Mixed Feelings

mom2emallSeptember 27, 2009

So this is a stepfamily topic....just not involving me directly. Its about my sister.

She recently had a baby and the biofather was not there for her entire pregnancy. He kept saying he did not want to be a dad yet. Meanwhile she started dating a friend of hers and now they are engaged. He was the one going with my sister to all her dr's appts. He was the one who helped set up the nursery. He was the one who did the baby book stuff and was there for the birth. He signed his name on the birth certificate. He really stepped into the father role and I think that is great.

Now the biodad says he wants to be dad. He wants to have a part in his childs life (the baby is only a week old). My sister is atimate about her fiance being daddy.

I told her that the child can have 2 daddys and that she should not deny the biodad the chance to be a father because someday her child may hate her for that. She says that it will hurt her fiance's feelings because he is the one who was there the whole pregnancy. I told her that she was not with the biodad when she got pregnant (more of a fling). So anyways she couldn't expect much during her pregnancy, but now that the baby is here it is different. He can be a father to his child without being with her.

She is pretty much saying that the biodad can be a part of the child's life but that her fiancee is daddy. I am so mixed here. I understand her resentment when the guy was saying he did not want to be a dad. But I also feel that now that the child is here if he is willing to step up she should give him the chance to.

What do you all think???

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I think she needs a lawyer.

The guy can't be trusted, can't be relied on, but...

Bio-parents have rights, whether they deserve them or not.
But they also have obligations;
child support is one that comes to mind.

"Dad" may change his mind about being a father once he realizes that it'll cost him.

Then, if fiance wants to protect his fatherly relationship to this tiny person, he can humbly ask bio-dad to let him adopt.

I wish them all, but especially the little one, the best.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Your sister does not get much choice here. She can either let bio-dad in or bio-dad can go to court, prove DNA and claim his rights.

Unreal to me that sis let this 2nd gentleman sign the birth record. I mean, I understand that he has been there the whole time, they are getting married, ect, but it does not change the facts that the guy is not the child's father and as not married at the time of birth does not give the guy rights through the law either.

It's great he wants to be 'daddy', and I hope he makes a great one , but 'father' he is not and if bio-dad wants in sis is wrong in trying to lock him out and bio-dad has every right to go now and prove his rights--better now than a few years from now. Bio-dad would not be the first bio-dad who does not face fatherhood until the child is actually born--yeah, a fact that is hard for all moms to understand cause to most moms the baby is 'real' right from the beginning of the pregnacy.

Is there a reason other than bio-dad was not around or shown interest until now that sis does not want the man in her child's life (abuse? drugs?)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 4:08PM
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I think my sister is afraid that he will be interested in his child for a while and then just disappear. But I told her that letting her fiance sign the birth certificate was kind of wierd since they were not married yet and knew he was not the bio dad. I think she wants to just live as if her fiance is the dad and wipe the other guy out of the picture.

Maybe its because he was not there for her during her pregnancy. Maybe its because he said he was not ready to be a father and changed his mind after the baby came.

Either way I just fear that she is making a mistake by insisting that he should not be daddy and her fiance should.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 11:16PM
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she IS worried that he will just disappear again and she IS making a mistake imagining that he isnt the daddy... from my own experiance anyways. I can remember when I was in her shoes... (not exactly because I didnt have a new dad lined up but) I can remember thinking when dd's dad stepped back into the picture when she was two months old declaring he wanted to be dad... "What is he thinking... I go through all of this alone and now he wants to step up and I am just supposed to be all hunky dory about it. Where was he when the southern baptist convention was scolding me for being an unwed mother (I worked at a hotel at the time) Where was he while I went to doctors appt after doctors appt.. Where was he while I was bursting into tears in the baby aisle so overwhelmed with what I was about to face...Where was he while I was losing friends and rehauling my life to be suitable for a child (after all at the time I was 19 and living with a few roomates and that just wouldnt do for a new baby) Where was he when I was in labor for more than 48 hours... I wanted to tell him to go to hell. He couldnt be there then ... he might as well not be there now. But, the reality was that he was her father and I really couldnt deny him that right... however I did not have to make it easy for him

I made that boy jump through so many hoops it was ridiculous... from not allowing him to take dd alone for nearly a year to making him have "daddy classes" with my mom on how to bathe feed clean and just all around take care of her. I never once made it easy for him... perhaps out of spite... but in the long run (for the time) it made me realize that if he was willing to go through all of that ... he really did love that little girl and wanted the best for her. So, we came to terms with our own relationship as parents...

Something that helped me ... I dont know... feel more in control... more indepedent.. and I know is a topic for debate on this forum... but I wouldnt take money from him. I told him from the start you disappeared so I set myself up to handle my own for my dd and my life. But, if you really want to be a dad and you really want to support your daughter here are the things she needs... diapers formula clothes shoes etc etc. Dont show up here thinking it is play time with no responsibility. That is not being a dad.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 2:13AM
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Mom of 4 said "But, the reality was that he was her father and I really couldnt deny him that right... however I did not have to make it easy for him"

I TOTALLY agree with her entire post. My sister went through something similar, but the dad has never come back and wanted to be dad.

Your sister doesn't have to "let" him be dad. She should make him prove it to a court since he's the one that just ran off. I agree with Mom of 4 about the parenting classes and such. If he really does want to be a part of the baby's life, he'll jump through the hoops.

In the process, the birth certificate will get changed. Fiance will still be in the child's life...and can still even be a dad to the child; just not the only one.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 12:11PM
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" I think she wants to just live as if her fiance is the dad and wipe the other guy out of the picture. "

Probably. Who wouldn't? Life would be so much simpler if Sis could just ride off into the sunset with fiance and live happily ever after...

IMO, some good perspectives from the other posters, and much to consider -- ethics, logistics, legal issues. But Sylvia's advice - to get a lawyer - is essential no matter what else she decides to do. I mean what would happen:

- If fiance doesn't turn out to be all wonderful and the marriage doesn't actually happen? What would his legal responsibilities be? (if any) Then Baby would have NO Daddy instead of two. Lots of complicating factors in that set of circumstances.

- If they do marry, but then divorce. Sis's personal circumstances would challenge any marriage. Would that change fiance's legal responsibilities? What about his rights? Would Sis even want him around as another co-parent if things don't work out?

- What if BioDad decides to pursue his legal rights in court? Does Sis want to get dragged through all of that? And what are her chances of "winning" - however she defines it?

- If BioDad gets a choice - pay child support or give up rights? (Assuming fiance wants to adopt.)

- If she decided to give BioDad a probationary period like Mom_of_4? Baby is so little now that she's unlikely to even remember BioDad if he disappears fairly quickly.

Also, Sis's age, emotional maturity and financial independence also are important considerations. Can she really afford to not get child support? Can she afford good daycare or to stay home and not work? Will fiance happily take on 'another man's child'? Forever?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 1:17PM
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You all have good points that I really agree with. My problem is my sister is stubborn and not really thinking clearly. Everything is all sunshine and rainbows with fiance now, but I am worried about what will happen months from now when fiance realizes the responsibility he has taken on for anothe man's child.

She wants her baby to call her fiance dad when the baby is old enough to talk. Biodad also wants baby to call him dad. I told her that it will be a year before the baby really understands the word and she can tell biodad he has that long to prove himself and be active in his childs life.

But my sister has this mindset that since he was not around during the pregnancy he lost all rights. I keep trying to tell her that they were not dating when she got pregnant so really he was not neglecting his child by not being at her side. What he does now that the baby is here is what really shows what kind of father he is.

I also told her that her child may hate her someday if she cuts biodad out. She thinks her child will never find out that fiance is not the childs biodad. I told her that secrets like that are never kept forever.

And I have pointed out to my sister and her fiance what could happen to the child if they split.

I am at a loss. I don't want my sister to avoid me if I press this issue. But in my heart I feel that cutting biodad out is wrong because he has not had the chance to prove what kind of father he is.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 2:09PM
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" in my heart I feel that cutting biodad out is wrong because he has not had the chance to prove what kind of father he is."

Well, here's the thing--your sister cannot cut him out if he doesn't want to be! He has rights (and responsbilities) and if he chooses to pursue his options legally, there is not much your sister can do to stand in his way.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 2:27PM
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This poor baby needs all the help he/she (sorry, can't remember if you said which) can get;

The baby is the result of a "fling", so both mother & father may be rash or reckless or irresponsible.

The father ignored/protested/denied the situation until there was an adorable baby actually here in this world, maybe a sort of a breathing flash card to give him his cue, maybe an "Aww!"-producing little item like a puppy in the window of a pet store, so father also decides whether to deal with reality according to how he feels.

Mom finds a new partner *while she's pregnant* & decrees that he is to be the daddy, so mom also ignores reality, as well as other people's rights, when it suits her, & she may be a person who uses other people for whatever she needs at the time.

New partner is a cipher;
I'm older than everyone here, so you can call me jaded or cynical, but men just don't act this way.

I hardly ever hear of a man who'll date a woman who has children, let alone a pregnant woman, & for him to agree to have his name on the birth certificate is just unbelieveable.

Does he not realize (yet) that a father has to be responsible regardless of how his relationship with a mother works out?

Has he not had the suspicion (yet) that he's being used?

If not (yet), get ready;
eventually it'll occur to him, & he'll be very angry & resentful indeed.

When you add all these ingredients together, I wonder if the three of them have a brain to share.

which would mean the baby doesn't have one smart, rational, reasonable, responsible parent.

so mom, maybe you can be an extra-compassionate, extra-attentive, extra-caring aunt.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 4:46PM
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I think it's a really hard call on what the biodad should've done. I've seen legal advice given where they aren't supposed to do *anything* until they've been deemed the legal father. And while your sister may absolutely know who the father is, he might be leery. Especially so when there is a new father so quickly.

Also, much of what he could do while she was pregnant is limited to what the Mother says. He is under her thumb and may not want to be.

The real problem I see is Fiance signing the birth certificate, not only is it not true, but the mess it would cause legally would just be a nightmare. I can't imagine the thought process behind that.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 5:49PM
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woke up in the middle of the night with the thought that maybe I've got the fiance part of it backwards;
sometimes when a guy seems to be the answer to all your prayers & the solution to all your problems & a knight on a white horse...it's because that's what he wants you to think so he can get control of you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 2:18PM
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"I think it's a really hard call on what the biodad should've done. I've seen legal advice given where they aren't supposed to do *anything* until they've been deemed the legal father. And while your sister may absolutely know who the father is, he might be leery. Especially so when there is a new father so quickly"

This is a very good point .My DH was advised by his lawyer not to do ANYTHING no money, nothing until DNA tests proved he was the daddy. This might sound like a deadbeat action, but seriously, my hubby is the the best father I know, he raised that same little girl in question at 19 years old when she was an infant till now...so i guess my point is, just because a guy may not "be there" during the pregnancy doesn't make him a bad daddy, he may have his reasons, I would find it odd if a girl was pregnant, having another guy go to all prenatal visits, yet I was supposedly the father? I would seriously begin to doubt my paternity to the child.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 5:17PM
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from the original post:

"He kept saying he did not want to be a dad yet."

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 5:36PM
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"from the original post:
"He kept saying he did not want to be a dad yet." "

Many young people have that same feeling, I have heard many young women say this as well while pregnant. It is sometimes only after the child is born, that they see,feel,hold the baby that a connection is made, and the choice to parent is decided. I get it he freaked....

I wonder how pregnant she was when she hooked up with the new guy? It is hard to imagine a guy starting to date a 5-9 month pregnant girl...I suppose it does happen though.

This kid is here now, needs a mama and a daddy and an extra daddy if fiance is interested bottom line.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 8:00PM
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I had a similar situation with my first child - during the first trimester of pregnancy, biodad decided that he wasn't ready to be a father (we were both in our 20s). He left me, and I continued alone. By the 3rd trimester, I had begun a new relationship with an older colleague with whom I'd been a business acquaintance for quite some time. He obviously accepted me (pregnant though I was), and he insisted that he was committed to raising my son as his own. Either way, although my new beau was my lamaze coach & assisted in the birth, I did not attempt to put his name on the birth certificate (he was NOT the child's father) - as a matter of fact, no father's name was put on the birth certificate (because in this state, the father must be present & sign the certificate). Needless to say, everything was bubble gum & rainbows at that point, but within 2 years (my son was probably 1 and 1/2), my new fiance simply disappeared (didn't come home from work one evening). I never pursued the situation with him any further, and I never got any answers (what difference did it make, really), but what I did get was STRONGER, self-reliant and more personally committed to RESPONSIBLY navigating not only my life, but the life of my son. Eventually, when my son was 3, biodad came to terms with the responsibilities of being a father and a husband, and our family was reunited. We were married for 10 years and had two additional children. Ultimately, our marriage did not last, however, we still respectfully, responsibly and lovingly co-parent our children, and years later, God has blessed me with the husband (and 2 stepchildren) He intended for my life.

It is my belief that if you muddy the waters & create untruths, it is ultimately the child that will be hurt. Whether mom likes it or not, the child is entitled to know his true ancestry, and it isn't right to base his identity on untruths. He will undoubtedly resent you for it - the truth always comes into the light.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2009 at 8:53AM
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