I have an eighteen-month-old daughter from an extramarital relationship. When she was born, her biological father refused to give her his last name, but today I got the court to mandate child support from him. The rejection from her father’s family caused me to legally seek to deny him any visitation with her. I ask God for wisdom to help me nurture my beautiful daughter, but I adamantly refuse for her to have present or future contact with these people who rejected her like that.

I am fighting to take away all the father’s paternal rights and to give my daughter my last name again so that she will never know about her paternal family. Am I doing the right thing for her? I love her, and don’t want her to grow up being hurt by them.

Dear Friend,

You say that you want your daughter to grow up without being hurt. It’s too late for that. When you chose to create a new human being with a man who didn’t want a child, you chose to have that child feel hurt for her entire life.

You cannot shelter your daughter from hurt by denying her any contact with her father or his family. If you do, she will be hurt because she doesn’t have a father. She will grow up wondering why other children have a daddy, but she doesn’t. When she is old enough to understand, she will wonder why her father rejected her. There will be a void in her life that she may seek to fill with all the wrong kinds of love. So unless you find a loving stepfather who chooses to adopt your daughter and treat her as his own, your daughter will suffer because she has no father.

If your daughter’s biological father is a bad person, then prove it in court and have his parental rights taken away. But if he is just a man who didn’t plan to have a child, then that does not disqualify him as a suitable father. If he is just a man who made a mistake and then tried to cover it up, that doesn’t disqualify him as a father. And if his family rejected you for taking the man to court, that doesn’t disqualify them either. That wasn’t about your daughter; it was about you.

His family probably doesn’t approve of you because you got pregnant and caused a problem for the man. There is still a double standard that puts all the blame for unwanted pregnancies on the woman, and though it is unfair, it is the way many people think.

You are angry and bitter. You have been treated badly. It is the right thing to compel your daughter’s father to pay child support, but it is also the right thing to encourage him to have a relationship with his daughter. Sometimes men don’t get attached until the child is a little older, but unless he is a bad man, your daughter needs to have him in her life. If you truly want the best for her, as you say you do, put aside your anger and hurt feelings and do what you can to encourage the man to have an active relationship with his daughter.

God, our Heavenly Father, will forgive us for all the wrongs we have committed, but we must be willing to forgive others. Ask Him to forgive you and to help you forgive the man and his family. Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness brings peace.

We wish you the best,