[Solved] New here and could do with some direction
Hello,I've not seen my child for 11 years,I have no idea of the address or where they live,the last time I saw my child was when she was 3,and shortly after that visit I was informed that if I went anywhere near the house the police would be called.
Me and the mother were very young when we got together and I drank a lot,I was unhappy and our relationship was not a pleasant one,it came to an end quite messily and I drank even more,I didn't want to harm my child or put her in danger so had to make a very hard choice and that was to walk away and try and get myself sorted out, I regret leaving and have never forgiven myself for leaving,I became addicted to gambling, I hit rock bottom and tried to end my life, fortunately I had some amazing friends who helped me to get back on my feet and seek professional help,I entered rehab and after 9 months of hard work and self reflection I got myself sorted out, all the time I had my child in my mind spurring me on to make something of myself so they would be proud. I tried to reconcile with the mother which wasn't successful as she had moved and didn't tell me,then I found out that the mother had changed the surname of my child,I don't know who's it was.
(I have to point out that I sought advice at citizens advice bureau when we split up and was told that due to my name not being on the birth certificate I essentially had no legal rights to see my child and I could get in touch with a solicitor and get legal aid but it would probably be years of stress for all parties involved before I could possibly get to see my child again,so I chose not to follow up with the solicitor,I was a drunk who selfishly wanted to go out and get hammered and run away from my responsibilities,I'm not proud of myself and would have done things differently if I had the chance).
I have sent Christmas and birthday cards and presents every year since I sorted myself out so for 9 years,they were sent to the grandparents house of my ex.
I was angry,drunk,childish and immature and couldn't see what was important,my child's well being.
Whilst in rehab(2009) I signed up to uni and three years later completed my degree in 2013.
When I finished that I started work, paying child maintenance and had vague and very brief contact with the mother via email,I asked about my child every time I messaged and was never told anything about how they were getting on,or given photos.
Now comes the bit I am over the moon about and also scared witless about, I found my child has an Instagram account and plucked up the courage to request to follow their account,I was taken aback when my child followed me on Instagram,they didn't know who I was so I sent a message, thinking nothing of it, asking if they knew who I was,to my surprise I got an immediate response, however,the reply confirmed that they didn't know who I was,I said I was looking for someone I used to know a long time ago and I thought they might be the one I'm looking for,to my utter amazement I had actually found my child,I asked a few questions and was surprised when I got sent a photo of one of the Christmas presents I had previously sent a few years previous,I asked if they knew anything about me and apart from my first name and a vague location that was all the information given.
I messaged my child a couple more times that day and was over the moon,I had waited over 10 years to get in touch with my child and still cannot believe it is them. This was a week ago! I'm still shocked and have been chatting away with my child who messages me first and wanted my phone number,I asked if the mother was aware that we were in contact and the reply was no, I had to make it clear that the mother should know about us chatting at some point as it is in her best interests,the mother isn't the most approachable at the best of times so ive advised that the grandparents are there when the subject is brought up.
I had been led to believe that my child didn't want anything to do with me and for years I waited patiently for a time when I could ask her about her interests and hobbies and school etc,now I've been able to do that and we chat on Instagram,I am really pleased that after all this time my child wants to engage with me but I have no idea where to turn to for advice or what I should do with regards approaching the mother and discussing the possibility of some kind of regular contact with my child.
So I found this website and put it to you to see if there is anyone who can point me in the right direction.
Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you
Well, this is almost a happy ending... I think the actions you take now are important to how the future maps out.
You're right to say that the mother should be told, but that's a big responsibility for your child to carry. Perhaps you could write to the grandparents, explain that you have very recently had contact with your child via instagram, but that you feel it's important that her Mum should know.
Tell them briefly about your current situation, that you are a different person now, that takes full responsibility for the past, don't go into too much detail, but point out that it has been many years since you got your life on track and have never stopped thinking about your child.
Reassure them that you don't want to cause any upset, but it's clear from your child's response that she wants to get to know you, and that you are happy to work with them and her Mum to make sure your child's well being is the priority and contact is introduced thoughtfully.
Suggest mediation as a good first step for establishing some ground rules between you and Mum, perhaps suggest that they be a part of that too.
You will be able to gauge what to do next from their response, if it's unfavourable, there are options available to you.
All the best
Totally agree with what Mojo has said there and would do this sooner rather than later.
Wow, that's quite some outcome 🙂