19 January 2009

A thousand ways to break my heart

Gabriel and Elliot come in from my mom's garden, buck naked, covered in pomegranate juice, jubilant, holding hands. They continue from the back porch, across the living room, out the front door, my sister and I watching their progress. It is night.

Laura: Where are you guys going?

Elliot: We go *unintelligible.* (Elliot talks a lot now, but if you don't know what he's talking about, it can be impossible to interpret)

Laura: What?

Elliot: *unintelligible*

Me: Gabriel where are you guys going?

Gabriel: We're going to San Diego to see my sister!

Me: Oh. How are you getting there?

Gabriel & Elliot, in unison: Walking.

Laura: How do you walk to San Diego?

Gabriel: You turn right, then you turn left, then you go to San Diego, and we're gonna visit my sister! Ooh let me call her!

He picks up the Fisher Price play phone.

Gabriel: "My sister? We're coming to visit you! I'm bringing Elliot! And I'm bringing some toys to share!"

Eventually, we dissuaded them from their journey with dinner and storybooks.

Gabriel has a half sister, Brea. She's 11. She lives in Southern California somewhere. Probably not San Diego, but it was San Diego at one point. I was talking to Gabriel about how his aunt and uncles are my brothers and sister, and he wanted to know if he had brothers or sisters. I told him he did. And then, at his request, I told him everything I know about her, which is admittedly little. Was that wrong? I don't think so.

To my knowledge, K has not seen his daughter for at least 5 years. Despite his legal right to know where his daughter lives, he claims that he has no idea where she could be. I think this makes it easier for him to ignore the situation. While there's no way for me to know all the details, it can't be easy, or free of hurt. I have many complaints and much distrust when it comes to Gabriel's father, but I do believe he loves his children.

I think that regardless of K's seemingly failed relationship with his daughter and/or her mother, it is Gabriel's right to know his sister. I would like to write Brea's mother a letter. I would like to send some photos. I don't even know if she knows she has a brother. Does she even know?

K has repeatedly refused to give me any information. Even a last known address? Even the address of her maternal grandmother? Surely I could mail something there? I've emailed K's parents to ask if they, as her grandparents, know how to track her down. Those requests have been met with no response at all. I suspect this is out of some sort of position of solidarity with their son. I don't know her mother's last name, I don't know how to find her. I seek only to open a line of communication, so that someday, these children may know one another as family. That is their right. They are siblings. The should know each other. They should have that choice. They are children.

For my part, I am baffled by this unwillingness to help Gabriel know this girl, this shared blood. I would love it if K's family took a more involved role in Gabriel's life. They are his uncles, his cousins, his grandparents. I believe a lot of their distance is indeed geographical. But his sister, as far as I know his sister lives in California, and I think that it's Gabriel's right to grow up knowing her. I don't think that anyone should deny him that.

6 comments:

  1. When I found out that I was pregnant with Josiah and his father disappeared, I spent some time on facebook trying to find out whatever I could. I wasnt looking for anyone specifically, but I was able to find his mother, brother and ex-girlfriend. All I used was his email adress which led me to a list of his friends. I had never met his family and I didnt even know anyone's names but I was able to piece together who was who. Then I went into his brother's facebook account and looked at his friend list. Not knowing the ex-girlfriends name, I wasnt looking for her, but I did find a woman living in my province whose facebook was unlocked so I could face stalk her a bit.

    All of this is a long way to say that I knew Josiah's father had a little girl around 5ish who lived in a place called marystown and whose name was Bethany. When I went into that woman's facebook, I found that she lived in that town and had a daughter named Bethany.
    So without even thinking about it, I sent her an email telling her my situation. She called me the next day and we have been in contact ever since. They live a few hours away but we were able to get the kids together once so they could at least meet and we plan to continue the contact.

    I think it is every child's right to know their siblings, even if they only meet once. I was lucky to find Josiah's sister so easily, but maybe you would have similar luck?

    Good luck with it all and sorry for the long comment

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  2. My brother has a 10 year old daughter who doesn't know he's her dad. They live pretty far away and my brother ran out of money fighting to see her, and has two other kids who he has to support with no help from their mother. I have stayed out of it, mainly because I don't know how she would take suddenly finding out she has a different dad and two little brothers. When my brother decides it's time, I guess I can contact her.

    You do know her first name so that's a start, and it seems to be an unusual name. If she has her dad's name or if his name is on her birth certificate, check with the vital statistics and see if you can get a copy of that. I know you don't have any money right now, but maybe you can contact a private investigator and ask what they would charge to find her address, so you would know how much it costs, in case all else fails.

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  3. Ouch, this is a tough situation. I think it's great that you are so supportive and proactive in him getting to know his half sister and it's too bad K is keeping that from happening. I hope sooner than latter it will change for the better.

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  4. I'm with you on that. It's good to know the people who you're related to. I hope you find her.

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  5. You were totally right to be honest and tell Gabriel about her. However, the rest of it is tricky. Sure, no one should deny them the chance to get to know each other. But it's hard to figure out how to to it right. Maybe Gabriel will ask his dad about her enough times...

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