I recently found myself at the child support court advocating for a 16 yr old Amira’s House client. As we waited for her case to be heard, the father of the baby stood 30 feet away. He wore a hoodie pulled up and lowered over his eyes, head down. As we prepared for what we thought the judge needed to know, there was discussion about how the father had sent multiple text stating he would not pay child support or hide where he was working etc. The mother had attempted to connect with him and his parents early in pregnancy and his parents reportedly told her they did not want anything to do with the baby who was now six months old. The concerns she had for sending her baby for visitation were very real. How could he parent when he had no training? How would they treat the baby if it was true that they did not want him?

With all of this on the table, I felt compelled to counsel her to not draw the conclusion that he could never be a good father to her son. Furthermore, I wanted her to understand that even though she had gone through the entire pregnancy and early infancy, without their support, he has rights. We discussed the possible provisions to keep the baby safe asking for supervised visitation at least initially. I encouraged her that if he could be engaged and responsible, her son needed to know his father.

Later that day, as I reflected, I thought back to the story with my girls. I divorced their father when they were very young. Although he failed to meet some legal obligations and often did not meet my expectations of what a father should be, he undoubtedly loved his girls so much. Allowing the relationship WAS NOT EASY most of the time for different reasons and I was NOT perfect in the process. But I did try to prioritize the need the girls had for their father over the other concerns and disappointments.

Sadly, when my girls were 18 and 21, their daddy passed away. In this picture the two of them and their half-sister are all wearing his hats to the funeral. They all had a different but beautiful connection with him. He was very special to them. Hearing how they speak of him today, and knowing what precious memories they hold, I have absolutely no regrets for my decision. t Amira’s House, even though our primary focus is the young girl and her baby, we will work to stand against parent alienation and develop a program to disciple the young men who want to paren