help. He died two years later in a plane crash so Karma is a bitch as they say but something good did come out of my 2nd round of rejection.

The good news in Brianna's situation is that I was able to find out that he very recently relocated to San Antonio, TX, so I know where to lead the authorities and will hopefully be able to recoup some of HER money. I have also found out that in addition to the three other kids I knew about, he also has a 16 year-old son. This means that she was either pregnant or had a newborn at the time he was living with and willingly starting a family with me. I had no idea but I remember that his mom would attempt to bring something up every now and then and he would cut her off or literally "shush" her mid-sentence. I always wondered what that was about--now I know.

Thanks Kathy!
My mom knew he was an alchoholic - but later told me I was so happy when he was visiting me - that she didn't want to tell me. I looked a lot like him then - tall & skinny. (Mom's DNA kicked in after high school & I slowly inflated! LOL)
When I decided to find him - my only reference point was the town he lived in when I was a kid - so I contacted the paper & placed a personal ad looking for anyone with information about him. Much to my surprise - I had a message on my answering machine from a young man saying to call him regarding my ad. Well turns out good 'ol dad was married to yet another woman - and this guy was her son. He asked who I was and why I was looking for him - I said I was his daughter, and I think he about had a stroke - as my dad never shared this information with anyone. ( I was a BIG secret!!) He gave me his mother number & said to call her. I did, and she was so nice. Explained my dad died from alchoholism, which is why she left him. That I had 2 aunts & many many cousins and gave me the phone number of one of my aunts. (Sounding like an Oprah episode huh??) I called her & got her answering machine ( I was so relieved as I was scared sh*tless to call her!) I said my name - that I was Tom's daughter - and to call me if she wanted. 20 minutes later my phone rang, I answered & heard on the other end'Jamie - what took you so long to find us??" Seems dad HAD told his sister about me - but they only knew my first name - not my last - and had no clue how to look for me. She explained that he was ashamed of what he did, but his life was so messed up from his drinking that he chose to just stay away from me. (not a good enough excuse in my book!) She told me my brother and sister's names (I never knew what they were)and how to find them.
My husband found out where my dad was buried, and we went to the cemetery. I stood there and sobbed. Not that he was dead - but for all the lost years - and what could have been, had he not been so f*cking selfish. That FINALLY gave me my closure. I have not been back to his grave since, and have no desire to.
My brother told me that life with dad was no pic-nic, he was verbally & physically abusive - and gone a lot. He said, be glad you grew up without him, I wish I could have. And that was the last bit I needed to FINALLY be over it.
My daughter askes questions about him from time to time, and all I say is "Grandpa is in heaven" - but I know better!
Your right Kathy - St. Peter pushed the button & the floor opened up - going DOWN!!

Jamie - what a story - it made my heart ache for the hurt little girl you were. I will never in a million years understand how people can be so callous and hurtful and mean. No wonder he was an alchoholic, he probably had mounds of guilt for what he did to you. I am so sure that when he died and got to the pearly gates, St. Peter took one look at him, laughed and told him he missed his exit. Serves him right. GFU for turning out so incredible.

RBlues, definately go after the child support. That is money owed to her, not you, and he needs to pay it. I know there is a way to get his tax refunds taken and sent to you for payment. My sister did it and her ex was so mad. He owed her about 10 grand and every year he filed a tax return they took his refund and gave it to her.
I am sure the family services office will be able to tell you how to file for that.

I also could be your daughter. I was conceived on new years eve, 1965. My parents were not married. When my mother discovered she was pregnant with me - my father dumped her. He came to see me once after I was born & that was it. No child support - nothing. My mom raised me alone, and did a great job - but naturally, I was curious. She barely ever mentioned him - and I never asked questions. Well when I was 13 and about to enter 8th grade, i came across his name & address in my mom's address book. And unbeknownst to her - I wrote him a letter. Dear Dad, This is Jamie...etc... telling him all about myself. And then I mailed it & promptly forgot all about it.
Well one sunday afternoon I was taking a bath & our doorbell rang on the front door. No one ever used the front door. I heard my mom mutter "Probably Jehovah Witnesses" and went to shoo them away. A few minutes later I heard 2 sets of footsteps coming up the stairs and I thought - hmmm...we have company. Then my mom knocked at the bathroom door & asked if she could come in. Sure, I said. So she does, and proceeds to ask me if I had written any letters lately? I ask why she wants to know, and she replied "Because your father is in the living room!" Oh lord - I could have puked right there in the tub! I was SO SCARED!! She said hurry and get dressed & come to the living room. Poor mom was blind sided, as she never in a million years expected to see my dad at the door!
Well I took my sweet time getting dressed and finally went to the living room, and I could not look at him. I was THAT scared. My eyes were fixed on his hand - he had two fingers missing. He noticed that and explained that he was fixing a truck & the jack slipped & thats how he lost them.
He said he was glad I wrote the letter and that he always thought about me etc... For one week he came by EVERY day, we went for pizza, bowling, movies, the beach. I was in HEAVEN! I thought, WOW - this is what having a daddy is like? This is great! My mom was happy for me, and never interferred in our visits. Then one day he came to the door and said that he couldn't see me anymore. I was so hurt - and asked why. He said that he had married a woman and had a son and a daughter with her - and he couldnt be a dad to them & me too. He gave me some money for school, left and that was that. I never saw him again. I cried for weeks. My mom was so mad. Fast forward to my senior year in high school. I was laying on my bed reading & my mom was chatting on the phone to a friend. She paused & yelled in to me "Jamie, Nancy ran into your dad the other day & he asked how you were." I was so FURIOUS!! I said "Please tell Nancy that how I am is none of his f*cking business!" That was the last time I ever heard from him or about him. For years I was so angry, as I felt he didn't abandon me once, but twice. After my mom passed away in 2000, I decided as an adult to find him & ask him why he did that to a kid! Well it turned out he died (he was an alchoholic)when I was 21. I found my 1/2 brother & sister - we see each other once in awhile but we aren't close. And I am ok with that.

So just be there for her - no matter how it turns out. Thats all you can do! Good luck!

OK, so he deleted her now that he's learned she's his daughter, which brings me back to my original question of what he "friended" her for in the first place? Sounds like she might be better off NOT knowing him.

But I see that your daughter posted and I see she at least is being opened minded (even though it still may hurt her feelings), but she did connect with some other sibblings, so there may be some good come from this. I hope so, for your and your daughter's sakes. (and that it's not a can of worms!!) :-)

While everyone's advice, cyber-hugs and support are amazing . . . Chicky, you made her SMILE (I went and got her from school)! Thank you!

...oh, and Ronnie - go get him for all that back child-support - the law and the courts are on your side - Garnish the hell out of his wages. It's the LEAST she deserves from him!

Ya know, I really hope that Breezy is amazingly talented and becomes a huge celebrity who makes oodles and oodles of cash and has a big entourage - but still keeps her sensible head on straight. That way, when the "sperm donor" sees the error of his ways (and they always do), he will be the one kicking himself for not seeing what an amazing person she is and for not taking the opportunity to get to know her. Even if Breezy doesn't become disgustingly famous, at least WE all know what an amazing daughter you have Ronnie and that her head is screwed on straight because of YOU. That man is a waste of her time and our airspace.

What Linda said.

Hugs to both Brianna and Ronnie.

This has NOTHING to do with her AS A PERSON - he doesn't even know her AS A PERSON. She needs to concentrate on that distinction.

Yes, his deleting her is the work of a first class coward and shitheel, but again, HE DOES NOT KNOW HER, so I pray she does not take this hyper personally.

SHE took the step, he took the chickenshit easy out. That makes her the bigger, braver, far more mature person in all this.

What's left now is to simply move forward knowing she tried to establish contact, but that he isn't mature enough to deal. (In that regard, sounds like nothing has changed for him.)

RBlues, don't use your energy for the negative. Please for the time being, try to stay positive for your daughter. I agree that you should reopen your child support case but for now, help Brianna adjust to having a new sister in her life.

Well, my first instinct was correct. Not only did he not respond to her message (which was basically, "This is me, don't I look like you? I'm doing great, how are you?" but he DELETED HER!!! I knew this was going to happen. She's at school now but I know she's going to check her account and I'm not there for her!!!! I am SO MAD right now! At least she connected with her sister (who sees very little of him herself) and hopefully, they form a bond. You can be damn sure I will be doing everything I can to reopen my child support case and go after him with a vengeance. How dare he!

Brianna - you sound like a very reasonable, intelligent young woman. I too wish you nothing but good luck in this new chapter in your life.

RB - please give yourself a big pat on the back for raising such an outstanding person. You should be very proud.

Brianna-Thanks for posting. I am glad you were able to make this very important connection. You are blessed to have a mom, step dad and sisters who loves you so much; even luckier now to find more family to love. I wish you well!

Thanks for all your support! My mom and sisters are afraid that im going to get hurt..... im not! He left me before, if he chooses to leave me again I will be fine with that, its his loss!! I have my step dad and I will never replace him! My mom wasn't felling so good about this but you all made her feel better and im just glad I can talk to my sister!

Thanks again for your support!! :)
-Brianna

Ronnie- Glad things are progressing. As long as she knows that you support her and love her, no matter the outcome, I say let her keep in contact with them. If she doesn't follow through with the attempts to contact them now, down the road she will suffer from wondering "what could have been". Keep your head up proudly and know that you raised her right and that she knows who was her support over the years. Remember though, it may get a bit cloudy for her for a while, trying to find a comfortable place to be within all these new family members.

Just remember what you are responsible for, which is your families' well being. She may get confused from hearing another side of the story from his family. Just make sure she knows you were honest in the past about what happened and that you will continue to keep an open line of communication with her. I always say there are 3 sides to each story, the two people involved, and the truth. Now, I am not saying you have lied to her, but your emotions play a huge part in perceptions during times of stress. He may someday share with her a completely different story about why he was not around all those years.

I pray for your wisdom and comfort and for your beautiful daughters' clarity and also that she does not get her heart broken. I am concerned of many of the above issues with my ex and our children, that is the only reason I mention it to you. Stay strong momma- you have done a great job!

Hey Ronnie, we found sisters too, and that has been great....and an uncle who has been so much fun and gave us so much family history. My siblings didn't get much more from him then we did, they were in Oregon, we in Wis. but its nice to know there are others out there, doing what we did.

And thanks to all of you!

Ronnie - very happy for Breezy! If everything fails with her sperm donor, at least she found a sister!

Thank you everyone for your support! I have an update of sorts: She sent him a message but has not yet received a response. However, in the meantime she (again with my help--might as well tear open that can of worms!) located 3 siblings, requested them as friends and has already connected with her 18 year-old sister. They texted each other for an hour before Breezy had to go to volleyball practice. She lives here in Colorado so this could get real interesting. She is over-the-moon just having that connection established so I guess it can't be all bad.

RBlues I agree with Deena and everyone elso I also was your daughter 30+ Years ago My Bio Dad and Mom split when I was 2 and I got curious when I got into my teens my mom actualy went out of her way to help me locate George Sr thru family of his and took me to see him. I spent a summer with him and could not for the life of me understand how she was with him to begin with. When it feel apart I knew I had a loving and supportive mom to turn to. It sounds like your daughter does also. I wish you and your daughter the very best and hope she soesnt get hurt but am glad she will have you if she does.

Deena - I wonder if you dad felt so much guilt at not being there for you he couldn't bring himself to respond? But it obviously meant something to him to have recieved those letters and pictures.

I too thought that he may have indeed recognized the name/appearance and accepted the request and then is waiting for your daughter to make the first move. I think that is what I might do if it were me...since I wouldn't know what to say that would make up for not being there.

Sending you hugs, RBlues. I don't have any experience of this situation, but I know that it can't be easy for you. Hang in there, and do what you think best for your daughter.

Ronnie - my heart aches for you. If he hasn't changed in the years since you knew him (I suspect he hasn't), then the writing is on the wall on this one. Linda gave you great advice - just be supportive, let her know the risks and be there to catch her when he disappoints her. She will love you even more for this when she is older and wiser. Besides, if you tried to block her from seeing him, and things turn out differently - she may grow to resent you for this - I would hate to have that happen. It sounds like you have a very good, solid relationship, built on honesty and trust. She sounds like a good girl with a smart head on her shoulders. Be proud of what you and she have accomplished, and trust her to make good decisions.

@ Deena - I am sorry you had to go through what you went through with your "father", it's sad that some men treat their daughters and sons as disposable. I am very glad that you had a wonderful stepfather who treated you like his own. Sperm donation DOES NOT make you a parent.

You have to let her do this and as Linda says, let the chips fall as they may as hard as this is for you. I think it is pretty normal curiosity on her part. I hope that something positive comes of this for her as I would be sorry to see her hurt. I just do not understand how dads can just walk away from their beautiful children without a second thought. (I know some moms do it too but it seems to be more common with fathers.)

RBlues, I'm going to try to give you this from your daughter's perspective. Because 35 years ago, I was your daughter. I had a deadbeat dad from day one. Never paid a dime, but in the 60's they didn't seem to force that issue. My stepdad adopted me when I was 8. My "birth father" signed me away without a word of protest. That still kinda stings. But when I was 16, none of that mattered to me. If I would have had the internet, I would have been looking, and looking alot. I just had this need to know...anything I could find out. And my mom basically refused to talk about it. The more in the dark I was, the better she thought I would be. It seems that you are not being that way, and that is a good thing. If she has gone this far she's not going to stop now. I think every young girl wants to have a dad like Linda's Rudy is. A kind strong man to love and protect her, from anything and everything. So hang tight, let her satisfy her curiosity. She'll be grateful for your help.

About 10 years ago, my sister and I found him out in Oregon. We both each wrote him a letter, telling him about ourselves and our lives. Sent pictures of us growing up and of our kids. Neither of us ever heard a word from him. 2 years later, I got a phone call from his brother, my Uncle Merle, telling me he had died. How did he even know my name let alone my phone number? My father had kept the letters and the pictures. He found them in his nightstand.

He only has 47 friends. Part of me wants to believe that he recognized her (as I said, the resemblance is uncanny) and is willing to take the first step. I've come around to hoping so, for her sake, as hard as it is.

Sorry you're having to stare this fear, right in the face.

Does he have a lot of friends? If he has 1,000 friends - he may be the type to accept anyone. If there are not that many, than it's possible that he indeed recognizes the name, and was also taking that first step - and waiting to hear what she had to say.

I feel for you, and imagine that your stomach feels like it's been through a meat grinder. I'm sure this is very difficult, but as the others have said, it may be the hardest thing you ever have to do, but you should support the decision. She won't realize it now, but later in life, she will know that you support HER, no matter what.

Best of luck!

Katy, that thought crossed my mind as well and I almost added it in my letter to Linda. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, friend requests don't show the person's age but it is (or should be) obvious that she is very young.

My concern is, why would a grown man accept a 15 year old girl's request to be a friend, and not have any idea who she is?

RBlues, as hard as Linda's advice may be to take, she's 100% correct, "Just be there, be supportive". That same advice was given to me about a different kind of problem with my daughter. You don't have to agree with what she wants to do, just be there when she needs you. Also, I think that it's ok for you to tell her your reasons for why you are worried about her contacting her birth father. She should know how you feel.
My daughters both told me (later in life) that they were glad that I at least tried to do something to help them even if they didn't want to listen at the time. I hope that I'm making sense, I'm trying to condense alot of emotional stuff into a few sentences (a Linda Sharp I am not).
Bottom line, unless there is some kind of safety issue here, let your daughter be the decision maker in this matter.

I agree with Linda. Be there for her and provide support. This is indeed a part of the individuation process.

I have a nephew who is 15 and has had no contact with his father. My sister is married and DGMS on how her husband does not acknowledge him. He is running for office as a prosecutor and his website info state: married 9 years (no, incorrect...they were married in 2002 - 8 yrs ago) and they have TWO boys (8 and 5 - most likely why he says he has been married 9 years since the 8 yr old was conceived prior to the wedding...the horror! - and of course he does NOT mention his 15 year old step-son). My sister told me she didn't want to talk about it when I inquired as to why her oldest was not mentioned. Pisses me off.

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