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Hello, I am glad I came across your website. Most of the questions you have posted and answered are pretty straight forward and informative. My question comes from a personal problem I have been facing for several years now. My first wife enrolled our two children on welfare and abducted them. I haven't seen them for several years. I have been communicating with dozens of different attorneys and fathers' rights organizations. I have come to learn that this is a national issue, there have been over 20 million fatherless children in this generation alone. Since women raise the vast majority of children into parenthood, I am interested in how, as feminist, do you address this issue? Is fatherlessness considered a social problem under feminism?

The point of my question is, I used to listen to Tammy Bruce on the radio and she seems to be 'unsettled' because her father was not there when she was growing up. But she never made it clear if it was her father she missed or the child support. I am paying child support to the DAs office for my two children. As a male feminist does this fulfill my duties as the father? Does feminism defend my right to continue to father children as I want as long as I pay child support? I believe the biggest problem with the fathers' rights and christian groups is that they don't take a moral or legal stand one way or the other fathering and child support. What is the feminist roll for the father? To pay child support or to raise children?

Thanks 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 child.

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.



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