Have you ever wondered if you were raising another man’s child?
We sure hope not! This sounds like something you’d hear on a soap opera.
Unfortunately, that was the nagging question on Richard Rodwell’s mind soon after his marriage to his wife Helen fell apart.
As their marriage began deteriorating, Helen would disappear from their home in Peterborough, England, for several days at a time without letting her family know where she was. And when she would return and he would ask where she had been, she would say, “It has nothing to do with you.” This woman would never even leave a note or message letting her husband or children in on her whereabouts.
Come to find out, the daughter and son he had raised into their teenage years were not even his. The poor man finally caught on to her deception when rumors started floating around that his daughter Laura, now 20, was someone else’s. And this is after the fact that Helen was granted custody of the children and he was paying child support every month for four years, which totaled around $25,000.
“People said that Laura didn’t look like me and that Helen had been seeing a teacher who lived next door on the caravan park,” explained Rodwell. “I confronted Helen on the phone but she insisted that I was Laura’s father. Finally, I said I wanted DNA testing.”
Geneticists have been seeing rising cases of deception, infidelity and adultery among couples, which has recently made DNA testing very popular. For a man that once thought he had it all (happily married, two healthy children, a house and a good paying job), he was so terribly wrong!
The DNA testing was done with a swab of Laura’s mouth and when the results came back, Mr. Rodwell was floored. “When I saw the letter stating that I was not Laura’s father I just broke down. I phoned Helen and we had an argument. She didn’t even say sorry,” he said in distress.
In fact, the DNA tests revealed that the children had two separate fathers!
“I still have no idea who Adam’s father is,” he said. “For nearly 17 years I have cared for Laura as my daughter and for Adam for over 14 years and now it’s all gone. It’s so sad.”
Following the results, the children cut off all contact with him. He claims his ex-wife turned them against him. “I would have been happy to have a close relationship with them as a stepfather but Helen wouldn’t allow this and told them to keep away from me,” Rodwell explains.
Recently, he was awarded nearly $40,000 in damages after suing his ex-wife for deceit. The court treated his case similar to bereavement, awarding an amount like the one you would receive if your child died in an accident. In this particular case, the judge even went further than that due to the level of deceit, as well as taking into account the fact that Mr. Rodwell’s second wife is too old to provide him with children. He also won a court order, which forced his wife to move out of their marital home.
When speaking for the first time since the controversial case, Rodwell said, “It’s like a bereavement because I have lost the children that I believed were mine. I treated them both as if they were my own. I was there at their births, went to their nativity plays and helped them with school homework.”
It’s hard to imagine such a thing even happening, but if it wasn’t for the whispering campaign that was going around, he may have never known the truth.