Hello, I have a question about my daughter. Her mother left me and took my daughter when she was just 5 weeks old. She is now 16 months old and I have only seen her once. Her mother is across the country and was in Puerto Rico, so I can't have weekends or anything of the sort (I am in California). I want to start taking my daughter to be with me for extended periods of time. I'm thinking a month or more several times a year. I wish it was to be with me always but I won't get into that. My fear up to this point is that she is so young and dependent on her mother and loves her so much that it could be traumatic for her to be flown away for long periods to be with me. Which brings me to my question, would that type of visitation arrangement be traumatic to her or hurtful at this age? If so, when would she be old enough to understand that she is going to spend time with Daddy for a while and she will see Mommy soon?
Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I need to know my daughter and she needs to know her father, it is just crushing me.
I think she is too young to be taken from her Mom it would be better for you to arrange to go and visit her , It is very traumatising when this happens , children feel they are abandoned , she would cry a lot and if you have a new partener it would be even worse, when she is older it will be possible .This is one of the problems faced when folks with children split up, think about the child and how she would feel.
Is there a legal arrangement? Do you have joint custody? If not I hope you can get something written down affirming your parental rights, since otherwise she can just take her and never let you see her again -- particularly outside U.S. jurisdiction.
I'm a single father who raised my daughter from infancy, so other than breast feeding I feel very strongly that either parent can raise a child (preferably both, of course). Children need to develop loving relationships with both parents as soon as possible; there is no time when fathers aren't "necessary" or desireable! People aren't kittens!
Your daughter is not going to be confused by being in two places, especially if it's all she's ever known. If you wait to establish contact, you risk having them move on and cut you out of her life entirely. Your ex could remarry, move away, and be gone forever.
I disagree very strongly with waiting until she's older. One year olds don't understand the complexities of adult relationships. They just see people who love and care for them. She will either see two such people -- or just one.
If you show up when she's three or four and she's never seen you before, you will be a stranger. Being told then that this is a person she's supposed to love as a father will be confusing and traumatic for her!
It's a standard soap opera plot to wait until a kid's a teenager and about to marry his sister before telling him he's adopted. That's a similar stupid thing parents do -- I was adopted, and it was written on my first birthday card. *Waiting* makes finding out traumatic. If you introduce her to the circumstances of her birth and facts of her life from birth, it will be a natural part of her that she will accept unthinkingly. It will not need to be integrated with her personality later -- a much harder task.
And there's no reason you should be suffering in the meantime. Go there now, work something out with her Mom, and parent her together!
I also disagree with waiting until she's older. You need to be involved in her life now or she's never going to acknowledge you as a parental figure. It might be less difficult and traumatic if you go to her, but at some point she'll also need to come to you and learn about who you are. Are there court documents that lay out a visitation/custody arrangement?
If you dont see your daughter regularly it is obvious that it will be very traumatic for the child to leave her mom for the extended periods you describe, it may be best to ask for some professional advice as you seem uncertain ..It may be better to start off seeing her for shorter times then graduate to a longer period ....
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