WHO is my father?
This question had haunted Monica, now in her 60s, for decades. Monica did not know her biological father's true identity until she reached adulthood, as no father was entered on her birth records, and she was given her mother's surname.
“It was infuriating not knowing who my father was. Every child should know, no matter who he is or what he is. It had an adverse effect on me during childhood, and this followed me straight into adulthood. Girls who don't know their fathers are sometimes promiscuous and have poor taste in men,” she declared.
She said she suffered from depression and anger as a child, but her mother never once spoke about her father, not even when she asked. This infuriated her even more.
It was not until after she cornered a family member as an adult, and demanded to know her father's identity, that she finally had a name.
“When I found out I didn't even know whether to laugh or cry,” she said, explaining that the man named as her father was someone she knew while growing up.
Richard, 30, met his biological father at 18 years old, after thinking another man was his father his entire life.
It was while registering for external exams in high school that he looked at his birth certificate, realised that there was no father named, and questioned his mother.
She told him the story of how his real father, a married man, had denied paternity after impregnating her at 17, and she “gave” him to another man.
“This man wasn't even involved in my life either,” he said, explaining that even while he had the man's last name, the man wasn't listed as father on his birth certificate.
He said he was able to contact relatives of his father in Jamaica, who contacted him where he was living overseas. The father demanded a DNA test.
“We arranged for it and he came to Jamaica, but once he saw me he said there was no need for a test — we are the spitting image of each other,” Richard said.
Today, he said he and his father are trying to build a relationship, and they visit each other, with the support and encouragement of his mother. His father's name has been added to his birth certificate, and his previous name used as a middle name.
“I wish I had known him during the important years of my life, but I will take what I can get now,” Richard said.
“He was there for my wedding and is involved as a grandfather, so I guess he is trying to make up for time lost.”