Pins and Needles

My mother convinced me that we needed to do something about my son’s birth certificate.

In the hospital, when I’d filled out all of the forms, I listed Joe’s name in the area for the father.  I knew his birthdate:  1-27-1970, I knew his middle name, I knew his legal address (his grandparents’ house).  What I didn’t have was his social security number.  I had hoped that the rest of the information, being complete and verifiable, would be enough.

I was horrified when I finally received a copy of Zachary’s birth certificate to see the information regarding Father left completely blank, as if I didn’t know who it was or had left it intentionally blank.  This rankled me.  I didn’t want my son to see that document one day and feel unwanted.  I knew what it was like to feel like your father didn’t care about you, and I’d had mine around sometimes.  I didn’t want him to ever feel one ounce of shame or hurt based on his parentage.

My mother told me that if I filed to establish paternity a new birth certificate would be reissued.  I just couldn’t imagine going on like this; at some point wasn’t Joe going to come around?  It was starting to feel maybe like he wasn’t.  I knew that things had been awful last winter, but enough was enough.  Z was here, and life was moving on.  He was growing, quickly.  Before we knew it he would be three, and four, and five, and there would be school paperwork to fill out.  Was Joe really going to just pretend that this didn’t happen?  Was he really going to walk around living his life like Zachary didn’t exist?

Every time I asked Dean, Joe’s one friend who still kept in touch with me, he was evasive.  I asked after my letter came back and he confirmed that Joe planned on living with his mother and going to school there this year.  Why didn’t he tell me before, I asked.  Why was this a secret?  Didn’t he care about us anymore?  Was our whole relationship something other than what I remembered?  I was so confused.  I wanted this all to be resolved.  I wanted my son to be able to know his father.  I loved my son; Joe would too if he would just come around.  My mother told me that often absent fathers, once paternity is established, often started wanting to see the child and be a part of their lives.  I couldn’t imagine Joe wouldn’t want that too.

When I told Dean what I was doing, he told me that Joe was expecting it.  Apparently one time last winter when Joe had called my house for me, my mother asked him point blank if he planned on being a part of our lives, financially and otherwise.  He had all suspected that at some point I would indeed file for paternity.  This surprised me, but it shouldn’t have.  I felt uncomfortable knowing that Joe was indeed discussing me and our baby with Dean, or anyone, rather than with me.  But what made me more uncomfortable was what he told me was Joe’s response.

“She’ll have to come after me with a needle if she wants to get anything from me.”



One Response

  1. […] to reconnect with Joe and Zach wondered about him?   It was why I’d decided so long ago to file a lawsuit to establish my son’s legal paternity.  But not long after I’d filed and tried to find Joe, I discovered that he’d moved […]

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