Father Doesn’t Bother
My father doesn’t bother to write or contact me.
I wonder what the reason is for him not wanting me.
I thought you said you cared.
You left me here little, alone, and scared.
I would have been much better off
If you had stayed over here with me.
Instead of saying those things you said,
I worked so hard not to care.
I just feel so sad, lonely, and blue
If only you knew all the things I’ve been through.
I’m sure it would have tempted you with a reason to stay,
all you left me was a chill.
Now my heart is empty still.
Was it so hard to love your child?
I’m sure you had to leave the state.
I hope you know you made my fate.
My fate of not feeling worthy of love.
So if I ever see you again,
I’ll read you the title of this poem,
I’ll turn the other way and say,
My Father doesn’t bother.
(Savannah L. Jackson)
Published: February 2006
The voice on the other end has faded ages ago. But I was still holding the phone in my hand….not registering… dumb struck… caught off guard. Until, after what felt like hours, I hung up. I sat quietly… staring at the screen in front of me, not seeing… my brain a complete blank. I stood outside. Lit a cigarette. Looked at the clouds… moving in slow motion… much like my thoughts, my senses. Trying to gather the strength to climb this mountain… and wondering how…
Then came the anger. People make mistakes… then refuse to deal with them. Prefer to leave them unresolved, unattended, not admitting to… The mistakes escalate … become bigger and bigger…. When they eventually surface… a tsunami… destroying everything in its way… destructive… devastation… wrecking lives…permanently.
I turned around. Walked inside…
He was irritated. An unnecessary consultation. His offer was made. Nothing more, nothing less. More than adequate maintenance for the time he was spending with his child. If not accepted, the court should decide.
I stood with my back to him… looked out the window. The heartbreaking sobs tore through my soul… it spoke of agony, pain… undeserving so. And there was nothing in this world that I could do… or say… to help, to relieve, to sooth… I was Helpless, Powerless.
He left. Abruptly. Without a word.
She was nervous, stressed… couldn’t look me in the eye. Tired of lying, secrets, the constant fear of being discovered… a terrible mistake haunting her for years… ruining her life, her marriage. No more. Confession. Expressions of gratitude, thankfulness.
Regret is a wisdom that comes with hindsight.
I saw him a month later. He followed my advice.
He is happy.
So many are not…
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – be honest from the beginning.
When you discover that you are not the biological father of a child born out of wedlock, during the marriage or after divorce,
you have the following options;
1. Apply for parental rights of care and contact or
2. Claim back the maintenance / money you have wrongfully spent on the child from the biological mother.
Apply for parental rights of care and contact
If you wish to remain part of the child’s life, you may approach the court with an application for parental rights of care and
contact. The court will come to a decision that has the child’s best interest at heart – a thorough investigation will be
requested from the Office of the Family Advocate. In terms of the Children’s Act, anyone who has an interest in the care,
well-being or development of a child may apply to a competent court (not only the High Court) for an order allowing contact
with or care of the child. Whenever a court considers such an application, it must take cognizance of:
• the child’s best interests;
• the relationship between the applicant and the child, and between any other relevant person and the child;
• the degree of commitment that the applicant has shown towards the child;
• the extent to which the applicant has contributed towards expenses in connection with the birth and
maintenance of the child;
• the relationship between the child and the person whose parental responsibilities and rights are being challenged, if
• any other factor that should, in the court’s opinion, be taken into account.
Seeking reimbursement for maintenance paid
If you want to pursue reimbursement, you should prepare for a lengthy-and most likely costly- legal battle. The best advice is
• Get a good lawyer
• Make a strong case to be compensated for damages
• Provide concrete, legal DNA evidence to the court
• Be patient
As in all cases claiming damages, you will have to prove the amount claimed by means of documentation such as invoices,
bank statements, etc. Once you have the exact amount paid over a specific period of time, summons can be issued.