Filed in FAMILY by on September 26, 2010

But the child is not mine!
By Kemi Ashefon
Sunday, 26 Sep 2010

John and Janet have been married for eight years. Now blessed with two girls and a boy, John‘s family still frowns on a particular issue in their union – the boy Janet brought to the family.

“The boy is not mine and my mother is not happy,” says John. Not that he is unhappy about this, but the issue is becoming a constant in the extended family meeting.

“My mother keeps hammering on the fact that Janet did not give her a grandson and that I have chosen to adopt the boy she brought to us. Janet was a single mother of a five-year-old boy when I met her, but I did not mind. She was a nurse, very caring and paid attention to certain aspects of my life which no woman had. Initially, I had my reservation with the fact that she had a baby, but I later discarded the thought and I was bold to introduce her to my family. Maybe my mother would not have said anything if Janet had had a boy for me. Really, that is not my problem now. What gives me the ache is the father of the boy, who either calls Janet or asks to see his son.

“Initially, I thought it was necessary, but it became a given that she brought the boy to see him fortnightly! Ironically, she told me that he was not like that until last year when his wife left him. I am not against the father of her child asking to see his son, but he needs not see my wife often! I have told her to seek total custody of the child in court, where a specified period would be allotted for visits and not whenever he wills.”

Theirs is different from Gbenga and Ruth. The love child is not only troublesome, he also reminds Gbenga that: ‘You are not my father.‘ This, according to Ruth, tears her family apart. ”Even my other children, who are Gbenga‘s, don‘t like Tega (the love child I had when I was 21). He is now 21 and an undergraduate; my husband complains that he is unruly,” she laments.

“As a matter of fact, Gbenga and my children have told me to return Tega to his father. But what do I do? Tega‘s father is nowhere to be found; he is abroad and he is an illegal immigrant. The last information I heard of him from his cousin was that he didn‘t seem ready to return home. So, who do I take Tega to? Is it to his grandmother who insisted that I would only marry her son over her dead body? Or his uncles who have never set eyes on him after they sent names for his christening 21 years back? I have continually been tough on Tega, but he is just stubborn and hates my husband. I have made this boy realise that Gbenga is like his father, but he would tell me his father is abroad and that my husband is not his father! Sincerely speaking, Gbenga likes my son and has done all that a father would do – pays his school fees and clothes him like his other kids, but Tega sees him as coming to take me away from him! We were together for almost 10 years before I got married.”

Even Martha‘s daughters see every man in their mother’s life as a threat to her love for them. Though they had successfully chased other men away with their attitude, they did not succeed with Albert. “The first day I met Martha‘s daughters, I knew they did not want a serious relationship for their mother,” recalls Albert. According to him, the girls were just 16 and 14 years respectively. “We got married three years later, but the problems now are either about boys or my refusal to allow them to go out at odd hours. I have my teenage children, too, but they are with their mother abroad; so, I am left with Martha‘s daughters and my two-year-old son. Though they now respect me as their father, they see me as a stumbling block to their enjoyment because I am a disciplinarian. This causes a misunderstanding between their mother and me but she also appreciates the fact that those girls need a fatherly touch.”


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