for your note to FEMINIST.COM,
which was filled with many questions
that I can hopefully answer
primarily from a personal perspective
as yours was a "personal problem."
I don't think there is one feminist
ideal for "fatherhood," except
that feminism is about equality
which means equalizing parenting,
too. I think any feminist would
agree that every child needs
more fathering, and every person
needs more examples of nurturing
fathers and working mothers
to get us away from the reversed
stereotypes. Feminists have
always fought against the fact
that the majority of women have
two jobs--one inside the home
and one outside. The solution
means more active participation
from fathers. (This is, of course,
generalized as we also have
many examples of wonderful fathers
and inactive mothers.)
Paying child support should
not be your/a father's only
interaction with your children.
However, I must say that there
are certain instances -- i.e.
when the child's best interest
is being overlooked or manipulating
as in the case of abuse -- where
a parent or both parents should
not be allowed to have a more
intimate relationship with their
I believe there are 20 million
fatherless children, but unlike
you who are actively seeking
to be reunited with your children,
in most instances it is the
children who are truely "fatherless"
and not the father that is "childless."
I am actually a fatherless child--and
I have not missed "my father"
or the "child support" payments.
I have never known my father;
my mother left him two months
before I was born. He was required
to pay child support, but my
mother and I never saw that
or him -- nor did we ever pursue
either of those things. After
spending my life half pretending
that "I don't really get along
with my father" as a way of
avoiding being cursed by society
as a "daugher of a single mother"
and the other half assuming
I was the product of "immaculate
conception" -- I am now content
with the fact that I don't know
my father and probably never
will. I don't feel any less
of a person nor do I feel that
my family is in any way "incomplete."
Of course, that is only me.
I have a wonderful relationship
with my mother and numerous
"other mothers" and " father
figures" in my life.
I don't know if any other above
was helpful to you, but I hope
that the exchange of experiences
is worth something. Good luck
to you -- and I hope that you
are reunited with your children.
It sounds like you would all
benefit from this reunion.