On March 2, 2011 I obtained sole guardianship for my 13 year-old son. His birth-father has never been involved in his life, other than paying child support each month. I applied for sole guardianship because we want to apply for our children’s passports, and with out it I would have had to seek him out and get his permission not only for the passport, but each and every time that we wanted to leave the country.
But I am not going to lie, there ended up being a lot more baggage that came along with this application than I imagined. It drug up things I hadn’t felt in a long time and forced me to deal with them. It forced me to have hard conversations with my son, that perhaps I had been avoiding. I had to admit it, but it is true, I avoided the subject of his birth father like the plague.
How do you tell your child the truth like that when there is a very real chance that it could hurt, and hurt a lot? We headed for a drive, which seems to be how I deal with all hard conversations with my kids lately. We talked, and never have I been so proud of the young man I am raising. He truly is an amazing person. What could have a been a painful and awkward conversation, wasn’t. He understands, and is not angry, not hurt, and accepts things with maturity beyond his 13 years.
He told me that he has a father. A man who has been his father for the last 10 years, and who will always be his father. He has a grandfather and an uncle that he looks up to and is so close to. Never in his life has he felt like he was missing something. Never did he feel like he needed to find out more. Never has he felt like he was unloved.
When court day arrived and my son and were waiting, I could tell he was nervous, and so was I. Would his birth father show up? What would happen, what would the reaction be? I was so nervous my stomach was in knots. I was nervous for my son, and I was nervous for me. But we worried for nothing, he didn’t come. The table opposite us was empty and the judge granted my request for sole guardianship.
Even though my son has strengthened my belief that family is who loves you, and not just where you get your genes from, I still wonder about this connection. Both of my children have a “missing” biological parent in their lives. For my daughter, it is much more of an issue than it is for my son. I can’t help but wonder what the future will hold, and if this will always be the case. I suspect that my son will never want to know his birth father, that he will never seek him out, that he will never feel like there is a void that needs to be filled. I suppose though that we will face that when and if it comes.