SPECIAL GUEST: Kathy Holmes, author of MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS

I am happy to have a special guest, Kathy Holmes, author of MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS on Boomer Chick today! Not only is she one of the kindest people you would ever meet, but when I met her in an online group a year or so ago, I had no idea just how much we really had in common. We are both writers, but we are both also women with a past that was so similar, it flabbergasted the both of us. Not only are we both California boomer babes, but we both have been holding deep, dark secret feelings inside of us for years and years which finally was set free just this past year.

We both did remarkable things this past year: she published a book, and I found my father. You wouldn't think those two things had anything to do with one another, but they have a great thing to do with one another.

It is MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS that opened my eyes to the fact that over all those years of growing up without a father and feeling an abandonment that would never go away, I could finally find the closure I needed.

After fifty-two years, I found my father after a cousin on my father's side of the family found me on the Internet performing a genealogy search. It is because of him I met cousins and aunts and uncles I had never met. But, the one who alluded me, the one who could help me close that door on the hurt and the pain, was my father, and he refused to meet me. He knew where I was. He could have called me. He could have at least emailed me, but for some reason, he couldn't. Perhaps he needs a copy of Kathy's book to understand the anguish fatherless daughters feel and how important it is to find that closure that they both need.

I have Kathy here today to help us understand why it is that fathers seem to just "not care." I was really amazed (and that's an understatement) at how beautifully-written this book was. She covers it all. Now, I give you....Kathy Holmes, author of MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS....

Dorothy: Thank you for coming, Kathy! Would you like to tell everyone what your book is all about?

Kathy: Dorothy, I’d love to.

We all know that every little girl loves her daddy. But what happens when that daddy is missing? Or another man steps into his place? Society has accepted many myths about what that means to a child.

MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS attempts to dispel those myths by sharing the story of my search for my father and eventual reunion with him. Throughout my journey, I discovered I was not alone, and despite my denial, fathers are very important to a woman. And whatever the reason the father is missing, not knowing him affects a woman’s relationships with men and her entire life.

Dorothy: I can relate to that for sure, but it wasn't until I read your book did I realize this. Let me ask you something else. I grew up in a fatherless home. I had a step-father for a few years, but he wasn't my real father, you know? Throughout my years growing up, I really missed having a father. I would cringe when anyone talked about their father, and I know that's terrible to say, but why do you think I felt so terrible?

Kathy: Dorothy, that’s a very normal reaction and one reason why kids deny that they want anything to do with a missing father. If there’s a step dad, you bond with him even more so that you can feel part of a family. You tell everybody you have a dad. That helps you to feel normal, that you’re like everybody else, and not deprived in any way. So if he’s missing, you can’t help but feel negative feelings that you’re second best and all you deserve is second best. Those feelings can impact the rest of your life. But having a step dad doesn’t make those feelings disappear—often they’re repressed and they still have a negative impact on your life. Acknowledging your feelings, expressing the truth goes a long way toward healing that part of you.

Dorothy: Yeah, I think it's all part of the being normal thing. I didn't have a father like everyone else and, truthfully, I felt I was deprived. I felt cheated. Before you found your father, what was going on inside you?

Kathy: I had worked hard at repressing those feelings. The book shows different points in my life where I really wanted to express my feelings, but I felt coerced not to. I was able to deny those feelings for most of my life until I was in my early 40s when the feelings refused to go away and just burst out of me. And that’s when I vowed to find my father.

Dorothy: Do you think growing up without a father has any influence on future relationships? What have you heard from other women about this?

Kathy: Experts have spoken out about this quite a bit. In fact, after doing some research on this topic I wrote an article called, “Relationships with Fathers Influence Relationships with Men.” It’s been one of my most popular articles on the internet. In fact, I know an adopted girl in her early 20s who’s going through this right now. Her adopted parents don’t support her in expressing these feelings, and she finds herself dating all the wrong guys.

Dorothy: Ouch. I can imagine the adopted parents feel threatened in some way, and not a good way of dealing with the issue. Perhaps in time, the adopted girl can find ways outside of the adopted home to find her father because she really needs to find her closure. Let me ask you, do you think that if you know where your father is, you should look him up even though you feel that it's going to open a can of worms?

Kathy: Yes, I do. That’s what I did. I was under the impression I might find my dad on skid row – my mother certainly encouraged me to view him this way so that I wouldn’t go looking for him. Eventually, I just knew I had to find him, no matter the outcome. And I discovered that he was an upstanding man, with a family of his own, and there was more to the story than what I knew at that time—his side of the story which was quite different than what I had been told. And I later discovered his story was true. If I hadn’t looked for him, I never would have known.

Dorothy: Omg...did I learn a few things myself. I had given up on finding my father when out of the blue, I get this email from a cousin on my father's side who was doing a genealogy search and found me over the Internet. Out of curiosity, I emailed him back and do you know I discovered cousins, aunts, uncles, even SISTERS and a BROTHER I never knew I had! Now, I don't know if it was someone higher up looking after me, but if my cousin had not found me, and emailed me, I wouldn't have even found out that! But, getting back to what you were saying about your father's story being different from what I had been told, I found out things that really floored me. It seems my mother's mother and my father's mother didn't see eye to eye on things, and that was the block that was preventing my father from finding me. I talked to his brother, my new uncle, and he said that his mother strictly forbade her son from contacting my mother or me. It's just a crying shame! My father's mother has since died, and it's like everything now might be able to come together. Who knows...still trying.

What have you heard from other women who have found their fathers? Happy experiences or not-so-happy?

Kathy: There are peaks and valleys in this experience. At times I was at a high, celebrating my happy outcome. At other times, the relationship wasn’t where I wanted it to be and I would be discouraged – especially if I saw others whose reunions were going better than mine at the time. For example, after I met my father I began watching the daytime television show, “Starting Over.” At that time, I thought my relationship with my father wasn’t going to go beyond meeting him once. And when I saw Susan on the show seemingly having a much better experience than I was, I was frustrated. But the show also taught me to look at my father’s side of things, at his family’s point of view and that allowed me to reach out to him in truth and love. And after taking a big emotional risk and expressing my feelings to him, we began a new phase in our relationship. Every person’s experience is different and we progress at different rates. It helps to have somebody facilitate the relationship, too.

Dorothy: Okay, I see. It's hard to imagine my father not wanting to be a part of my life, but I am not looking at it from his perspective. His wife who cares for him (he's elderly, in his seventies) is scared of the repercussions, so I have to respect that, I guess. But, I want to see him so bad. I have a picture of him on my blog (look to the right under the 'Finding my Father' threads) and we look so alike. People have even commented about this. I really want to meet him so bad, what do you suggest I do?

Kathy: After fervent prayer, which is probably what you’ve already done, I might suggest another attempt at contacting him but through a facilitator of some sort. Perhaps a family member or some other professional life coach. I’m not sure who is out there to do something of that nature and if there isn’t anyone, I think that would be a great thing to start because a professional or somebody who has been through that may have the skills to negotiate the contact. I think private detectives are a turn-off – I saw that scenario on the show, too, and it didn’t seem to work as well as a professional life coach. And sometimes we’re so close to the issue; our emotions get in the way. I almost messed up my new connection with my father because it hadn’t turned out exactly the way I had imagined, and it was by observing the necessary skills on “Starting Over” that allowed me to try again and this time be successful.

Dorothy: I must watch that show! I do have a facilitator, my aunt, who was acting as a go-between. She is frustrated that she can't get through to him, too. But, I don't think she is giving up, and neither am I. Why do you think fathers do this? Why do they ditch their kids and never want to see them again? Are they embarrassed or just don't want to make that first move, or do you think they just really don't care?

Kathy: I think it’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer because each circumstance is different and complicated. But many times I’ve learned it isn’t just the father’s fault—the mother played a part in it. Often, the mother has kept her part in it a secret so that she can look like the innocent one and have the child’s complete love and devotion. If you write the father off as somebody who doesn’t care, you may miss out on knowing his true feelings. Sometimes fathers have their own issues and that’s why they’re away. One woman in my book told the story of how her dad was an alcoholic and didn’t seem to care about her at all. But when he died she discovered he had saved all of her childhood mementoes and that helped heal her because she realized he had loved her all along. Sometimes there are other factors; often the father’s wife plays a big role in how successful that meeting is. But you don’t really know how it’ll turn out until you try, and I think you’ll feel better for having done that.

Dorothy: I totally agree with you. You won't know unless you try. There are statistics that show that it's nine times out of ten the father who leaves the child, and not the mother. I can't imagine any mother who would abandone something that they held in their womb for nine months...it's just unthinkable, although it does happen. Do you know the statistics on how many mothers ditch their kids, as opposed to fathers?

Kathy: You know I don’t know those statistics. We’ve all heard about mothers who did leave their children with the father – although fewer in number than fathers, but every child who is put up for adoption is, in fact, abandoned by their mother. So the numbers are rather high. While I haven’t found overall adoption statistics, there are thousands each year who are adopted from each state, from other countries, etc. In fact, the adoption rate is increasing.

Dorothy: Your book, “Myths of the Fatherless” is one of the most wonderful books I have read on growing up fatherless. Can you tell us where we can purchase it?

Kathy: Yes. You can find the purchase link on my web site at www.kathyholmes.net.

Dorothy: Kathy, this is such an interesting subject and something that really hits close to home. Do you have more books coming out on the same subject, and can you tell us about other future books?

Kathy: Actually, this book was born out of my need to tell my story. At first I started writing it in a fictional setting. And while my novels all seem to have an underlying theme of a woman never knowing her father growing up and the challenges it’s presented in her life, I decided I wanted to be more direct with this message. I started a blog at http://thefatherless.blogspot.com, which led to this book. I’ve also written articles on this subject, which you can also find links to from my web site. And I hope to have news of a sale and release date for my first fiction novel soon.

Dorothy: Kathy, it has been such a pleasure having you. You really have made a difference in my life as far as realizing that for once fatherless children do have a voice. Thank you for coming!

Kathy: Dorothy, thank you so much for having me. It’s such a pleasure to hear this has made an impact on you and on others because it is a topic that I feel quite passionate about, and I hope to continue writing and speaking about it.

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If you are a fatherless daughter, or know someone who is, please check out Kathy's book, "Myths of the Fatherless," here!
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