Hello, I just joined this forum...I could really use some advice on this asap! I don't know what to do or how to go about it.
Quick context: when my daughter was 4 weeks old, I found out her Father was into serious drugs regularly ( the hardcore stuff) ..cheated on me the entire time I was pregnant...basically living another life behind my back, and wasn't the person he had been pretending to be. I moved out (10 minutes away) thinking he would get his act together and contact us shortly after. Who wouldn't want to see their baby? Years went by. No contact from him whatsoever.
I never filed for child support, we've lived in almost poverty all these years on just my minimal income. My Parents had advised me not to file for support because with that, would come visitation. And If he was still using drugs, obviously not the person/lifestyle for a child to be around.
15 1/2 years went by.
Not a single phone call, no birthday cards, no contact of any kind. Every year I thought of him. 'how is it possible someone doesn't want to see or even know anything about their own child' 'how is it possible to absolutely not care'.
I never met the 'right guy', thus my daughter has never had a Dad. I suddenly started feeling that I should try to contact him, see if he wanted to develop a relationship with her... and after 15 1/2 years in 2020, I tracked him down (he had moved 5 hours away) and contacted him. Not to point fingers or even ask why. I wanted to 'welcome' him, nudge him...to be a part of her life if he was no longer using drugs and if he wanted to. I just wanted to know moving forward, if he wanted to meet his daughter and develop a relationship with her. We spoke twice over the next few weeks and texted a few times. He said he no longer did drugs. Obviously, I didn't know if that was true or not.
Over the next 4 months, I kept asking if he wanted to meet her, to get involved. His answer was always the same . 'Yes absolutely', yet over those 4 months, he never even asked anything about her. Literally the only thing he asked about her in 4 months was 'is she gorgeous'. And I was always the one messaging him, not the other way around. Each time, I only asked one thing. The same thing. 'do you want to have a relationship with your child? what are your plans? how can we make this happen?' He took no action, no plans were made to get to know her, meet her... he didn't even talk about making plans down the road. The old adage ' actions, not words'...
I also contacted his mother around the same time to get her two cents and see if that would help nudge him to get involved. I had met her once when my daughter was born. Very kind person, excited about having a grandchild.
I was very surprised to hear that after all these years, she was in complete denial that her son wanted nothing to do with his daughter. She even blamed ME for him choosing not to be a part of her life. She said that I 'wouldn't let him' see her for the last 15 years.How can a Mother not let the Father see their child, when the Father never attempted to see the child or even make contact of any kind?
I couldn't believe the absurdity. I told her quite the opposite was true. I always wanted him to come in and be Dad, be a part of her life. You don't need an invitation to contact your own child. I reminded her that even if what she was saying were true, and I never wanted him to be involved, legally I wouldn't have been able to keep him away if i wanted to. She was in complete denial about the truth even 15 years later.
I have spoken with my daughter now 17, about him 2 or 3 times keeping everything vague. I did not tell her about the drug usage..not wanting to paint a negative image in her mind about her Father who shes never even met. I simply told her he and I had both decided it would be best that I raise her with help from her Grandparents (my Parents). They have both been very involved throughout her life, my Father stepping in so to speak, being the male/father figure in her life.
She has never brought the subject of her 'Father' up, never asked about him, which I find odd/unnatural. I feel I haven't discussed the topic with her enough. She has to think about him. What he's like, what he looks like, if she looks like him...All these years, wondering why he's out there and has never made contact with her. She has probably thought about it her entire life, but has kept it all in. There is no way, this has not caused her pain. I should have taken action sooner. A long time ago. I should have tried to find out if he was still using drugs and if not, tried to get him to step in and be her Father. I also should have made it a point to get out there on the dating scene, marry a good, stable man who would be a step Dad for her instead of being selfish, not ready to marry, and never really trying to meet anyone.
Last year, after being in contact with him for 4 months, I got a call. He passed away. They did not know why yet as it had just happened. My guess is drugs. Heavy usage over the years would do it for a 40 year old. But that's just a guess.
Sorry, this is longer than I thought. Anyway, to any Parents with some insight/wisdom, I would really appreciate some advice. My questions are:
- I feel like I need to discuss him with her. What do I say? I don't even know where to start.
- Do I tell her about the kind of person he turned out to be..his lifestyle..the drugs etc..or paint a positive picture of who he was instead?
- What do I say when she asks 'why has he never made contact with me'?
- Do I tell her he died or wait on that part?
-If I tell her he died, should I say he passed away a long time ago so she will think that that is the reason he never contacted her vs (the truth) :he never wanted anything to do with her, could have made contact at any time the last decade and a half and just recently died? B/C that is how she will make sense of it in her mind, as anyone would.
-The other Grandmother( his Mum), that blames me, wants to be a part of her life. My daughter has not met her. Should I initiate a relationship between them? Tell my daughter about her? My only hesitation is: how would that make her feel after finding out her Father who she never even got to meet, just died and now instead of being able to meet him, she's meeting his Mother.
Thank you for reading my 'essay' and any advise is appreciated.
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