In Summary
  • You need to get full legal paperwork for your son because in most African traditions children belong to the fathers’ clan.
  • After that you can discuss with your new husband about adopting the child.
  • Understand that children have a linage ‘traditional identity’ that must be protected from emotional relationships.
  • Do not move with them like handbags.

Dear Heart to Heart, I am married but have a child from a previous relationship. Before marriage, my husband promised to care for my son but shortly after the wedding, he told me he does not have money to look after him and I should only bring him to stay with us when I start earning my own money. Ironically, he is planning to bring his sister to stay with us. He speaks highly of his children but when I speak about my son he ignores me. Recently, I brought my son over for a visit and he was so cold towards him. I am currently pregnant and working at his company without pay so I cannot afford to look after my son. What should I do? Anonymous

Owor Paskar. No African man will easily accept a child from another man no matter how much he loves you. Therefore, if you are getting married, do not bring another man’s child to your new husband’s house

Muyama Bridget Martha. If he cannot take care of your son, how does working without pay help you? Women seriously need stability before jumping into marriage because when a man wants to achieve his goal, he will say anything.

Sonia Kimasisi. Depending on men is ancient my dear. The digital era favours liberal-minded women who are capable of taking care of themselves and their children. Get out of your comfortable zone and hustle for yourself and your child or children.

Lisa Ru. I believe he should care for your son too, because you are working, even if he does not give you salary. So for the appreciation of you as a person and for your work, he should be kinder to your son. If he refuses, take time to look for a job that actually pays you.

Akera John. What appreciation is he is going to get from the father of your son and your relatives for taking care of your son? They will come and take him and the law favours them on this. Stay in your marriage because it is your relatives’ job to take care of your son.

Bekah Skye. If both parties came into a relationship with children then the man should honour his promise. How does he expect you to take care of his kids, be a mother to them yet he has refused to be a father to yours?

Sarah Masaba. It is not easy to look after a child that is not yours. Your husband has looked at the future and you should not blame him.

Bonnie Ogwang. The only advice I can give you is to consider looking for another job so that you are able to earn your own money. Also consider leaving your child with his grandparents if they are alive. I know you want your son to be near you but there are things you cannot force.
Byz Johnny. Why are you working at his company without pay yet he cannot take care of your son saying you should start working? Grow up and leave that job and the marriage.

Drichi Stephen Maku. If I may ask, where is the father of your son? He may be correct to tell you what he thinks is true. Your son could be a liability to him, why not allow his father to carry his own cross other than stressing your husband. If you do not play your game well, you will lose your marriage.

Patrick Nakari. Just trust time, if he gets to know that you are not happy with his attitude towards your son and he truly cares for your happiness, he will start caring for him.

Fananda Lubeck. He is disrespectful to you and does not love you. Why would you work for free? You need to be independent and earn your own money so that you can leave that marriage and look after your son.

Griffin Edgar. A man who truly loves can even take care of your neighbours if he has the capacity to do so. Secondly, you must always discuss the issue of children before marrying someone. This way you can clearly tell the man that to marry him, he has to take care of your child or children.

Don Patrick. Let him know your relationship with him is important but your son is what matters the most. Where does he expect the child to acquire his necessities and live a normal life?

Jafrah Kei. Your son’s wellbeing comes first. Do not put that man above your son.

Nampa Patience Natie. Try looking elsewhere for a job where you will get paid for your work so that you are able to look after your son. But if it is possible for your son to live elsewhere and be looked after well, you would rather go with that to avoid any quarrels or stress as a result of your husband not getting along with him.

Atoo Otika. The issue of your son should have been discussed and agreed on before marriage. You both needed to reach a mutual agreement about your son before marriage. Both of you were selfish and did not consider him, the reason you are now facing these challenges.

Diana Kaggwa. There are many men who will want you with your child but your focus should not be on any man but rather on developing yourself and your child. You are alive and you can lift your child up instead of remaining in that man’s house.

Jimmy Etc
Do not force him

Dear Anonymous, you need to get full legal paperwork for your son because in most African traditions children belong to the fathers’ clan. After that you can discuss with your new husband about adopting the child. Understand that children have a linage ‘traditional identity’ that must be protected from emotional relationships. Do not move with them like handbags.