Dear editor,

I’m writing this for those of us (and I am one) who might not have the opportunity of seeing our loved ones grow up, to be involved with and to be a part of their lives.

Whether it is our child, grandchild, niece, nephew or other loved one in our extended family today’s increasingly mobile mixture of single parents, unplanned pregnancies, divorces and, sometimes, family feuds, the hurt and pain are real.

Not only does the adult suffer – so does the child. Particularly those who begin in a normal two-parent situation and are then separated through death, divorce or other reasons from one side of the family.

We know that when many children from these circumstances grow up they set out to find the absent parent, to find their “other side,” to fill the vacuum left in their hearts and souls for not knowing the rest of their family.

These children want to know if they were loved? Did the absent parent/other relative ever attempt to become involved in the child’s life? Why were there no cards or gifts on those special days in the life of a child?

Sometimes the answer is “no,” but frequently the answer is “yes,” but contact was prevented by a vengeful custodial parent or by court order or some other reason.

Of course the safety and best interests of the child should be the primary consideration. But these should be judged by competent people, not vengeful ones. A child is a gift from God, not the property of someone, to be a pawn in some vicious game, to be denied access to their family and loved ones.

This is the sad, but unfortunately real, other side to many stories.

Martha Leonard