A man called me to ask for help, not for himself but for his daughter. She was going to have a baby in September, he said, and she needed a decent place to live. The father of the baby had gone to Florida and had no intention of returning. He wanted nothing to do with the woman he'd left behind, nor with the child he had produced.
The man's daughter was living in a mobile home where the floor was falling in. She had no place else to go. She had been working, but she'd experienced some spotting and was prescribed bed rest and had to quit her job. I asked whether she would receive child support. It wouldn't be easy to get child support from an absconded ex-boyfriend in another state. The man said he was disabled and unable to help his daughter, who faces a lifetime of anxiety, poverty and regrets.
I was not able to provide the immediate help the man sought, but I referred him to agencies that might be able to help and suggested that his daughter see an attorney who could begin proceedings to gain child support and government benefits.
I doubt that I will hear from the man again. I hope he finds some help for his daughter, but he and I both know that, even if she is successful in obtaining the charity and benefits she needs, she and her child face a lifetime of difficulties. She may find that her love for this new child will overwhelm the regrets and the burdens of her situation, but her situation will be unchanged — young, poor and lacking the support and love of her child's father, she will feel betrayed and angry. Hers is a situation that can be ameliorated by some assistance, determination and luck, but it cannot be undone.