Mom won't allow dad access to son

All Woman

Dear Counsellor,

I was in a relationship for five years. We eventually separated and I went overseas but we still communicated, and I helped her out financially. We soon had a brief relationship again, but we decided to end the relationship because she did not want her parents to find out that we were seeing each other again because things had ended on a bad note. About a month later I found out that she was pregnant, but she did not tell me it was mine until I asked her if she was pregnant. She did not tell her mother and elder siblings who the father was. I've been taking care of her and the baby up until this day.

Her mother always asks who the father is and she will lie to her that she was involved with a guy from overseas and he left. I have given the child everything because the mother was not working. I was at the hospital when he was born, and I signed the birth paper and did everything.

We had discussions a few weeks back where I told her that she needs to let her family know because I hate that I can't see my son as I would like to. I see him about once per month and I have to hide. I can't get access for a full day, because she doesn't want them to know.

Now she has stopped me from seeing him altogether. I have made countless efforts to see my son, but she makes excuses and won't let me have him. I have talked to her about the fact that I need to be in my son's life and that I want to be there for him in every way. The last time we had the discussion she said he's not my son and that I must forget about him and leave them alone. But I still send her money weekly and call to check in on him. I went as far as talking out health insurance for him and putting certain things in his name because I will be migrating soon.

I went to my lawyer seeking advice and he said that I can use the Family Court system. The lawyer said he would write her a letter asking for co-parenting and if she doesn't comply, then he will take the next step to court. What can I do?

This is indeed an unfortunate situation not only because you can't have open access to your son, but because a child is caught in the selfish interplay between two mature people. It is always sad when an innocent child is drawn into parental squabbles.

You did not indicate what happened why you both got separated after five years, to the extent that the lady's parents were not in support of the reunion. How grave was the situation? In the absence of such information it's difficult to say whether her parents were reasonable in their stance. Was there any form of abuse?

Nevertheless, you both secretly reconnected and the result was pregnancy and ultimately the birth of a child. The challenge she had was to shield you and so lied to her family regarding the identity of the father of the child.

But how long can this charade go on? If the child is indeed yours she can't continue to hide the truth from her parents and worse of all deny you access to your child. She just needs to face the wrath of her parents who will eventually come around. Such is the unifying influence the birth of a child brings to a family.

Whatever you may have done in the past, I hope you can make things right with her parents so that she can feel comfortable with you and them in the same room. If, however, the parents refuse to extend the olive branch, you need to play your role as a responsible and caring father. This would surely impress them and may even move them to rethink their stance.

It appears though that the child's mother would want to appease her parents and lock you out of the child's life. This would be callous and unwarranted, and to even suggest that you should forget about the child and leave him alone is difficult to comprehend especially at a time when some deadbeat fathers do just that — neglect their responsibilities.

I really hope that good sense will prevail and she will do what is in the best interest of the child. Now is not the time for either parent to be selfish and take out their frustration where the child will be affected. If you are given little or no time to bond with the child, he will see you as a stranger and all the cash and material things you provide won't compensate for the psychological and emotional attachment the child will need from both parents.

Going the legal route should be the very last option, but if this is the only way to get access to your child then do what you must. You may also want to consider doing a DNA test just to confirm the child is in fact yours.

All the best.

Wayne Powell is a relationship counsellor. Write to agapemft@gmail.com or powellw@seekingshalom.org. Check out his work on www.seekingshalom.org and his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MFTCounselor/.

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