Name: Herbert Dalusma | City: Delray Beach, Florida | IG: @Herb1k
What does being a father mean to you?
Honestly, it means just about everything to me. Having a child brings out the best in you, you have something to strive for. Each and every day I wake up, I have a bigger purpose and reason why I need to be better than I was yesterday. Being a father to me is being able to love, to support, to cherish, and to lead. Ensuring that sense of security your child needs in their development. The road is not always the easiest but, seeing your child’s happiness from the bond you have is everlasting.
Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.
Growing up my father was always working mainly two jobs all my life, and there were times where I wondered why he worked so much, but it was to ensure the security of our family. One thing I must say my father always held me accountable and taught me how to lead by example, even if you’re placed in situations that are unjust. That impacted me so much today in a sense, that makes me fight through adversity and I forever cherish and appreciate that.
What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?
One of the things I’ve taken into my journey is patience. Not every journey will be easy but being patient you can overcome those obstacles. My connection with my daughter has been challenging due to issues of the mother not wanting me around in her early months of life. So it was hard figuring out what soothes my daughter but the patience I’ve seen my father had helped me quickly break through those challenges.
Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?
Since day one I’ve been denied my rights of being there for my child from a failed relationship. Before the birth of my daughter, I left my job my family and everything I had to move to Tampa FL, where my child’s mother was so I can be closer to her. I was asked by my child’s mother to move to Tampa and leave my job and I did just that to be there for her. Her family promised me a job at their company and a place to stay and I worked there for about 2 weeks, later to be fired and kicked out because the daughter no longer wanted to be with me. Let me further explain, two weeks after my daughter was born she began crying around 2 am in the morning I went to check in the baby, and my ex-fiancé at the time, “ her mother” said to me, that’s not your child, don’t touch her! So I asked her mother if that’s not my child and if you don’t want to be with me, just give me the ring back and I’ll leave you alone.
She then yelled for her parents and said I yelled at her and said I don’t want to be with her and they kicked me out of their house and didn’t pay me my last week of work from working for them. I lived in my car homeless for 2 weeks with no place to go and a new baby, I still never left the area and still made attempts to be apart of my child’s life. I was constantly denied the right to see her and if given the opportunity to see her they rushed my time and gave me excuses on why I need to leave. I still continued to fight and eventually within 3 months got an apartment for us to work it out as a family. The apartment was not in my name due to credit issues I had from college, but I paid all the bills and supported my child’s mother and her and gave her the ability to be a stay at home mom and have healthcare paid for by me. Things just started going in a better direction but I was always limited to what I can do with my child and controlled by her mother and her mother’s family.
They never allowed my child to come around my family, without rushing them to leave. It made me feel like her family is the only family that matters in my child’s development. I still never stopped trying. Things with my child’s mother were never the best because we only truly tried for the sake of the child. There will be times the mother of my child would just leave for weeks at a time and block me with my child and I had no idea where they went. Still, I never gave up and tried to work it out with my child’s mother despite everything.
Fast forward to my daughter’s 1st birthday my family drove four hours to see my daughter on her birthday, and the mother of my child would not let my family see her or play with my child. Instead, she went in the house and separated my daughter from my family while they had to wait outside. That hurt me but yet I still tried for the sake of my daughter. After that I mentioned to my child’s mother that we are not happy and we are just damaging our daughter being together. Since that day things got worse. I received threats from her family forcing me to move out of my own apartment I paid for. I was denied the right to see my child.
Then COVID came around and my child’s mother used COVID as a reason why I can’t see my daughter. When she did allow me to see her she sprayed me with Lysol and gave me a time limit on how long I can see her. Every time I would leave my daughter would scream and cry. After that, it led to weeks to months without even being able to see her or talk to her via FaceTime. I still never stopped trying, in fact so much I took it to court to fight for my rights to be in my daughter’s life.
What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?
No matter what don’t give up. It won’t make sense to your child now but in the long run, it will. My love I have for my daughter and the support system I have around are reasons why I made it this far and won’t stop!
If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?
I want to say thank you for teaching me Patience, Forgiveness, and Humbleness. Those few characteristics you taught me made me a better man today and I forever thank you.
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