Posted by: Brad11 | 2008/05/29

My son

Hi All,

I would like people's opinions and comments. You can be brutal if you feel that I need it.

I am not sure what to make of this. Maybe I need a good reality smack and to get on with Life or maybe there is something to think about. What should I do ?

A very long story made very short.

My father walked out on my Mom and my sister and myself, when I was 2 years old. My single Mom raised my sister and myself by herself. Not easy and not much money. Times were really hard for us but we coped.

Bt the grace of God, I was awarded a bursary by a large company to study at university. After university (I was 23 years old) I worked for a large corporate company and was based in one of the area offices in a smallish town. I met a girl (lets call her C) she fell pregnant in the first month of our relationship. I know, I know.............

Things turned ugly, her ex-boyfriend was still around (still a vague issue), her family got involved. I care for C and I did love her at one time and my love for my son. It was a very impressionable time of both our lives. A lot happened. A lot of really nasty things but also some really good things.

I moved back to a Durban and C moved onto her family at another small town. We tried on and off to make things work. I traveled to them every month from Durban. I flew C and my son down to myself in Durban. Things were fine and I was trying to get C and my son to come and stay with me. I tried but C kept on holding off. Either she was trying to make sure that we could work or she was playing games.

We go to the maintenance court, I pay maintenance, medical aid and an education policy for my son. Amicable decision. I am comfortable with paying as I love my son. I increase the annual amount out of my free will.

Next another guy appears on the scene and works at the same company as C. C played games. I still tried to make things work, but by now I was not trying as hard. I move up to Joburg now and to join head office. I am still trying in the first 3-6 months of arriving in Joburg and visit.

C then telephones myself one-day to tell me she realises now what she had done, was going to ger rid of the other guy and start her life over. The guy was an alcoholic and I am told not good. I have never personally met the guy so it will be unfair to comment. But I have heard not good stories about the guy.

3 weeks later C telephones to me that she was pregnant with the other guys child. A real mess up. We drift apart. C gets married and our communication is minimal. They struggle for money. Yet through all of this we still keep in contact via SMS every few months.

C then falls pregnant again (another girl). C falls pregnant for the third time (now 3 guys). This time also a girl. They have my son and 3 girls. I think God was sending a message. They clearly tried for a boy but made lots of girls in the process........

I suspect the second child (their first child) was unplanned and a shock to C. She did what she did to survive and married the guy and made it work. Having 2 kids from 2 different guys is not easy. She has told myself that she wears the pants in the house and is in control. Now with me I am the stronger one.

About 3 years ago, I received a SMS late at night, from C's fathers girlfriend, telling me that things are really bad in the house and I need to fetch my son now. I was devastated. I could easily go there beat the guy up and fetch my son. But I would have the SAPS all over myself and most probably be locked up.

I tried the high court approach of seeking access. Lawyer and advocate idiots. C played games and made all sorts of accusations about how I hurt my son. I eventually gave up after spending R20 000 and we still had not even gone to court. The legal system does not favour the father. I also received anonymous letters threatening myself to stay away. I gave up. I was not happy but chose my sanity over continuously emotional nonsense.

Through all of this C, still every few months, contacts myself either for more money (I refuse) or to tell me about my son.

My son is now 9 years old and I have missed out on the previous 6 years. I was sort of around for the first 2-3 years.

Lately C sent myself 4 SMS's telling myself about my son. I am suspicious. Not sure what is going on. C says that she is doing the right thing. Both C and her husband have low level jobs and are clearly financially struggling with 4 kids.

The last couple of nights I have had really strong dreams about my son. It is as if there is a blood connection. My son looks so much like me. In fact, he looks more me than I did at my age. I pay monthly maintenance (a fair amount, but the C wants more) and send him birthday cards and money for his birtyhdays. C sends myself photo's of my sone every few months. I try to keep in contact and not easy.

I am now 34 years old, established in my career. I am still single have had serious long term relationships, but things just did not work. I am happy been single and have friends. Life is hard, but good as it is what you make of it.

What do I do ? Do I turn my back on my son to protect myself from emotional strain, but I promised myself to never do this, as my father had done to myself ? Do I carry on keeping my side clean and just being in the side-lines, for in case one day something happens ? My fear is that I am not around one day when my son needs help and there is nobody else.

Life is a wheel and it turns and maybe in 5, 8 or 10 years time, my son will really need me around. Or is this just nonsense based on my own past with my Father ? My other fear is that my son never wants to see as C and her family have brain washed him against me. I am not sure what they actually say.

I am not sure what to make of all of this.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

That's not really VERY short, Brad, but understandably thorough ! Apparently C urgently needs some lessons in basic biology and contraception. Anyone can make a mistake, but to make the same mistake repeatedly suggests something more is at work. Apparently, her main reason for contacting you is for the money --- and while your love for your own son is commendable, there's no reason for you to support her children by other men. I hope you can feel confident that your money is actually being spent on your son. <br>Sounds like you didn't have good legal help in the custody case --- I thought recent law changes gave more weight to the needs of a father. Have CHild Welfare done a proper assessment of her household and the safety and well-being of the children ? If not, they should be urged to do so. And why is the maintenance still a voluntary thing ? If you went to the Maintenance COurt, they could also establish your absolute right to have your boy visit you and spend time with you, and ensure proper access. They must focus on the boy's best interests, and not on what his mother might want for herself. And as Mary says, the Family Advicate, also supposed to represent the kids interest, may be able to help without excess expense on your side ( money better spent on the boy than on lawyers ). <br>You have behaved honourably, and remaining at least available to your boy when he may need you, is a good decision.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Brad11 | 2008/05/30

Thank you all for the varied responses and comments.

I think Vixen understands what we are going through as they have a similar problem. My ex girlfriends good friend's brother.......also went through what I did. In order to save himself from all the heartache and pain, he had his daughter adopted and carried on with his life. Yes he had access, but they just messed him around and eventually he had to save himself.

Thank God that my son has not been physically harmed so far, but what about the emotional up-bring and the role models that he is been exposed to.

The child advocate office and social services are not as efficient and effective, as person may think. Some people may disagree and have maybe had more positive experiences. The high court approach is very expensive and even with a high court order in place, the mother can still play games with access and stop it.

My own experience and hearing stories from other people, makes one really re-consider this approach.

The really difficult part is that despite all what has happened (all the heartache, the pain, emotional drain and nastiness), I still have to retain my integrity, fairness and professionalism.....I still need to be true to myself and my own values. Not too hate is not an easy thing to do, after all that has happened. It is a highly unfair situation and hating just eats away at your own soul and damages your other relationships with people.

The "wheel of life" has turned. For C to have a son from one man and another 3 girls from another man (they clearly tried for a boy !)......must be a complex situation to handle. This is one for the statistical minded people to figure out.

Financially, they may be just coping or even struggling and as the kids grow up and move to high school, the financial costs just escalate. Then there are the dynamics of trying for a son and ending up with 3 girls. Will the other man still be so good to my son as my son grows up and is clearly not his and more like me ? Maybe and maybe not.

I am sure that C is doing what she has to do in order to survive and for their marriage to work. It is really sad as a better woman should still allow her child's father around. But people do strange and illogical things when they are "in danger" and need to "survive". Bit the passage of time carries on. My son is now 9 and in 9 years time he turns 18.

I hardly never speak about this as the story is very long and too negative. When you tell people about it, they also become negative and depressed about life. How can a mother do this ? How can God allow this to happen ?

My situation is not nearly as bad as those where the father knows that his son/daughter is been emotionally and/or physically abused. I have no idea how these guys stay sane and carry on with life.

It still hurts me a lot. But I have moved on with my life and am happy. I still obviously think about my son a lot and he will always have a place in my heart. I do wonder where he is and if he is alright. It is the not knowing that is so hard to handle.

What I am going to do is to still keep sending my son Birthday and Christmas cards to him every year. I also provide birthday money, not a lot, but enough to make a difference. Trying to telephone him is not really an option. I will try e-mail but they will limit my access to him.

Apart from that I can not do much else, but hope and pray and put the problem in God's hands.

Reply to Brad11
Posted by: j | 2008/05/29

there is no gentle way to ask > Did you do paternity test , are you 100% sure the you are the father of this child.

Reply to j
Posted by: Mary | 2008/05/29

You need to contact the Family Advocate urgently, especially if you think your son is in danger either physically or mentally.
Don't give up, your son needs you. Even if they have brain washed him and he rejects you now, eventually he will realise that they have been lying to him and that you never gave up, that you love him and want him.
We have been through a similar situation and went to the Family Advocate, we now have custody of my husbands daughter. She was a problem child to begin with but with patience and love she is now settled and happy.
DONT GIVE UP even when it looks hopeless, stay in touch with your son and let him know you care.

Reply to Mary
Posted by: almost mad | 2008/05/29

call social services to investigate the household where ur son is being raised. this will cost you nothing. ask C to let you call your son when you want to. C sounds like a mean and minipulative person who doesnt deserve you. At least if you call every week he is less likely to resent you. and when he is a bit older u should give him the choice to come stay with you. you should never give up on trying to connect with your son. but dont let her back into your life. she will ruin you.goodluck and stay strong.

Reply to almost mad

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