Who's Your Daddy?

A good friend adopted a new baby last February. The mother is white and the father is one of three men.

  1. The mother’s boyfriend, who is black.
  2. A married hispanic police officer.
  3. A Native American drug buddy.

The mother is my friend’s niece so they are in contact. The black boyfriend is willing to submit to testing to see if the baby is his. The mother refuses to tell the cop because of his marital status, so there will be no testing. She has no idea where the drug buddy is. She hasn’t seen him for more than a year.

By looking at this little girl, it is all but impossible to tell which man is the father. She does not have any of the prominant features associated with each ethnic group. Her hair is black and slightly curly and her eyes are brown. Her skin color is a light brown. Her facial features look very much like her mother.

My friend would love to know this little girls background. Although she is being raised by a white family, she wants her to be familiar with her heritage.

If the test results from the black man come out positive, problem solved. If not, it still is between a Native American and a Hispanic, neither of which will be tested.

Is there any way to tell which ethinic group a person belongs to without testing the father?

Well TC, aren’t you going to say “Wait til it’s old enough to dance and see if it rains”?

No, but I’m going to ask what ‘boyfriend’, ‘police officer’ or ‘drug buddy’ have to do with anything.

And, I am going to comment that the mother might be expected to have a vague idea who the father is, and if she doesn’t, the adoptive mother doesn’t need to know either. She adopted the little girl. Who cares if she is half Martian?

AND, I am going to suggest that it shouldn’t make a bit of difference. It sounds to me like the mother is already planning to raise what should be ‘her’ daughter in all respects, in a manner that will show the girl she isn’t really part of "our’ family. Bad idea. Serious childhood trauma. When the daughter wants to know, she will find out for herself.

None of my business, though. Nobody died and made me a psychologist.

To answer the OP, I’m reasonably sure the answer is “No.” But I’m not a DNA expert.

And I do think it is relevant which one it is. There have been a number of precedents where a bio sperm donor has come back after the baby is born, and disrupted the adoptive family’s home by saying “I never gave up my parental rights,” even though he might have bugged out months ore more before the child was born.

That scenario doesn’t seem to be in play here. One possible father agreed to take the test. If it’s him, he might successfully petition for visiting rights depending on what the court decides.

The other two potential candidates refuse to take the test and unless one of them can prove he is the father he doesn’t HAVE any parental rights. What would they accrue from? The natural mother might have had some, but I will guess she signed them away in court as part of the legal adoption process. Depending upon the state, if the natural father cannot be determined, several potential fathers probably cannot claim parental rights.

I don’t think his point was about the possible fathers claiming rights, but the definite father claiming rights.
I’m assuming it’s not a brand new baby, otherwise the whole ‘haven’t seen the drug buddy in more than a year’ bit would rule him out.

If she didn’t want to disrupt the cop’s marriage, why’d she sleep with him?


Yes, I’m sure it was. My suggestion is that if no one claims to be the father, or can be proven to be the father, paternal rights are a moot point. I apologize for the last sentence in that paragraph. It was unnecessary and potentially confusing. It was supposed to demonstrate something that it obviously didn’t.

Since a good Pediatrician can usually narrow the time of conception down to one 24 hour period in a month, the mother must have had a particularly interesting time that week.

I read the question as being more theoretical than practical.

Physical anthropology as it applies to “race”, according to a college class I took long ago, is more of a statistical concept that anything else. That is, if you want to try to define a person’s ethnic origins by physical charateristics, you find things like “persons of African/Asian/Native American/European origin tend to have…” such-and-such characteristics, with the emphasis on the “tend to”. And they aren’t always the charateristics you’d expect: things like shape of incisors, predominant blood type in a given population, slight curves to the femur, etc. So in a theoretical sense, the best the adoptive parents could do is to say the kid has some indefinite probability of belonging to one or another ethnic group based on various peculiar factors.

As a practical matter, I have to side with those saying “Who cares?”. The race is “Human”.

In Greek, the word for “nation” is “Ethnos”. (A prominent Athenian newspaper is so named.) For many Greeks, nationality and what we call ethnicity are one in the same. Some Greeks claim to be able to tell a person’s nationality (their “ethnos”; their “nation”) just by looking at them. (I reckon in practice this is really more of a matter of how their subject is dressed, but whatever.) I remember once being told that I had “Greek arms, but an Irish head” (I’m an American of German origin).

A few points:

(1) The birth mother is a drug addict who was sleeping with the three men on a regular basis. Unless there is a way to narrow conception down to the hour, there is no way of figuring it out by days of gestation.

(2) The reason I mentioned “married cop” and “drug buddy” (for those who fail to see the reasoning) is to show that there really is no way to bring these fathers in for testing.

(3) It wasn’t her choice to distrupt the cop’c marriage. HE befriended HER and let’s just say used his influence to keep her out of jail.

(4) The waiting period for the final adoption is almost completed. There will be no father coming forward to claim the baby. The boyfriend is a drug dealer and pimp living in Los Angeles with the birth mother, they are both strung out on meth. He has made it very clear that he does not want this child. The cop has everthing to lose, his family, his job, etc. He doesn’t even know. The drug buddy has not been seen for almost a year and is probably dead.

(5) The reason the adoptive mother wants to find out is so the baby (who is 9 months old) will know her back ground. Yes, she will be raised in a white family, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t know and be proud of her heritage.

The baby is obviously of mixed race. To say that she should be satisfied with ONLY the “human race” title, is denying her from knowing the traditions and history of 1/2 of who she is. Yep, just sweep it under the rug. Ignore half of who she is. Accept the fact that she was adopted by a white family and now call her white. When older and asked about her background, should she have to explain that she may be black, hispanic or native American?

Should blacks, orientals, hispanics, give up theirs traditions and knowing their history and just be satisfied with “human race”? Why?

Sorry, I agree the idea of “human race” makes one feel all warm and cuddly and so P.C., but I strongly believe that while we are all part of the human race, ethnic groups should keep their past alive. They have nothing to be a shamed of an no reason to turn their back on their heritage.

(Thank you tc for confirming my impression of your intelligence.)

Oh, and I would like a cite for this statement.

First of all, Diane, I’d be very concerned for my friend and her child. Here in Ohio, we have Baby Justin who will undoubtedly be returned to his biological mother after three years because the biological father claimed he was not informed he had a child. (She had listed paternity as “unknown” and later gotten back together with this guy.) And since he could not legally give up his rights to the child, having not been told, then the courts will probably nullify the adoption agreement and returning the baby to the Asentes.

I can see one of the potential fathers claiming that he didn’t KNOW that he was the father, and if he HAD known 100%, he’d have fought for him. Blah blah blah.

If I were in a similar situation to your friend, I would hire an attorney pronto to force these men to submit to a paternity test, establish paternity, and then have them legally sign away rights to this child. The married man can probably do so without telling his wife, I believe. (I don’t think SHE’D have an interest in this case, though stranger things have happened.) In adoptions, it’s very, very important to do get all the i’s crossed at the beginning so we don’t have heart-wrenching cases like the one I’ve described.

Good luck! Sorry I hijacked your thread.

No problem about the hijack.

My friend has a lawyer who has been doing a lot of leg work between here and California to make sure those "i"s are dotted.

The birth mother doesn’t know the last name of the drug buddy. They have been looking for him since before the baby was born. They have not been able to find him and rumor is, is that he moved somewhere east and died from an suicide. Without knowing his last name (those who know him refuse to tell or don’t know), they have had no luck in checking death records.

I’m not too sure about the cop, but he has threatened the birth mother that he will have someone “take care of her” or have her put away for a long period of time if she ever tells of their affair. From what I know of the situation, there is no way he would take the risk.

Time will tell, I guess.

"Should blacks, orientals, hispanics, give up theirs traditions and knowing their history and just be satisfied with “human race”? Why?

Sorry, I agree the idea of “human race” makes one feel all warm and cuddly and so P.C., but I strongly believe that while we are all part of the human race, ethnic groups should keep their past alive. They have nothing to be a shamed of an no reason to turn their back on their heritage."

Just to be clear, I didn’t suggest turning one’s back on or being ashamed of anything. IMHO, part of being a decent person (human being) means being able to respect and celebrate anyone’s traditions. I don’t mind celebrating Cinco de Mayo, even though I’m not Hispanic. St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have a “Whites Only” sign on it, nor do Christmas sales say “Jews pay full price”.

I concur that it’d be nice to know, but I doubt if any harm would result of never knowing for sure. If it was up to me, I’d celebrate whatever I could for the kid so long as it was sincere. So if you don’t like “human”, then try “all of the above”.

I never thought anyone would call me “PC”!

JCHeckler - That is the type of answer I am looking for, whether it is possible to check for ethnic back ground by looking for things that are common in certain races (certain bone measurement, etc).

A good example is my nephew who is 1/2 full blooded Crow Indian. He has the very distinctive dark area on his lower back and the back of his head is slightly flattened, both are traits that the Crow carry.

And JFTR, my brother is the sole parent of his son. The mother does not make contact with him at all. None of us knew anything about the Crow people until my nephew’s birth 10 years ago but since then, along with my nephew, have learned quite a lot about his back ground. In no way has this caused my nephew to feel different from the rest of the family or as tc suggested caused “serious childhood trauma”. In fact, it has had quite the opposite effect. He is proud of his heritage.

The fact that my nephew does not see his mother does not make him any less Crow. He has no reason to be ashamed or hide his back ground and I find it a little offensive that there are certain posters who believe that ethnic groups should turn their backs on their back ground and just go under the generic title of “human race”.

Most of us DO belong to the “human race” (others we are still trying to figure out, not mentioning any names :::cough tc cough::: - I’M KIDDING! Sheesh), but that doesn’t mean that we should all abandon the things that make us unique, including our ethnic backgrounds. To do so will eventually turn us all into a boring pile of beige.

Actually, it’s very simple.

There are three fathers behind three curtains.
Bob Barker opens up one of the curtains, and reveals
whether that man is the father…

Pardon my interruption Diane… but I really really hope that the mom is now on a triple-redundancy birth-control method. I wouldn’t wish her situation on anyone.

Big hugs to your friend for adopting this baby. We need more loving adults like her in this world.

As for trying to figure out the baby’s father… if she can be patient, it’s quite possible that certain racial characteristics will come to bear once the baby starts getting a bit older. Having lived in Hawaii where there were so many interracial people, I think you can start to tell by the time they’re in school.

… is it really so important to know the sperm donor’s race? PCisms aside, I think it’s more important that the baby be raised in the adopted parents’ culture. What’s on the outside isn’t as important as what’s on the inside.

I’m not getting into the debate over whether the child/family should be concerned over the father’s race, and I’m not even touching the PC issues, since an ass-whuppin’ would ensue.

Screw it, I’ll get into the debate and weigh in on the side of ‘I don’t know why it’s that big a deal’. :slight_smile: However, here’s my non-hijack part of the post…

Short answer: don’t look to anthropology to solve this problem. At least, not forensic anthropology.

Forensic anthropologists have determined certain groups (complexes) of traits that are more typical of certain ethnic backgrounds. That being said, if someone looks at a skeleton, nods sagely, and says ‘this fellow was a middle-aged Asian man of moderate height’ or such, they’re yanking your chain. The skeletal characteristics, as someone else mentioned, are all indications that weigh one’s decision. To add to the difficulty, while a living person of Japanese descent isn’t horribly difficult to tell from a living person of native american descent under most situations, their skeletons are much more similar than one would expect. Same goes for people of Indian descent and caucasians.

Now, with the relative imperfection in this system, add in the difficulty of the child being a combination of two of these complexes, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a reliable answer.

Is this possible even when the mother does not know the date of the first day of her last monthly period? The birth mother doesn’t strike me as a real records-keeping-type person.