Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Whose baby are you raising?

THERE is a story I heard about a young man who inherited his mother’s estate following her death a couple of years ago.

The estate comprised a house in the northern suburbs, a beautifully-built village in their rural home, and a couple of vehicles, furniture and cash.

He was the only boy out of the six children. His father, who died earlier, loved this young man so much because he would carry his legacy through his grandchildren and maintain the family name.

But the truth was only revealed much later when some wealthy man, emerged from the blues claiming that he was the biological father of this young man.

Although there had been talk about doubts of his paternity within the extended family, it was difficult to convince their relative that the child he was raising was not his because to him he was the dream every man yearns for…. a boy child.
Whose baby are you raising?

He was tall, very light and had a very long neck, a feature that somehow matched his maternal uncles. The other five girl children had strong features of their dad. They were short, stout and very dark in complexion.

The man insisted on paternity tests which the young man refused to adhere to.
But one of the young man’s sister’s took one of the young man’s children that he had borne with one of his girlfriends, only to discover that their DNA did not match with theirs.
That is when all hell broke loose.

A meeting was convened with elders from the rural home to discuss this problem. When the wealthy man walked into the meeting, the gathering was startled by the resemblance this man had with this young man.
He even brought along two of his four other sons who just fit the jig saw puzzle.

There was no doubt he was the biological father of this young man.
But why did he take this long to raise this matter?

The man explained that they were both in high school doing upper six when the woman fell pregnant, although she was seeing another man who was already studying at a local university.
Because he was not ready to accept responsibility, he told her to immediately break the news to her steady boyfriend who took her in soon after graduation. They had a lavish wedding and bore five children.

The two ex-lovers were in constant communication about the child although they were not sure how to break the news.

He said it was a matter that troubled him so much that he was willing to pay for everything and reverse the inheritance by giving it to its rightful owners.

There was a near fist-fight but the culprit that had committed this sin was dead. The matter was resolved amicably by paying a huge amount of US dollars, a new house for the five girls in Borrowdale, furnished to the brim, cars replaced and so on.

And off he went with his son. They are now settled in some overseas country although this young man keeps in touch with the sisters he grew up with.

Recently, the Harare Civil Courts revealed that 72% of men were exonerated from paternity by the tests but this had happened after they had forked out so much money in the form of maintenance.

Paternity testing can determine whether or not a particular man is the biological father of a child. This procedure involves collecting and examining the DNA of a small sample of bodily fluid or tissue from a child and the potential father.

DNA is the unique genetic “fingerprint” that makes up a person’s genes and chromosomes. When a baby is conceived, each parent passes on half of his/her DNA to the baby, whose genetic code (DNA) is a shared mix of only its mother’s and father’s DNA.

By collecting and examining a small sample of DNA from the baby and the potential father, a paternity test can confirm or disprove that the potential father is indeed the biological father of the baby.

DNA testing is generally considered to be the most accurate testing method available.

DNA paternity testing can indicate that a man is highly likely to be the father with about 99,9% accuracy or that he is excluded as being the father with 100% accuracy.

The question is why would a woman hide the fact that her unborn child belongs to another man?
Could fear be the reason?

If a woman is in a permanent relationship she may be afraid to disclose her unfaithfulness to her partner because she knows she risks losing him.

Men are generally less forgiving than women when it comes to unfaithfulness.
Greed also has a part to play in all this.

There are stories of women who will demand maintenance from more than one man for one child.
Yes, this is happening in Zimbabwe.

“Some people must have everything: security and forbidden adventure. From Mr Security the woman gets a stable home life, while Mr Adventure provides sensual fun and a baby as a bonus.
“Unfortunately, Mr Adventure will only be a temporary fling.

When Ms Unfaithful realises that she’s expecting Mr Adventure’s child she knows that it will be in her best interest to lie to Mr Security that this is his baby. Mr Security will gladly accept the baby and give it a good start in life thinking that it’s his,” says Parent 24, an online website.

The website notes that the following scenarios would ring alarm bells and demand a Paternity test.

If the child resembles some ex-boyfriend.
If a bouncing healthy baby is born six months after conception.

Family members constantly planting doubts in my mind saying “Who does this baby look like?”

A woman who works for a local laboratory in Harare says there has been an upsurge in demand for paternity tests by men, especially the affluent and rich, who bring the children for blood tests first and when in doubt proceed to paternity tests which I am reliably informed are conducted in a neighbouring country.

But what effects does this have on a child that is found in the centre of all these misunderstandings?
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