I am twenty-seven years old, and my wife and I have a five-year-old and a one-year-old. I also have a nine-year-old daughter that lives with her mother and her presumed father in another country. When we were together, she was getting separated from her husband and she got pregnant. Later she got back with him and they moved to another country.

I want to know how my daughter is. I want to hug her…. I want to contact them and tell them that I want to see my daughter, but I know it will destroy their home, and I don’t want that…. My wife is uncomfortable when I bring up this subject. I haven’t done anything for nine years; it’s time to do something. Give me some advice, please.

Dear Friend,

It is wonderful that you have a loving wife and two small children! You have a lot to be thankful for. Hopefully your wife knows that you are thankful and that you are devoted to your family.

When you chose to have sexual relations with a woman you were not married to, you chose to put yourself in your current situation. You chose to risk having a child that you may never see. You chose to take the chance that you might never even know what happened to that child. In other words, you chose exactly what you got.

Now it turns out that you have some kind of fatherly instinct about this presumed daughter. But there are several problems. The most significant is that you have no idea if the girl is really your biological daughter. You have no way of knowing whether the girl’s mother also had sexual relations with her husband close to the time that she was with you. She may have told you that she didn’t, but how can you be sure? She was unfaithful and cheating and lying to her husband, so how can you trust anything she said to you?

The next significant problem is that the girl is legally the child of the man whom you call her presumed father. That man was married to the girl’s mother when the baby was born, so he is legally her father. He has taken care of the child for nine years, so he is the only father she has ever known.

Unless this girl is told someday that you are her biological father, you have no legal or moral right to contact her, disrupt her life, or get your curiosity satisfied. If you had not had sexual relations with a woman to whom you were not married, you would not have ever had to suffer this consequence.

When we choose to have a personal relationship with God, through His Son Jesus Christ, we come to understand that He prescribed Biblical standards for morality so that we might avoid this kind of situation. If your heart is hurt, or you feel grief, we recommend that you lean upon God to be your strength and your salvation. Ask Him to forgive you for all your sins, and to let you start over with a clean slate. Follow His example and be a loving father to the two children who call you daddy.

We wish you well,