Advice for my DP, finding his daughter?(34 Posts)
I've NC'd for confidentiality, but this is the first thread I've started, please be gentle
DP & I have been together 13 years, 2 kids, mortgage, very happy.
When he was at uni he had a girlfriend who got pregnant. He found out she'd been cheating on him throughout the whole of their relationship. The relationship ended badly and she went away, made it clear she wanted nothing more to do do with him, and cut off all contact. He then found out later through the local towns grapevine that she'd had a girl and found out her name. The rumours also told him she'd given the baby away (possibly to a relative - not formal adoption) to bring up.
He was up front and open about all of this with me when we got together (in fact he blurted it all out on our first date!). He's always wondered if he's got a daughter out there somewhere - when the relationship broke down his ex girlfriend had told him that the baby probably wasn't even his, although he thinks that was said as much as anything to hurt him.
A few years back he found his ex on facebook and made contact, she initially replied to his first message but then when he asked about the child she didn't reply and blocked him.
Now he's found a profile on facebook which he thinks might be his daughter - right name, looks about the right age, profile pic is in nearby city, and I can definitely see a resemblance to both him and the ex-girlfriend in her profile pic. She'd be 17 now.
He doesn't know what to do next, and it's eating him up. I want to help but I don't know how.
Has anyone on here been in a similar position? Are there any organisations out there that could offer advice and support?
Thanks for reading
I have no experience of this kind of thing, so I could be completely wrong and happy to be corrected, but if I were him I think my instinct would be to wait until the girl was 18 then send her a carefully worded message and take it from there. Sort of a "Can I ask if you are the daughter of X? If so then I was a close friend of your Mums 18 years ago but we lost contact ..." and take it from there. Given the difficulties with the girls Mum I wouldn't try to contact her at all until she was legally adult.
thank you whose
Yes, he doesn't intend to contact her at this stage.
I'm sure there are websites where young people and adults looking for estranged birth family can search for potentially matching people if they have registered, but I'm not sure even where to start with putting things into google!
Also I think it's probably going to be important for him to get some expert emotional support through the process, and advice on how the whole family could be supported through any potential changes like this too (ie if it came to it, how do we talk to our two children about their new half sister?!) Sorry I know that sounds like I'm jumping way ahead into the future here but I can't help thinking that this kind of thing needs some proper planning ahead and I'm running all sorts of scenarios through in my head at the moment
Contacting her in FB is really not a good idea even when she turns 18.
To be honest he needs to leave it or contact a solicitor or the adoption team at the social services involved. But if the mother didn't put him on birth certificate then he has no proof the girl is his daughter so social services won't help at all (speaking from experience).
I was the 'daughter' in this situation and I really think you need to think through/talk through what will happen/how you will all feel etc if the daughter says she wants nothing to do with him after how he's behaved.
Thank you mouldy would adoption team in SocServs be able to give advice, as she wasn't adopted?
Thank you for replying does, sounds a bit like you've had a bad experience. The think/talk through thing is exactly what we want to do now, and do it properly with professional help and support - kind of why I was posting on here to see if anyone had experience with particular agencies. Bit at your 'after how he's behaved' comment. Not entirely sure what he should have done differently in the past...
Well he could've found out if she was his daughter 17 years ago... then if she is he could've brought her up, loved her, cared for her, paid maintenance for her.
From her point of view she could think oh he comes in when I'm 18 after all the hard work is done, when he no longer has to pay towards my upbringing, wanting me to just fit in with his other family.
She could feel abandoned, mistrust men, feel let down, feel like he loves his other children more as she stuck around to bring them up, she could have problems with drink/drugs/food/sex/self harm as she is constantly trying to fill a void left by her father who hasn't been there. She could have been bullied as she has no dad. She could feel like he hasn't bothered with her for 18 years so why should she bother with him.
No need for the face. You husband has behaved badly, how would you feel if he had done the same to your children?
She could welcome him with open arms but I'm trying to show you the other side, not all children feel that way and it's hard.
Well, what he should have done differently was track down his daughter when she was born, try to ensure he had access and pay maintenance. Has he been keeping an account for her all these years?
I think the Salvation Army play a role in family reunification, it might be worth talking to them.
Really though, I would assume the first question she would have is why he didn't want anything to do with her. If she was informally adopted, had he really no interest in making sure she was safe and in a loving home? Surely if her mother didn't want her, he should have taken on parental responsibility? If anything happened to you, would you expect him to give up your children?
When you first met, she was what, under five - an age he could well have played a meaningful role in her life. I find it strange you watched him sit by for a decade and do nothing, especially when you then had children together. Do they know about their sister?
Agree with Does. Whether he did all he could or not (and I would argue he probably didn't), there is a chance the potential daughter will have very strong feelings about the lack of a father in her life growing up. You don't know what her life has been like and you don't know what she's been told.
Some harsh comments here OP! I don't know why posters are saying your DP has behaved badly. I don't see that myself. The girl was cheating on him, told him she wanted nothing to do with him and that the baby probably wasn't his. And she has subsequently refused contact with him.
No-one knows what has happened in the interim! Maybe the daughter has had a lovely life with a dad who either was her real life or treated her like one. No blame or shame on your DH.
I too would seek some form of professional advice here. He and you can't and shouldn't deal with this, and tbh I think any approach should come from the daughter.
Why does your DP suddenly want to play dad now, after all these years?
I would leave well alone if I were him. Unless he's prepared to answer, truthfully, some very difficult questions. Because "I always wondered if I'd got a daughter out there somewhere - but never actually did anything about it until a few years ago" sounds pretty pathetic and not much of a meaningful explanation.
The fact she was cheating on him means she was an awful person and he was right not to be in the relationship. That wasn't the babies fault- there are a lot of posters on here who have children with unfaithful and even abusive men, they don't walk away.
It sounds like he thought she said the baby want his just to hurt him. At the least he had a responsibility to find out. But.... he basically abandoned the child, and maybe he was too young to realise she had the right to see him and he could have accessed her through the courts, but he's had many years in between when he's done nothing and not even checked what kind of home life she was having.
Wow. Given that his ex-girlfriend cut him out of her life, refused all contact, told him the baby wasn't his I'm not sure how he could have done any of the stuff you're saying he should have done. I'm sure MN would have been advising his exP to get a restraining order if she had posted on here about her situation! As I mentioned in OP he tried to reach out again to exP again a few years ago and she made it clear she did not want to have contact.
It may sound harsh, but I think the most important thing is he accepts she may hold these views - and I think most people would agree if she did - and prepares himself for that if he does see her.
The worst harm he could cause would be appearing in her life then leaving again because she was angry or acting out and didn't ask how she imagined.
Counselling for him, possibly counselling for both of you, then trying the Salvation Army to ask about their process seems like a sensible plan. But he needs to accept that he was the adult and she is entirely blameless, and prepare herself for the fact that she may have a lot of anger towards him.
Well, what he should have done differently was track down his daughter when she was born, try to ensure he had access and pay maintenance.
To be fair, that's a big expectation of any 19 year old, isn't it ? How many teens do you know who have the confidence and resources to apply to family court to force their exG to have her baby DNA tested in order to prove he was the DCs father? Just understanding the system is hard enough for adults with life experience; where would a teenager begin?
Given how MN generally has such low expectations of teen adults, there's a kind of tragic irony about it.
Also: he could have started paying maintenance into an account, even if it couldn't get to her at the time.
He could have spoken to a solicitor.
Neither of those steps are hard, or require the ex-girlfriend to be on board. It's all in the past now and you need to be focused on how to move forward but this is this girls life, and she may have had a lot fewer opportunities than your children.
Is he prepared to address that imbalance now?
If you fell in love with someone else and cheated on your husband and said the kids were probably someone else's would it be ok for him to walk away without a second glance leaving you and your new bloke to all play happy families? (That's to OP and the ONE other poster saying the bloke in this situation did the right thing).
Legally she can't cut him out of the babies life so he could have done something. You say she told him the baby wasn't his but then also say he wondered for 17 years if it was.... wondering won't get him any further forward will it...
I'm pretty sure no one would advise a woman to get a restraining order against a man trying to get a DNA test.... they've been doing it for years on programs such as Trisha, Jeremy Kyle etc and you can order them online...
His ex might have made it clear SHE doesn't want contact but he afforded no such privilege to his potential daughter.
He wasn't 19 when he met the OP, got a mortgage or had children with her though. It's all just a bit late in the day.
He's aged 35+ now though. He's had years to get this sorted.
NNchange - that's so easy to say and you're actually right, a 19 year old would find it so hard to sort out, he was probably bewildered, scared, lazy, wanting an easier life, upset, angry (delete as applicable to the individual) and I can see that, understand it etc but an 18 year old abandoned by her father, with issues, mental health problems, addiction issues, an abusive childhood, a history full of bullying (again delete as applicable) will not understand how he was feeling at that time.
As I've also said for all we know she's had a wonderful childhood, has no issues and will want to welcome her dad and half-siblings into her life but you really need to be prepared because it rarely (never?) goes smoothly at this point.
thanks NNChange and OhNo
appalachian totally appreciate she may have been told any number of things about the identity and behaviour of her birth father & as a result have all kinds of thoughts and feelings about it, and also focussing on how to move forward is exactly what I'm trying to do, hence posting on here to ask for sources of help support and advice.
His behaviour for many years has been poor: if he is her biological father he's let her down hugely.
Ah no if she was informally adopted then social services probably no help. A family solicitor may be best option. It's very possible she is not his child anyway.
I think your DP is in for a rough time. It's a long time to have never tried to sort out paternity. I'm not judging here-but the fact is that this child might be his and he's never properly tried to sort this out.
But you are where you are. Can you get an hours free advice from a family solicitor to find out what the options are?
I hope all of this works out well.
Salvation Army are amazing at this (and very tactful etc). Obviously you'd have to wait until she would be 18;
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