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By Renaldo Rucker, Jr., M.Ed.

Straight facts, no fiction: a little more than 17 years ago, I was told I could be the father of the child in question by his mother. She was early in her pregnancy and had not been to the doctor yet.

After going to the doctor, she was given the probable time period of conception. Based on that information, she informed me that she was pretty sure the father was the other man she was now dating.

I was in the process of getting full custody of my four-year-old daughter and was consumed with taking care of her and handling my responsibilities as a single father. In addition, I had already been through a paternity situation prior where I had cut the umbilical cord, signed the birth certificate, and later found out the child was not mine. So to be told the child was not mine, I went ahead and took that as a fact.

Seventeen years later, a good friend tells me he knows of the current father on record and heard he has been denying paternity. He said the father believed the child was another man’s kid. This father on record was told the same thing I was told. He was also told another man could be the potential father before she gave birth, so his hesitation was something I too understood.

“It is my belief that we all need to know our true identity of where we came from and all that we are.”

My travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the Black Massacre Centennial was part of that journey towards holistic healing. This paternity pursuit is just another step towards wholeness.

With this information, I followed up with the mother of the child. She confirmed that this father has been missing in action for several years and has denied paternity of the child, on and off, for the past several years.

She also confirmed that there was never a paternity test done on this child.

“Immediately, I stated that I wanted to get a paternity test done to dispel all doubts. However, I was met with resistance.”

The child’s mother didn’t want to work together in doing the paternity test. We were planning to do without the child knowing so we could have the information first and decide how to share it, if deemed necessary. Had the test showed that I was in fact not the father, I planned to go about life as usual.

The mother changed her mind and stopped returning and responding to my calls and messages, so I let her know I would be going through the courts. Luckily my resolve was sturdier due to previous experience. With this experience I knew the courts would do a paternity test if I put myself on child support, so that is the route I took.

To my dismay, back in 2016, an order was sent out to the father on record and he never responded.

Thus, they labeled Edward Spruell IV the biological father by default. Due to this finding, I now have to serve both the mother and Edward in order to move forward with this court case. 

To serve both parties, I needed to gather their addresses. Edward’s address was extremely difficult to locate. With that fact, I have to publish this information in the local paper of Edward’s most likely place of residence.

This has been a tedious and unjust process for someone trying to establish paternity in order to own up to their responsibility. Nonetheless, here is my notice.

I look forward to establishing the truth. Also, I look forward to fathers getting a much fairer chance of a healthy and positive relationship with their biological children in the near future.

This is especially needed when I learn that there are up to 20% of children with the wrong father identified by the mother. 

“My goal is only one of justice and the most optimal health for all parties involved.”

I’ve already been extremely blessed to be the father of a 21-year-old daughter. It’s been so rewarding, beneficial, and transformative for the better in my opinion. Based on frequent comments from others, I would say that my opinion is factual. My only hope is to be able to provide this same outcome for this young man in question.

I’m a current high school teacher in the same city as him. He is a current high school senior. I will have to leave the story here for now.

Thank you in advance for being a part of this journey in the most uplifting of ways.  

The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...

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