I'm posting again just hoping someone out there has some kind of understanding of what I'm going through and can relate to me. I posted the problem originally at the start of the year. Here's the link to the original, it's all a lot for me to process and recalling it hurts a lot so I hope someone has the time to read it: https://www.peoplesproblems.org/showtopic/10598/Recently-Discovered-I-Have-A-Child-Overseas
So my son, Elijah is living in Australia with my ex partner Hannah who faked an abortion for nearly two years after using cocaine and ecstacy and drinking while not realising she was pregnant. The last thread ended with me trying to figure out if I could forgive Hannah for the pain that she put me through so that we could be a family. In March I met my son in Australia and was reunited with Hannah. She put a lot of effort into making me feel included - she made a baby book for me of Eli's important moments and said she wanted to continue it with me, adding to it with memories and experiences we have together. It took a few days before I plucked up the courage to tell Hannah I wanted us to be a real family.
There was an almost instant connection with Eli and myself. It's like he knew I was his Dad. Although he was a little confused on the first day, by the second he would reach out and take my hand and even let me carry him around. I fell completely in love with him. It never felt more real than on the last night I was with them he called me Daddy a few times. I don't think he'd ever said that word before but somehow it had meaning. When I left them at the airport all 3 of us were in tears. Even our little 1.9 year old, at seeing me head towards my departure gate. Hannah and I had been very close too, after I told her I wanted to be with her after what she had done and raise our baby together she initially questioned me and seemed cautious but a few minutes later she was telling me she loved me. We had a great time together as a family.
So now my new motivation in life was to save up the money to go to Australia on a working visa and off the back of that gain residency. It seemed hard but do-able. Focusing so much on this and skyping and planning our future with Hannah and Eli made me extremely stressed. I lost one of my two jobs which I saw as the beginnings of my future career and began to feel like a failure. I was very upset about how much I was missing out on with Eli approaching 2 years old and wanted to head to Australia as soon as possible. This took it's toll on mine and Hannah's relationship. We began to argue quite often about conflicting ideas on where we would live. I knew that my lofty goals weren't going to make Hannah and Eli's life any more manageable and so decided that my best course of action was to agree with Hannah's plan, feeling like what I truly NEEDED over want was to be with my family. They mattered more than anything else and I would be happy with them, the rest didn't matter half as much.
The night before my flight to Australia for Eli's second birthday (the first birthday or celebration of his I was given the chance to attend) Hannah called and told me she felt that since Eli was born she had had no choices in life. Her friends had drifted away from her as she couldn't give them enough time anymore. She was living in her Dad's place and working two jobs that she didn't want purely to pay for Eli's keep. Her only remaining choice was who she gave her heart to and then at that point she told me she didn't want to be with me and I should stay at home and miss Eli's birthday. I refused to. There was no way I wasn't standing up to her on this after telling me she had terminated the pregnancy for almost 2 years prior. I told her I would sleep on the couch and we'll just make it about Eli's birthday. She became angry and said that I was abusing her and her anxiety disorder by 'forcing' her to have to be around me on his birthday. We fought a lot and I relented for a time feeling like I had no choice but to do what she says so I could get back in her good graces so that she would change her mind. I couldn't do it, I had a right to be there with Eli and not be shut out of his birthday for no good reason. Hannah continued to accuse me of abuse throughout my journey to Australia, a part of which I spent in tears.
When I landed there was no anxiety attack just a cold reception and short, blunt answers. I did my best to ignore that and talk to her amicably, we had some good, reasonably positive interactions. However after two days Hannah left our airbnb and stayed at home saying that my presence was hurting her. I tried to talk to her about but again received nothing but blame. We had another conversation face to face, tearful but honest and well intentioned. Hannah remained quite cold and accused me of being immature and living in a dream world. The next morning I felt more and more angry than ever by her hurtful non-chalant comments. We had a loud and angry argument, I criticized her lies about having a severe panic attack the whole time I was here and she became aggressive. She through a TV remote at me, tore the leaves off a plant and threatened to punch me in the face and kill me if I swore in front of Eli again. I told her I would tell Eli the truth; that even after keeping us apart with lies for the first part of his life that she felt it right for me to miss his birthday and accept the dumping right off the bat. In retaliation she told me if I did she would tell him I'm 'a crazy bitch'. Fighting in front of Eli was so wrong, as Hannah stormed off he started to cry and I felt guilt like nothing I've ever felt before. After this Eli was wary around me and hit me and cried once or twice, clinging to his mother. Beyond the throwing of the remote this fight never became physical and I would never allow it to.
On his Birthday we took him to the Aquarium and Hannah continued her blunt, moody behaviour which I did not rise to. We ended up having his cake and watching my own son blow out his candles for the first time in a Hungry Jack's because Hannah didn't expect me to want to do that despite knowing I had bought him a cake. The few days I spent in the country after his birthday I saw Eli for only an hour or two a day. After we parted on the last night I ended up wandering into the grounds of the hospital he was born in by mistake. It made me feel horrible and emphasised all the hurt of knowing I've missed out on so much of his life as a baby.
Hannah and I continued to fight over the trip and through messages when I left. She had told me that me being there on his birthday was utterly pointless because he's so young he'll never remember me being there. I've called several times and cried to her asking her to just think about giving me a fair chance to be a real dad for Eli but she is already certain after so little contact that she doesn't love me and doesn't want to be with me. Ever.
My biggest worries aside from how I can go on without Hannah are;
1) I can't move to Australia – immigration is incredibly tough and I'm unskilled. We had intended me to move over on a specialist visa I could have gotten through living with her. I spoke to an immigration lawyer and they gave me my options which just seem far too impossible.
2) I won't be able to build a real relationship with Eli, only seeing him a handful of times a year and being jet lagged.
3) I'm going to watch Eli eventually be co-raised by another man who I could never match in closeness because of no. 2. A step dad will obviously always have FAR more contact and personal experiences with Eli that I was never given the chance to have.
4) I probably won't have a chance to meet someone I can love who has goals in line with my own which is still to eventually move to Australia to attempt to salvage a relationship with my son. I'm 30. Realistically it could take years till I'm qualified and saved up enough to move there and that would still be a gamble with a large margin for failure. Who's to say I will also meet a woman, fall in love and convince her to move to Australia with me so I can be close to a child who isn't even hers.
I see very little of Eli over skype, a lot of weeks can go by without me seeing him at all. Last week I managed 15mins over two skype calls. He's too young to really know what's going on and often confused by seeing and hearing me through a computer screen. I have no idea when I'll be able to see him yet and I know a lot about him will have changed and that is going to hurt the most. After my last trip was so heart breaking I'm scared Hannah will either try and convince me to cancel again or make it unbearable by being cold and complaining about my presence.
If anyone is able to relate to this please tell me your experiences. I know what I need to do but it feels like my choices equate to being given two buckets of shit and being told to take my pick. If anyone can offer words of support I'd be grateful, I'm not feeling hopeful about anything at all and feel like my rights as a father have been abused for no reason. I'm not seeing much light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that Hannah will not consider it. She becomes angry whenever I bring it up or just ask her to slow down and not rush this decision and give me a chance in the future. She is desperate to have her space from me and I need to accept that.
Hannah says she is supportive of me being part of Eli's life. The problem is she doesn't believe it's going to be as hard as I say it is. Of course I couldn't afford many trips to Australia to see him each year. I offered to help Hannah pay for his day care costs and she won't accept any money from me because she feels bad. I'm not currently on the birth certificate but Hannah is fine with us amending it.