Dear Lois: When my wife and I divorced in 1994, she vowed that I would never see my daughter again. My 13-year-old daughter was told that if she ever visited me she would be abducted to a foreign country and never see her mother or friends. My ex-wife also said I gave away my daughter's bedroom furniture in the property division (this is not true; I think my wife sold the dressers and blames me).
We all live in the same town, and my two sons (ages 18 and 22) come for holiday meals, although with their busy school lives, they rarely return phone calls. My real problem is my daughter. She hangs up the phone if I call. I send her birthday and Christmas gifts and occasionally flowers, which her brothers say she keeps. I think my boys will grow closer in the years ahead, and they think that eventually my daughter will let me into her life. Is there anything more I should be doing? _ Wisconsin Dad
Dear WD: I agree with your sons, and they will undoubtedly be your strongest allies in the years ahead. As your relationship with the sons improves, your daughter may begin to see what she is missing in terms of love and warmth.
Your daughter is obviously torn by loyalty to her mother and a desire for a life that would include you. She has decided to stand by her mother and, as a loving father, all you can do right now is continue to let her know that she is always in your thoughts and that you respect her loyalty to her mother. Even though she may hang up the phone and fail to thank you for gifts, she knows that you've not given up on her. Once she has gone through her turbulent teen years, she may begin to understand better that a father's love is a great support for any maturing female. Be as patient as you can be, and continue to express the deep love you feel and perhaps she, like her brothers, will begin to open the door for you.
Internet may help find father
Dear Lois: My mother died when I turned 14, and two months later I became pregnant. My father never wanted to know anything about the father, so I had no contact with my daughter's father. My daughter, now 29 and HIV-positive, has led a troubled life. She wants desperately to know and see her father, but I don't know how to find him. Do you know of any reputable service that could help? I don't have much money but would sacrifice if I thought I could get results. _ Desperate
Dear Desperate: We have investigated for you and suggest you contact two Internet searches that have worked for many people. Both are owned by Yahoo: http://www.bigfoot.com/ and http://www.four11.com/.
You know that nothing is guaranteed, but we hope this will be a good starting place for you. Best of luck.
If you want to ask Lois a question, share your favorite grandchild story or comment on anything of interest to families, write: Lois Wyse, Third Age News Service, 22 W 23rd St., New York, NY 10010.