Stickman Readers' Submissions January 7th, 2013

Help Needed – The Cost of a Thai Baby

I have previously written to Stickman privately and he has provided me with good advice and information. My situation has changed a little and I ask for anyone's advice on this topic. Preferably men who are looking after or supporting a Thai baby in Thailand whether from their home country, with a family or individually.

A quick synopsis of my situation goes as follows. I am a 24 year old Caucasian. Almost exactly 2 years ago I visited Thailand on a holiday as I was on a round the world trip with friends. I met a girl (Jae – name changed) through the internet and then met up with her on Khao San Rd when I arrived. It was my first trip to Thailand and I would be here for 3-4 weeks. As I wasn't travelling with friends at this point in my trip I had decided to try and meet someone to chat to in Bangkok, a friendly face is all I looked for.

mens clinic bangkok

Jae is an office worker for a small private company owned by a foreigner. I have been to her work place many times and visited her there. If she was or has ever been a bargirl I wouldn't know it. She comes from Ubon, and makes between 24-28,000 baht per month (I'm unable to remember the exact figure) working in Bangkok.

Jae is a normal yet attractive and slim girl. I met her first at her workplace for lunch and then at a Khao San Road bar for drinks the next day. At this time I had no notion of bargirls, Thai girls, good or bad areas, backpacker areas or anything at all to do with Thailand. I chatted and treated her as I would treat any girl back home. We visited the temples, Koh Samet, and a few other touristy areas. I was amazed and felt lucky such a girl would be friends with me so quickly.

Jae was quick to sleep with me, and on going home with her when I was a little tipsy she pushed for sex. I had condoms and requested I put one on as things were getting heavy but she refused and said don't worry she's on the pill. The next day I pressed more about this and explained my situation about not being able to support a child or wanting a child at this time. She said she had 'missed one or two pills'. At which point I suggested it would be a good idea to purchase the morning after pill. She agreed.

As the day went on, Jae never mentioned it again, by the end of the day she still hadn't bought it and was about to go back to her apartment and me mine. Instead I suggested yet again getting the pill and we went and bought it. She didn't take it there. I felt a little twinge of something amiss and so went back to with her to her apartment just to be safe. She pottered about her place; I felt uncomfortable to ask to force her to take the pill and so went to brush my teeth. At which point when I had finished she came and showed me an empty blister pack. Happy at this I returned to my place.

Fast forward three weeks and she calls me and tells me she thinks she is pregnant. I buy a pregnancy test and it reveals a positive and I freak. She admits to not taking the pill and punching them out. The next morning we do another one and it's a negative! Thank the Lord. To be safe I make an appointment at one of the hospitals and go there the same day and a more specific test reveals a positive again! Damn these swinging emotions.

I extend my time in Thailand a further 2 months. Jae now expects that because she carries my baby I must marry her. I talk to many Thai people about my predicament and the overwhelming response is I should now marry her! They agree at what she did was bad but now I should do the right thing. My friends back home say leave and don't contact her again. The cultural differences couldn't be more pronounced.

I decided to take a middle line and support her but not marry her. On finding out I won't be marrying her she continually threatens self harm and more importantly often tells me she is aborting the baby due to the respect she will lose from her parents if they find out she is pregnant without a husband. I ask her on why she didn't take the pill and she responds that she loved me and just wanted things to continue. What follows is many disagreements and stone walls and frustration at trying to convince her to keep the baby and I will support her. I was happy to take the baby back to my home country which she agreed to, despite what would ultimately surprise my strict religious parents that was the least of my concerns.

wonderland clinic

To avoid her loss of face, I agreed to fly us to her parents' home village and go through a Thai ceremony, which I was told was not a wedding ceremony however, I still had white strings tied around my wrist, money (not mine) about $9000 US was taken and placed in the middle of a circle consisting of her family's village friends or whoever (lots of old ladies) and her parents. The money was counted out as a combined group effort, lots of Thai language was exchanged and me, the tall white guy sat there respectfully albeit a little bewildered.

Whilst I was there, although they usually had running water, it was the rainy season and no running water was available. Additionally no electricity was available either. This was interesting. There were two massive pots filled with captured rain water which were used for drinking, washing and the other for flushing the toilet. I was worried about mosquitoes laying their larvae in them and me drinking them and then getting parasites or malaria – my health knowledge is lacking, but fortunately none of this eventuated.

Things were different and I did enjoy my time in the small village someway out from Ubon, but it was still peppered with many incidences of stress of and disagreements at a time where both of us were feeling overwhelmed by the situation.

In dealing with her, I found it near on the impossible to discuss things logically and find out her true feelings and emotions. Lies were perpetuated again and again, and she would change her mind, tell me stories or refuse to answer. Sadly instead of us both working through this situation I felt alone, and was unable to trust her at all. She would simply shut down or refuse to speak when I tried to work through a situation. This ultimately left me in difficult situations, where when I was honest she would use this information about my feelings against me later.

Fast forward again two years. Jae has had the baby. There was some suggestion from my friends back home that the baby is not mine. I only had unprotected sex with her once. We both went to the police hospital and had a DNA test together for 12,000 baht from memory. Although I believed the results were to be sent to both of us, I never received them and I could have been mistaken and she forwarded on a scanned copy of results which looks quite official. I had my friend who works as a medical scientist back home look over it, and he affirmed that it certainly looks like a legitimate document and unless she changed the names I am the father.

I was still not completely convinced however being back home I had a phone call from her one year on stating that the young baby (girl) had vomited and did I have any allergies to nuts or beans? Yes, I do – to peanuts. And I guess this cemented my belief that I am actually the father, as I felt that even if she were deceiving me into believing I am the father she wouldn't have thought of this and called me unless I actually were and the baby does actually have an allergy.

Currently the baby girl (Friday – name changed) is living with Jae's parents in a small village some way from Ubon. I flew back and forth from my own country to BKK a number of times however when it came time to take Friday with me, Jae decided she wanted to keep her. With little emotional attachment at that point, and exhausted about the whole thing I relented and so far I have just been financially supporting her each month.

I paid for plane flights and cribs and everything that was needed initially and then have been supporting her for the last year and a bit on 15,300 baht per month – about $500 US – taken from my bank account. I gave her my credit card attached to a separate account. However, just recently she had increased this amount to 20,300 baht per month, or about $680 US per month.

I am far from rich. I have a lower to middle income in my home country and work 5-6 days per week. I have only $3000 savings, a $600 car, no house, no assets.

I ask for advice from anyone who supports a Thai baby about the expected costs associated and what is a reasonable amount to support her.

I appreciated there may be many people who say simply to stop supporting her; however I have made a decision to support her and will continue to do so. The advice I look for is the expected costs associated with looking after a baby in Ubon even when Friday visits Jae in BKK. I am happy to support the baby however, I will eventually marry and do not want to be left supporting Jae's parents, her father's hospital bills, the new moped or whatever.

Please contact me at the email address below.

Also to note, not at question; is whether Jae is working as a bargirl or not. I have visited BKK regularly enough and dropped by her place of work Mondays-Fridays and every day, spent time on the weekends with her and my calls are always answered. Yes, she may be meeting other foreigners and looking for love or whatever, but we are not in any relationship and so I am happy for her to do whatever makes her happy.

I appreciated your advice.

Stickman's thoughts:

This is a really awkward situation. Let me say first and foremost that I admire your willingness to try and do the right thing, whatever "right" may be.

You have some big decisions to make. This woman might not be a bargirl but she sounds like bad news to me. She's a manipulator, a liar and quite simply is someone not to be trusted. When the trust is gone, you cannot have a fulfilling or meaningful relationship but more than that, I question whether you want this woman as the mother of your child, not that she is really the mother at this point in time with the baby up in Isaan…but I guess she will be at some point.

Do you want to raise the baby in Canada and by this, I mean do you WANT to because you love the child, not because you're scared of what might happen if the child is raised in Thailand? Are you capable of raising the child and being a good father? And if you do, how hard you're willing to fight for that to happen? My guess is that things could start to get hard if / when you go to take the baby away.

If the baby remains in Thailand, I think it fair and reasonable that you should contribute towards the cost of raising the baby, but that's not to say you should be the sole provider – as it seems you currently are. The mother should be paying her fair share too and with her salary very reasonable by Thai standards, there is no reason why she should not contribute 50% of the costs. And let's be really frank here, she wanted the kid and you didn't and yeah, while some might be aghast at me saying this, she should therefore be willing to take on her fair share at the very least.

The cost of raising a child in Isaan are very low, perhaps only a few thousand baht a month. Unless the family proves to you that the cost is higher and they are actually spending this money on the child, sending $250 a month would be plenty. That would be 7,500 baht and could be topped up by the mother. If they request more, tell them that you require proof that said money is being spent on the baby.

I can but wish you all the best – and please do let us know how it all transpires!

* Note to readers, the writer sent me copies of the documents from the DNA test which confirm that he is indeed the father. I am 100% satisfied that these are genuine and not doctored in any way.

nana plaza