At 17 years old, I got pregnant. I was scared - embarrassed -- and miserable. I had been upset one night, went out with a friend and got drunk. Yep, stupid I know. I ended up with a guy who I had casually dated -- nothing serious. He was in college and was one of the most popular guys in school when he was in high school. We ended up at his house where I passed out and apparently had sex. I barely remember getting up and putting my clothes back on.
Honestly, just thinking about this makes me want to cry. With the support of my mother and my step-father, I kept my pregnancy a secret until I graduated from high school. I was almost 5 months pregnant at graduation. He knew I was pregnant the entire time. He was in college and wasn't ready for a child -- (like i was ready at 17).
My daughter and I struggled through life. There were a lot of times I didn't have the money to pay the electric bill or to buy groceries. I finally broke down when she was about 5 and confronted him about child support. I walked up to the baseball field where he was playing for a local church league and before I could tell him what I wanted, he said, "Is this about the kid?" We talked for a few minutes and he said he needed to talk to his fiancee because she didn't know about our daughter (great way to start a marriage huh?). The next day his fiancee showed up at the place where I worked (a summer program for kids K-3). She called me everything except a lady, and told me if they found out "I didn't have a pot to piss in" they were going to take her away from me. I broke down...we didn't have anything. I could barely make ends meet and I was in college on top of that. He called and apologized for the way she acted. He said he wanted a DNA test done. I agreed because I didn't have anything to hide but I told him he would have to pay for it because I didn't have the money to do so. That was the last time I heard from him for 10 years. I was afraid to contact him again because I was afraid they would take my daughter away from me. She was (and still is) my life. So we continued to struggle.
Fast-forward to Fall of 2006
I had been teaching for 5 years. Both Amber and I were very happy. She was a freshman in high school and had adjusted quite well. The fiancee, who is now the wife (and a mother herself), started teaching at the school where I've been teaching for 5 years. Knowing that I'm in a place where they have nothing to hold over my head anymore, I went to her classroom after school, calmly shut the door, and said, "If we're going to work together, we have to get along." She agreed. We avoided each other like the plague (in a VERY small school this is hard) and tried to be cordial when we had to. No one besides my assistant principal (who coincidentally is her stepmother) knew about the
situation. I've kept it all to myself (and a few extremely close friends) for 15 years.
In November after school started last year, he came to me at a school function (!) that Amber and I were both attending, and asked me if I would talk to him about "our" daughter. He said that it had been "weighing heavy on his heart for a while" and he would like to get to know her, but that it was up to me. I was terrified that he would corner her somewhere and twist the truth to suit him, so I told her everything that night. She was so upset. She was adamant about not seeing him, saying that he hasn't wanted to see her for the past 15 years and she didn't want to see him now. I talked her into at least meeting him and told her if things didn't work out she didnt' have to see him again.
Everything went ok for about a month. He pushed her into meeting his wife and kids (which she did not want to) and every time we turned around he was sitting on our couch. After that first month, she decided she had enough of them. She confessed that she didn't like him at all and was irritated that some of her friends did (he is a local youth group leader in his church). The wife had started telling our co-workers how happy they were and how they just found out she was his daughter and how they would love for her to come live with them. Since these are MY friends, they told me of course what she had been saying! I had already told the whole story to the ones who mattered anyway...it wasn't a secret anymore. But for her to go around saying they didn't know....GRRRRR --- and that they wanted Amber to live with them!!!!! OMG PLEASE! We live in a small town - my daughter went to the same school I teach at from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She knows all the teachers and we are good friends with a lot of them. At this point, I'm livid, Amber's livid, and we are finished with the whole situation. But they won't leave her alone...one of them is always texting her or showing up at her ballgames. I wish with all my heart that I would have said, "No Amber, you don't have to meet him" and then told him where he could shove his heavy heart. She is an emotional wreck and so am I. I made an appointment with a psychologist for her to work some of this out and danged if he didn't text me and ask if he could go with her because it might be good for their relationship.
Now that I've asked for 15 years of back child support, things are no longer so cordial at work. No words spoken...just nasty looks. We are at almost a year of this mess - I just wish I could make it all go away. The last few years have been really good to us until all this blew up in my face. We've traveled all over the world (because of a generous boyfriend), bought a house, and we aren't struggling anymore but,we aren't wealthy by any means! I feel like everything I've worked hard to build has been destroyed - especially my reputation.
Am I wrong to ask for the back child support? Just because he chose to not be involved in her life, does that mean he doesn't have to pay the child support?
Help me - I need some unbiased opinions please.