(Barbados Nation) After 176 days of fighting for the right to be a father to his child, the effort has paid off for a 31-year-old Guyanese man.
Last week, Marvin Bristol held his son for the first time, and broke down in tears.
Bristol had known he was the father to a child left abandoned at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) since last September, based on a privately conducted DNA test.
The baby was wrapped in a blanket minutes after birth, and abandoned by his mother near an elevator on Ward C6 of the QEH on August 29.
Now, the father has finally claimed the six-month-old toddler as his own.
Father and son were united for the first time last week when Bristol earned the right to register the child and take custody of the boy he had long-named Jonathan Nathaniel.
Bristol’s plight became a talking-point last year after the story about the baby was published in the Press.
After giving birth and abandoning the baby, the mother who is from Guyana, left Barbados for her hometown the next day, claiming the child had died at birth.
The toddler became a ward of the state two weeks after he was abandoned, and was in the care of the Child Care Board until Bristol’s never-ending parental instinct saw him make three trips between Guyana and Barbados, in an effort to earn custody.
“I actually thought this would never happen. Deep in my mind, I wanted so badly to get my son, but with the stuff I had to go through, I honestly had my doubts this day would come,” an emotional Bristol told the Weekend Nation in an exclusive interview as he cradled the child.
He said things finally started to go his way on February 16, less than 24 hours after a story in the Daily Nation outlined the problems he was having registering the child despite the DNA test clearly indicating he was the child’s father.
“After that story was published, the red tape was washed away. The police came to me and finally produced the DNA results of the saliva sample I had given them, and I took the results to the registry, again showing them I had proof I was the father.”
According to Bristol, he was then able to swear on an affidavit as to the identity of the child’s mother, which allowed him to have the name of both parents on the boy’s birth certificate.
After that, it was off to the Child Care Board where Bristol saw his son for the first time.
“Now that this is over, I can get my life back on track, and try to be the best father I can be. My son is smiling in my arms, so this is one of the best days in my life.”
Both parents name are on the birth certificate, but Bristol said he had no problem with that even though his mother had abandoned the baby.
“It would not have been easy growing up without that, so I decided I prefer that my son not have to go through life with the name of his mother on a birth certificate being Jane Doe,” he said.