Thursday, August 16, 2012

What Do “I” Want From My Father?


Usually I try and talk about the experiences of offspring from a collective perspective and as a bloke I don’t usually like talking about my own feelings. Perhaps these things make us vulnerable which is something we don’t like. However, today, not sure whether it is the mood I am in, but I thought I’d discuss this issue from my perspective because it is a question that many people wrangle with when discussing access to identifying information on our fathers.
So what do I want from him?
No I do NOT want his money. This is a concern many donors and people have in the community. I am an adult now, I don’t need child support payments and I really couldn’t care less about any claims to his estate. If my father was worried about that I would be happy to sign a document preventing any such claim. My search has never ever been about money and I have never heard another offspring talk about money either. Any talks about money are incongruous and spurious, and just plain scaremongering. Additionally he is protected by law here in South Australia anyway.
What I do want is acknowledgement that I exist. That I am a person. That I am his son by blood, just as any other children he has had are equally his due to the same biological fact.
I want to know who he is so that I can know who I am. The identity questions. What he looks like? What is my heritage, where does my family come from? Who is the rest of my family, my siblings, my grandparents etc? I want to know the rest of my family. I want to know what are his likes and dislikes, what are his vocation and education. I have so many traits that do not fit in with the family I currently have knowledge of, at times I feel like I don’t belong and this is something that has bothered me my entire life – this lack of a concrete foundation.
I want to know what my familial medical history is. What is potentially in store for me, what do I need to look out for. I am concerned also for my own children.
I want him to know that his decision to sell off a plastic specimen cup for a few bucks almost 40 years ago has caused me immense emotional pain and that as a father myself I see that as akin to abandoning a child. It is something I could never do. That his decision to sell me has prevented me from being a part in my sibling’s life and theirs in mine, and that this hole that has been created can never be filled. I want him to know that the fact that I cannot give him and his side of my family and everything associated with it to my own children, that his decision does not affect only his son but his grandchildren too. The fact that my children are innocent collateral damage troubles me no end.
Do I want a relationship with him? That is a difficult question. You cannot force a relationship on anyone. He might not want one. We might not even like each other. In an ideal world it would be nice to see and speak to each other and then he could even see his grandchildren grow up. But I am under no delusions about such situations.
My father should have no reason to fear me. I do not seek to turn his life upside down. I do not seek anything from him that should be too burdensome for him. The main thing I want from him is compassion. The rest would follow.