Recently discovered I have a child overseas
My life is a bit of a joke right now.
I feel guilty for saying that because the 1.5 year old son I have never met will ultimately be the one who is effected the most by the decisions my Australian ex and I make.
I spent the last 3 years of my life living in Canada, travelling and working in 3 provinces. It was my dream to travel and have that amazing lifestyle of hitch hiking, risks, snowboarding, partying and getting completely and utterly lost and finding my way all over again. I met Hannah in my first year and we just fell for each other. She was a little younger than me and studying in Toronto whilst I lived there, we had met in the hostel.When Hannah's semester ended she had to return to Australia to finish her degree, we vowed to meet again in Canada, the country we loved. At this point I was determined beyond all doubt that I would live here and it's still my goal today, to work hard and immigrate in a few years.
8 months passed and we met again, this time the plan was to spend two years in Canada together and I'd naturally continue onto Australia with her for a while, I was up for traveling anywhere. One day Hannah left me while I was at work and I haven't seen her since. Little did I know it was because she found out she was pregnant. Hannah had been told aged 17 that she had polycystic ovaries (unharmful but it was seriously unlikely that she could ever get pregnant) she was given treatments and tests but decided that she had no interest in being a mother and let it be. But all of a sudden she found out she was pregnant, several months in and just starting to show.
Because she believed she couldn't get pregnant and we'd been careful there was no reason for her to think differently and we hadn't been taking it easy with alcohol. Hannah was horrified, she flew to a different city and tried to get an abortion. She told me that she went through with it but when she had a check up it was too late for a legal abortion. She was in meltdown believing the baby would not be OK. She felt guilty for leaving me and sad that we were over, she would have stayed if it was any other way. I went on believing that the pregnancy was aborted until a few months ago when she told me that my son Elijah was a perfectly healthy 1.5 year old living with her in Australia. She had been far too ashamed and full of guilt to right what she admitted was a terrible lie but she wanted to make amends and give me the chance to know my son.
We fought hard and I said horrible things to her and thought of ways I could punish her but stopped myself. I felt like my rights had been utterly violated. But I calmed down and saw how much she'd sacrificed and how much she had hurt. She has dedicated herself to Elijah. She finished her masters degree, raised him from baby to toddler and worked two jobs at the same time. There is nothing that makes her happier than our son. I admire her in a way after all this. She left me to my decisions, she knew I had big plans to get my dream job, travel more and settle in Canada and so didn't push me to get involved, especially in the limited way I can from literally the other side of the world. I almost felt angry that she wasn't demanding my help, I wanted to prove my rights and responsibility to my son. The more she tells me about him the greater the connection but after a while I come back to the same nagging doubts and hurts. I have choices to make and not the strength to make them. I love Hannah after all of this but can I ever get over the lies and the time I missed out on seeing my son's first year and a half? Hannah tells me she wants to immigrate to Canada too and the bonus if that is that together or not I will be close to my son but immigration is challenging and part of me thinks one if us... or both of us won't get it. I do not want to live in Australia and I feel a great deal of guilt over that. I don't see myself enjoying it for longer than a few months and I don't think I'd fit in. But the clock is ever ticking and I don't want to miss out on my son's development anymore. I have plans to teach English in South Korea, I have just gotten a job in the field I have always wanted to be in and my future decisions frighten me. I have more adventures left in me and I'm not feeling prepared for this responsibility of parenthood. I'm bargaining in my head about how I can strike a balance between living the life I want and being there for my son. It's all so confusing and upsetting. I don't have enough hope.
Look - this woman left because she saw you for what you are. Somewhat self absorbed and immature, the same guy you were 3 years before.
You are not ready for this relationship and all its responsibilities and obligations. So -stay away.
It's not fair for you to see this as another 'adventure' and drop in on this child's life when it suits YOU.
Make sure you dispell this woman's fantasy that after more than 3
years and the birth of a child, that you are ready to settle down. Be honest.
First of all, you don't know me. Self absorbed and immature? I was away and traveling because that's what people do in their 20's and I did it entirely from my own initiative and integrity, I was responsible. Some people see traveller and think jobless hippy. Bullshit. Now I'm back at home I've gotten a great job because that's what you need to immigrate.
You act like she had all the maturity in the world, when in reality I was far more careful with money, with jobs and stability. I left out the details where she had to live with me in secret because she kept on quitting jobs and going broke. It had nothing to do with the over all story so I left it out.
I'm sure that's what's best for my son too. Walk away. He doesn't need a dad. Good advice.
You completely misread or didn't even bother reading at all because I did not say that I see my son as an 'adventure'. When Hannah ran away it was because she had been drinking while unknowingly pregnant not because I'm some ass hole. And the reason I carried on with life, adventuring and planning future adventures is because SHE HAD ME BELIEVE THE PREGNANCY WAS ABORTED. That was upsetting enough.
So yeah, I was angry when she popped up a year and a half later and told me I had a baby all this time. And drop in on this child when it suits me?! THEY LIVE IN AUSTRALIA. Do you think I can afford to fly out there every weekend?! Did you even see what I wrote about how we're both trying to get Canadian permanent residency? The whole problem is - like I said before - that I have already missed out on so much and I don't want to miss out on more. But I inevitably will due to citizenship and geography. So maybe you're just too ignorant to see that. Or maybe you're a bitter sexist. Maybe I was wrong to post this online. Either way, keep your shitty comments off this thread.
SHE changed. YOU haven't.
Just be sure she knows that.
She changed because she has had CONTACT with the child. Because he was kept a secret from me I have never met him. My sum total contact with the child is 5 pictures And a DNA test which is still in the works. How could I have been expected to change for someone I've never even met? And in the space of 2 months since I was informed of his existence. Wave a magic wand? Get real.
Hi JOE0062. Sorry that these post(s) are a bit heated. That usually does not happened but can when all the information and details are not presented. Let’s take a breath, embrace the hope that does exist, and find the strength to make some informed decisions.
Very few things can change someone as quickly and as dramatically as being told you are a father (or mother) without prior notice. Being told that this child of yours is already a year and half old can be even more overwhelming…..or could it be awe-inspiring? Perhaps by answering a few questions, you can make this judgment.
How well do you really know Hannah? Have you ever identified your top values? Do you know what Hannah’s top values are? For example, is the most important thing in your life your career? Is it Hannah? Is it Elijah? How much have you and Hannah talked about staying together under any and all circumstances? Is there a commitment in this relationship? Is marriage in your or her future? How well do you really know each other's soul?
I find it very interesting that neither of you thought a family was even possible but now can’t seem to live without it. Think about that in your values review.
I would love to hear back from you about your values (and Hannah’s) and from there we can make some “valued” decisions together.
Thank you for your measured reply. Good to see not everyone will automatically have the idiotic, self righteous response as the previous poster.
It is awe-inspiring. He's the most handsome little boy I've ever seen, Hannah has been telling me so much about him and his developing personality and in the moment I do feel joy. But then Hannah goes to bed as she's 11 hours ahead and I start worrying.
I don't have the means to do anything. I need this job to immigrate, leaving the job now and going to Australia would not help because I wouldn't have a chance of staying, I would be forced to leave at the end of my visa. I've looked into permanent residency deeply and trust me on this. It is not that simple.
I worry that Hannah's dad will always be the father figure for him and me now arriving on the scene on a temporary basis would hurt him and confuse him. I deeply worry that no matter what I do our relationship will always be strained and uncomfortable. Hannah suddenly upping and moving herself and him to Canada at his early age would also cause emotional harm. I just don't know how we can win, all the decisions I can make at this point will mean some kind of hurt.
And as for me and Hannah. Will I ever be able to get over this and be truly in love with her? Will I learn to forgive that she faked an abortion and kept my son from me because she was scared? I honestly don't know. Although I miss her deeply.
Excellent observation regarding Elijah…..Awe-inspiring. I think you demonstrated where your values are and now just need some encouragement and hope.
Perhaps we can set some goals based on what I think your values are. Now you know why I put forward the need to know your values. However, before we do that, I need more information if you are willing to share. Also, I don’t know what Hannah values other than her/your son.
Let me clarify a few things. Your first post suggested you both want to live in Canada but you are willing to travel to Australia for a while. Has that changed with your current job responsibility and with Elijah? How long is the Visa good for in Australia? Would Hannah and Elijah come back to Canada with you? Can you take a leave of absence from you current position? Are you a Canadian citizen?
Now the most important observation; you love Hannah (first post) and Elijah (latest post). I’m thinking forgiveness is a big part of loving someone. Sharing your life with someone is a series of strains and discomforts. It is part of the beauty and challenge of being in a relationship. Don’t run from it, embrace it. I also respect your personal observations of how difficult it was for Hannah to not disclose the birth, raise Elijah on her own by working two jobs, and finally letting you back in.
If you are willing to continue to share, the next thing we will do is set some goals based on what you value. When we do this, be prepared to change values or sacrifice some things you love, at least temporarily. After all, loving someone is more than just picking up your dirty socks.
I wanted to open this up again. I've been getting on very well with Hannah and it's obvious there are strong feelings there. We talk about ourselves, Elijah, the things we love, we make jokes and laugh together. I'm thinking a lot on trust and whether I can or should trust her again. I honestly wish we could be a normal family but when I think about this I get hurt reminding myself that I missed out on my son's birth, first Christmas and birthday, first words, first steps and the day to day development I would have seen if Hannah had told me I had a son. I don't know if I can or should forgive her.
Countering this is the thought that at this distance and without the same citizenship I will continue to miss out on more and more of Elijah's growth and not being able to be there during these years will put strain on our relationship forever. I can put effort into my job for another two years and head to Australia to be with them and be sure that I will find a job in my field then and there. But what then? Hannah doesn't want to settle there and neither do I. I'd have to leave after a year and that would be heart wrenching and who knows when we'd be able to live close by/with again. This couldn't feel more complicated.
Welcome back JOE0062. I was hoping to hear from you again. I understand your remorse in missing you son’s “firsts”. There is nothing quite like watching your children grow, intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Your desire to be a part of this speaks well of your family values.
So I, like you, wonder how forgiveness may fit in your future. It is an incredibly powerful building block, and has the capacity to save this and many relationships. Perhaps, together, we can answer your own question of whether you “should” or “can” forgive Hannah. However, this is something that cannot be given superficially. You are either all in or not.
Can we examine this in terms of how Jesus forgives us? How do we learn to forgive? Can we draw on the strength of Jesus to forgive others as He forgives us? In other words, do you have the capacity to push away Hannah’s mistakes but not Hannah? Can you unconditionally let go of the desire to punish her, to hold it against her? You must consciously see Hannah and not her choice that hurt you. I will suggest that the decision to forgive or let go will often have to be renewed, perhaps daily or even hourly. Let’s face it. Holding on to anger and hurt may put us in a moral superiority over others.
Forgiveness is taking the hard path but appears to be the first thing you must do to even consider reconciliation. You are not forgetting about the hurt (you can’t) but are giving up the chance to talk about this in a harmful way to her or others. Ultimately you are accepting the wound and the resulting pain. I’m not sure I can do that, but I’m hoping you’re a better person than me. After all, your family may depend on it.
One more thing; can Hannah have more children?
Keep in touch.