How Lucky Am I?

I have written elsewhere on EP that I am a single Dad. I deliberately avoided using the word ‘father’ because James is not my own genetic child.

A year into our marriage, my then-wife had an affair. We reconciled, and then she found that she was pregnant. The timing was right for either potential father, so –despite her protestations that she had never had unprotected sex with the other man- I always knew there was a chance the baby wasn’t mine.

On the day of James’ birth, as I drove home from the hospital, exhausted and elated, I kept seeing images of his tiny face in my mind’s eye, each time accompanied by an intensely-thrilling rush through my body, better than any drug. It was the Universe telling me: this child is special; look after him! And I always have.

When my boy was about two years old, the other man saw him and claimed parentage. DNA testing revealed that, biologically speaking, he was correct.

Did my feelings for my wonderful child change? Not a bit. Did the DNA result change the way I felt about his mother? I am afraid it did. It marked the beginning of the end of our soul-corroding marriage. We stopped sleeping together then and two years later we separated.

I had sole care of James for six months, while his mother struggled to maintain a stable home, and have ever since been considered by the legal system to be his primary carer.

Now nearly 15, he stays with me five nights a week and spends weekends at his mother’s house. His biological father has access to James on special occasions, on request, and provides a percentage of his salary as monthly child support.

So I not only have the unbounded, prideful pleasure of parenting this smart, funny, sweet-natured, sensitive young man, but I am paid for the privilege, and I even get weekends off!


As of December 2011, I am no longer receiving any child support payments from James' genetic father, who has a new partner and between them they have a new baby. O is taking a year off work -without pay- to help look after James' little half-sister so, as he has no income to garnishee, I have lost $400 a month from my budget bottom line.

amberdextrous amberdextrous
51-55, M
16 Responses Feb 15, 2010

This is a nice story, but a child only ever has one legal father at a time. That father may or may not be the child's biological father. If a father-child relationship has been established through conduct, as Amberdextrous indicates, then that father and only that father will ever be responsible to pay child support. Amberdextrous may or may not have raised another man's child. But under the circumstances he described, it is very unlikely he ever received any child support payments for them.

Say what, aselene45?

Are You saying that I am lying about having received child support payments from my son's biological father?

I am not sure what jurisdiction You live in, and what the regulations are about child support payments, but in Australia, your opening statement about a "legal father" being an exclusive thing is nonsense. The "father-child relationship" began at the point of conception but, as I have always filled the role of "Dad" (I chose the word advisedly), then once the Family Court established his biological parentage, I became eligible for child-support payments from his biological father.

Your second sentence seems to suggest that I should be paying myself child support -a patent non-sequitur.

But hey, Thank You for reading, and for taking the time to comment.

I cannot help but feel that there was a plan for you being James' father. it was a blessing for both of you. So many of the above comments have already said what else I would say. To just view life's happenings as gifts, with a little love, a little faith - and the universe is opened up for us to play in.

Yeah, thanks, fock! But it is only true that I am a loser if you follow the "selfish gene" argument. <br />
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I am vain enough to believe that I have evolved further than that, and that I have "altruistic genes". (Look it up if you have to.) <br />
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What was important to our species was that my child -of whom I am most inordinately proud- survived and thrived. The Universe decided that I was best-equipped to make sure those things were possible.<br />
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One day, when your balls drop, you might understand.

You raised another man's genes. That, speaking in nature's terms, is being a LOSER!

you brought tears to my eyes man. i so often hear about broken marriages where the kids are the victims and suffer dire consequences because of people who always put their own selves first in life.<br />
kudoskudoskudos to you.

Thank You for your kind comments, my friends. <br />
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Rog, I know you are a great man with your own struggles. Stay strong and loving, my friend!<br />
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Ripplingwater, that is very sweet of you. I am sure there are a lot of us out there quietly putting our children's needs ahead of our own pig-headed pride. Unfortunately it is the ones who become violent, aggressive and abusive who get noticed.

What a great person :) wish more men were like you!!!!

You know what man It just shows what a great person you are, Love your story.

Thank You for your kind and humbling comments, friends.<br />
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When I see advertisements urging suspicious husbands or ex-husbands to have the parentage of their children tested, perhaps to avoid paying Child Support, it saddens me. In many cases, men who take this course do so from a desire to exact revenge on their former partners and to save -or even recoup- money. In their pain they are blinded to the needs -and rights- of children to love and emotional stability.<br />
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Good parenting is its own reward.

It takes a real man to do what u did for that kid a father is not the one who makes a child a father is the one that raises that child and loves him and supports him not financialy but imosionaly. You are blessed with beautifull son dad theres nothing you should feel bad about you have done a great job and im proud of you its not easy being a singule parent.

I hope that i can have as positive an outcome as you have . I give you my highest regards .

Wow! Thank You, GirlNextDoor and alteredego, for your comments, and for sharing your own stories. You are right, of course, that parenting requires no biological connection, only love and dedication.<br />
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'As is they were my own' is the key, my lovely Little Sis! I bet those children to whom you were a nanny will have the fondest conscious memories of your care, and that the essence of the love you gave them then still colours and flavours their lives, even if they are not aware of it.

I am new here and I passed you post read it and had to comment. My dad died four days befor xmas and a part of me still has a hard time believeing he is never coming back. He's how you are like my dad. My parents were married for 12 years but met 30 years prior my mom already had my 2 older sisters that didnt belong to my dad. The two did concieve my brother and lost touch for 12 years and during that I was born to the same man as my two older sisters. My mom found my dad when my bro was 12 and had 3 kids by someone else. For the next 20 years I am blessed to say that angels do live here on earth because he was the most amazing man I have ever known. I couldnt have asked for a better dad.

Of course buddy! You can celebrate. I have become an ardent fan of you from today. Thanks for sharing.

Thank You for your lovely comments, polly and neeran. I am humbled to read them.<br />
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Googling the phrase "I raised another man's child" is what led me here to EP, with all its wonder, wit, wisdom, misery and joy, and lots of caring and supportive friends. Another reason to celebrate!

Your a great man amberdextrous. HATS OFF TO YOU!