Updated: Jul 17, 2019
I'm not the one to talk. I am a deadbeat dad who has not or does not take care of his son. Financially, emotionally or otherwise. For an admission like that, when there is no excuse. However, Even for something as irresponsible and negligent as this, there is always a reason. Let me explain.
My sons mother was eighteen when she got pregnant. I was nineteen. We all can take it from there. So lets fast forward. My son is born. And by this time, his mom and i had a on then off again relationship tumultuously volatile relationship (to say the least). We had no business what so ever being around each other. Let alone be involved in a relationship with one another. I was a jerk. Blame it on my age. But I am a believer in personal responsibility once you reach a certain age. I was of that age. Me. I was promiscuous, brash, and unapologetic (still) about all of it. I would have other girls over her house when she was at work. I would go on trips out of town for days and do the things that your imagining right now. Plus i was a jailbird. Always in a fight or hanging around with my buddy's.
I did work and contribute tho.
Now, her. My sons mother was rude, spiteful, vengeful, spoiled, scornful, argumentative, judgmental, and downright mean. She is fine tho. And she always kept a job. As you can imagine, two people with these types of flaws would not get along. I lived with her. In her home. So I was subject to becoming 'homeless' at a moments notice. Which i was. Many times. After every argument, or whenever she felt like being alone. Many times. It got so bad that i kept a hotel room at all times so as not to have no place to go.
But back to the discussion at hand. And the one in the middle of all this mess. My son. He had to be taken care of. And he was. We and our family's made sure he had everything he needed and most things he wanted. Except his dad. Whenever his mother and I split apart for a while, so would me and my son. there would be weeks sometimes that i did not see him because her and I were not getting along. There was no 'We need to make sure the baby sees his dad'. From either of us. And the times that i did see him, it was at the fickle generosity, and overall behest of his mother. Basically, whenever she felt like it. I had no say so over my son. Period. One example of this. I was walking through the neighborhood one day and past by her job. I heard someone call my name and it was my sons mother. Standing in the doorway of her workplace, she called to me and asked me if i would 'like to see him'. I said, 'sure'. At that point I hadn't seen him in a long while.
I walk inside into the dare-care center they had at her job. He was in his crib wide awake looking really cute in one piece footy pj's. He was about six mouths old at this time. He gave me a look like 'I know you but where have you been'? While conversing his mother, the lady that worked there realized that I was his father. She seemed excited and glad. And said. 'since your his dad, you know you can come visit him anytime don't you'. Before I could answer, his mother began to shake her head no. She turned to the nurse and said 'no'. 'Well since you cant visit, i'm going to have to ask you to sign this document saying that your not allowed to see or take the child'. The daycare worker then handed me a clipboard with a sheet of paper on it. It has some words written on it that I didn't even bother to read. I took the clipboard and just signed the paper. While signing, I looked at my boy again and shook my head.
I was too young and unstable to have the mind set of going to the courthouse to file a complaint to see my boy. I was living in hotels and friends couches. And due to past animosity, I did not have a relationship with my family. She on the other hand, had a permanent place of her own. And a strong, caring, big, wonderful, loving family to lean on.
Long story short there are several more incidents like that one. But for times sake i will not go into them. Instead I will fast forward again and say that as a father I genuinely felt unwanted, unneeded and in a no win situation. So I left. But I didn't just move across town. I left the state. My thinking was, 'well, if you don't want me around, bye. 🖐
A few months later, I called her and asked about my son. The call was tense and awkward to say the least. It ended with her asking for money, telling me my son didn't want to talk, then a dial tone. About seven-eight years later, I got a letter in the mail about child support. It couldn't have come at a worse time. After years of fooling around on the streets of nyc. I was attempting to chill and was in the middle of enrolling in a local community college when the letter came. It ended up messing with my financial aid. I didn't get all the money for books and did not receive all of the money from my financial aid voucher for supplys. Instead I received a letter saying that the remainder of that money went to a child support payment. Luckily. That was the first and last money that was ever taken from me. Due to a long suffering mental illness, I was approved for SSI. An income that cannot be touched. Not even by child support.
'The nerve of this bitch'! I thought. I can guess the many reasons on why she would deny me from seeing my son. But felt she had the right to put me on child support? Ill just say look at the list of her faults above and pick one. Unfortunately this is the tale of many many black males who've found themselves in the same or a similar situation. Often times ending up in jail. Even worse they are perceived and mislabeled as 'deadbeat dads' and men who don't care about their kids. When in reality, that is the farthest thing from the truth. But mothers are seen as innocent, and vulnerable. So the government steps in and replaces the father. Some mothers simply do not want the father around.
My case is not every case. There are real deadbeats out here and real females who do not keep their children from their fathers. But if men had the support and guidance like my sons mother had from her family, I think black males (no-matter how young) can be incredible fathers. But without it, the cycle will continue. And the ones who will be harmed the most, are our children. There is never an excuse for leaving your own child. But there is always a reason.
patreon.com/theiconiumfoundation Low-income black fathers want to be good dads. The system won't let them https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/17/black-fathers-parenting-child-support-policy-flaws