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My son is 2 years old. I do not know who his father is, however I know a person it could potentially be.

I am in a deep struggle about whether to get a DNA test or not. When I got pregnant with my son I was on drugs and the persons it could potentially be were also doing drugs. I have totally changed my life around: been sober for 2 years, involved in church, work full time and go to school.

I have since talked to this man and can tell he is not into drugs like he used to be and even has a daughter of his own and seems to be a good father. I struggle because with everything I have changed in the last 2 years to protect my son (people I have let go, the fact that I never leave my son unless it's for work or school) well it really scares me the possibilities that could come up from this situation.

Now I will say that I don't know what this man is into or for that matter if he's into anything at all. It just scares me what could possibly happen. My son is my whole life and he is loved by many and can feel that love.

My question is: does a child have the right to know who their father is whether or not he is a good or a bad person?

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    Please, look if I understood you correctly: you're asking if there are benefits on asking someone to test for DNA and verify if he is the father of your son. Is that it? – woliveirajr Sep 2 '14 at 16:28
  • Probably best to keep the past in the past, especially if drug use and/or abuse was involved. At two years old your child doesn't have rights to anything but love, education, food, water, and shelter. – justathought May 14 '18 at 21:24
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My son is my whole life and he is loved by many and can feel that love but my question is does a child have the right to know who their father is whether or not he is a good or bad person.

There's not enough information available about the person you suspect may be the father, nor about how likely you feel it is that this person is the father. Nor do we know anything about whether the man would even be willing to participate in the paternity test, or if you've discussed it with him at all.

Whether or not you try to get a DNA test is up to you, and any advice you get here will just be opinions. There's just not enough information to go by to even give you an informed opinion.

However, to address the question I quoted above, about whether a child has the right to know who their father is...

It's not a matter of the child's "right". Many children grow up never knowing who one or both of their parents are. Talking about it as his "right" is probably not the best way to look at the situation, especially since you don't even know (yet) if this person is the father. What if he isn't?

What matters is: will it be good for your son?

That's almost impossible to say, especially given that you don't know much about this guy, or how he'd react.

So instead, look at it the other way: will it be bad for your son if he doesn't know who his father is?

In my opinion, the answer is a qualified "no".

Sure, he'll wonder. He may even be sad about not knowing at some points in his life.

But the important thing is that he has people in his life who love him and support him. Knowing the name of the man who fathered him doesn't provide that.

For that matter, being the biological father doesn't equate to being an actual father.

Someone who is involved in his life, whether a grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin, or even just a good friend of the family, who can be a supportive and nurturing resource is worth far, far more than whoever may have contributed some DNA if that person isn't involved in their life.

Realistically, if you don't have any expectation of rekindling a relationship (romantic or platonic), the biggest benefit to finding out who the father might be is for purposes of establishing a medical history of the family, so that doctors can help identify potential risk factors. Even that doesn't count as a benefit if you don't think you could have that dialog with the guy at some point.

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    Question and answer is inherently biased against fathers, Mother has admitted to a past that involved drug abuse and addiction but there seems to be no question of if it is a good thing that she is in her son's life. So why is any potential father condemned for making the same mistakes. Fathers love their children and children love their fathers for the most part, every relationship has good and bad points to it so don't expect the perfect father, but that doesn't mean the person she has in mind can't have a positive influence in her and his? child's life. – user1450877 Sep 4 '14 at 13:06
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    Also saying that it won't have a negative effect growing up not knowing who your father is makes you completely ignorant. – user1450877 Sep 4 '14 at 13:09
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    @user1450877 As a side-note, we are all entitled to our opinions. Calling someone who has an opinion that differs from yours "completely ignorant", however, is not an entitlement. It is rude, and rude behavior is not welcome here. – user420 Sep 4 '14 at 13:51
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    I'm with @user1450877. You are saying that a father should be someone who is in a child's life... yet if the person isn't even told about a child they aren't given that choice at all. Unless the OP explicitly notes that the father was informed AND refused to be a part of child's life, you're passing unwarranted judgement. – user3143 Sep 4 '14 at 21:28
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    Rereading this answer, I realized I omitted an important qualifier on one of my statements that may be what is making people see this as some sort of attack or judgement on fathers or the role of fathers (which I, as a father, would be pretty unlikely to knowingly do). When I said that people involved in a child's life are more important than someone who contributed DNA, I accidentally omitted a very important part of that sentence: "if that person isn't involved in their life." I have fixed that, and I apologize if it seemed I was saying "fathers aren't important"; that was not my intent. – user420 Sep 5 '14 at 12:16
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Let me tell you a (true) story about my uncle. One day he ran into an ex of his at a place he went to all the time. They had both changed their lives a lot since the days they had been together. They caught up over coffee, and later she called him and asked him to visit or spend time with her in some non dating way (I forget the details, maybe can you give me a ride to X or would you like to come to this sporting event I have an extra ticket for). Just as friends. (I think they were both dating other people at the time.) After 4 or 5 times seeing each other like this she mentioned she was a single parent and her kid really needed father figures in his life. Then she invited him to the zoo with her and the child. He liked the kid a lot and they got on well so these sorts of visit continued for almost a year. Again, they were not dating, they were friends, and he was being a male figure in the kid's life just as a friend.

One day she said to him "Are you ever going to ask me?" And he was like "huh? what?" and she went on to remind him the child's age. Nothing. Date of birth. Nothing. Reminded him when they broke up. "Ohhhhh." It had apparently not occurred to him. A test was done, nobody was surprised at the result, and presto - I had a new cousin, who by this time was 8 or 9 years old.

Some variation on this plan might allow you to evaluate what kind of person this possible father is, and whether he would even like to be in your lives. If he turns out to be a great guy, you won't be risking anything by letting him know your belief he may be the father. If he wants nothing to do with you, well then you know that he wants nothing to do with you, right?

  • This is an interesting idea, but one thing to keep in mind is that the guy may want nothing to do with you for the sake of a relationship (or friendship) with you specifically, but have a completely different perspective and be involved as a father if he knows this is his child. – mayabelle Sep 16 '14 at 16:02

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