Wow! What a day I’ve had. I’m home sick today and had just woken up and decided to check my Facebook. I browsed for a bit and then decided to check my daughter’s Facebook, as I haven’t done that in a while and we’re still in that learning/trust building stage of early teenage-hood. I usually check it typically once a month or every other month, depending on what I find. I don’t read everything, but I look for anything that might not be appropriate for her. Overall, she’s genuinely a good kid, so I want to be aware if she falls down paths she might not be ready or prepared for.
Today, I discovered that she found her biological father and has been talking to him for just short of 2 months. I have such mixed feelings about the whole thing, I suppose it’s what brought me to my blog to write about it.
On one hand, we spent over 50,000 thousand dollars and roughly 7 years in and out of courts to get to where we are.. or were. Her bio dad signed his rights away years ago when my ex wasn’t my ex, he adopted her. The birth certificate no longer even says her bio dad’s name. (To note, that’s always somehow bothered me. As proud as I was for her to be adopted by a man who adored her, who wanted to be in her life and would do what it took to see her be safe, happy and successful, it always bothered me that the policy was then to change that on the birth certificate. He wasn’t there. Biologically speaking – she’s not his.) By all rights, for everything he’s done in her life, my ex IS her father. They both love each other very, very much. Her Bio dad doesn’t know her, hasn’t seen her and from how it looked, from our perspective, gave her up for less than respectable reasons.
BUT… Everything my daughter knows, is my perspective. And even then, she knows pieces and parts. She asked me a few years back to read one of my journals from back then. I wrestled with it quite a lot. There was a lot of mature content in there. But I knew why she wanted to read it. She wanted to know a little bit about him. And she could gain some perspective from it. I warned her, I told her how I only tend to write when I’m upset. So it is filled with pain and torture – as in what I was going through emotionally. And I told her that I would rather sit with her while she read it so she could ask me questions or talk through anything she was curious about.
It used to be, that I had a lot of hate and fear of her bio dad. I was angry at him for a lot of things. When he disappeared the first time, I was just happy he was gone and out of our lives. 6 years later, he got in a relationship with a woman who was also a mom and he re-appeared demanding a reunion. I remember being so angry that he could just come back in and demand that. He hadn’t been there for the nightmares, the fevers or scary colds when you spend all night worrying over your child. He wasn’t there for the potty training, the first words, the first sidewalk chalk monster drawing, the first day of school or the first broken friendship. How dare he come in now and demand that I not only share, but do it across 2 states? I fought it for a bit, and then the courts ok’d it. I would retain full custody, but they’d allow him visitation for the longer school holidays and if I remember correctly, winter break. They’d drive across a few passes and I’d have to give up a favorite holiday with my child. It sucked. And there was always an issue here, or an issue there. It was a pain, but we were doing it. The courts asked him to pay only a small amount for child support. But half of other bills. I remember what it was that “put him over the top” and started the path of him signing over his rights to the ex. It was his $75 child support, on top of a bill I’d sent him for his half of a dentist bill and an eye glasses bill. He was bitching and saying he didn’t have it, and I randomly threw out the “then sign over her rights and you’ll never have to pay for her again!” comment. The next day, the process started. It took a while too. We had to go through interviews and a process to make the state confident that we were efficient, strong, loving team for the children. I haven’t thought about her bio dad in years. I don’t like to. That relationship helped me learn a lot of valuable life lessons. That relationship shaped who I became in a lot of ways. I’m not angry with him, I’m not upset at all anymore. How can I be when I don’t know him? He’s out of my life now.
What I DO have however, is fear. I’m afraid. I’m afraid that based on what I read from my daughter’s messaging, that she’s unintentionally given him ammunition, if he wanted to, to come back and stir things up. I don’t want to have to hire my lawyer again, drag up the past. There was a lot of bullshit. And honestly, I don’t want to dredge it up. I made mistakes too, I’m certainly not saying that.
I always told my daughter, that if, later down the road, she wanted to contact him and get to know him, that I wouldn’t stop it. That I’d encourage her, but to do it safely. I always asked for her to hold off until she was at the very least, 16. Dang it girl! You’re 3 years EARLY on this shit! 🙂
I panicked. I cried. She’s been talking to him a lot. Every single day in some cases. She’s shared with him what she read in my journal from years ago. I feel betrayed. I was clear when I shared it with her the first time, it’s my perspective, and it’s private. She shared about our life, how the ex and I split, she shared … so much. I’ve gone through a huge swing of emotions today… and where I’m at now… is an odd place.
I’ve recently been getting to know my own bio father. And every time that I get to spend a chunk of time with him, I find myself wanting more because it’s been so interesting to really get to know him. As an adult – I can open up and relate to him in ways I never could as a child or even teenager. And the more I experience this, the more I want that for my child should she ever get the chance. I just think I’d hoped that day would come after she was no longer living under my roof. At a time when it would be no longer possible for him to have courts get involved and potentially “steal” her away from me.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say to her when she walks in the doors after school. I’m replaying everything in my head, all the choices I’ve made, all the things she talked to him about. Just trying to figure out which way to navigate now. It’s hard to know which way to go when you suddenly find you’re regretting some of the choices you’ve made to get you where you are.