This isn't the usual question, but I am out of answers and am seeking advice. Please help.
I recently ran into my daughter after 9 years of not seeing her. I have seen her a few times since then at the restaurant where she works. The problem is that she doesn't know that I am her father. (yes, I know it is my daughter). Here is part of the backstory.
19 years ago while I was separated from my (now ex) wife, I met a woman who was also legally separated. We got pregnant and planned to marry. She changed her mind 4 months into the pregnancy and went back to her husband. She convinced him the baby was his (obviously she was lying to me or he is really mathematically challenged) and he did not know about me.
I saw my daughter the day she was born for 3 minutes, but a bond was made. When I wasn't dating other women, my daughter's mother let me see my daughter and my daughter thought of me as "a friend of her mothers" and an "Uncle". This continued for a number of years until I got engaged to another woman.
I did not say anything to my daughters' mother's husband because she was from another country and told me her husband would divorce her if he found out. I would never see my daughter again as she would go back home. Since I at least had token visists and pictures, I remained silent.
My daughter's mother began causing conflict in my life because of my engagement and I sued for paternity and visitation when my daughter was 6 years old. I lost the case even though I had a DNA test that proves she is my daughter because in my state you cannot sue for paternity unless you are on the birth certificate. I knew this, but had to try. How many guys sue FOR paternity and child support? I have tried to be honorable in a dishonorable situation.
As a result, my contact with my daughter ended as did my engagement. A few times here and there I got pictures or a visit, but nothing substantial and usual when my daughters mother was angry with her husband (yes, that same guy).
Here is the main question: how do I tell my now 18 year old daughter who does not remember me that I am her biological father and while I do not wish to replace the person she knows as her father, I do want to be an active part in her life if she so chooses.
I want her to know me, her Grandparents, her family on my side, as well as the history of my family, but only if she wants to know it. I will step aside if it is her choice and not her mothers, but how do I tell her all of this as I am a stranger to her?
I am looking for your words of wisdom, not punishment. I have been punished enough over the past 19 years about this mess. I do not want to hurt her, but I want to know my daughter and have her know me and her family. I was kept away not by my choice or hers and want to be there now. ny advice? Thank you so much.
They usually throw up their hands and respond with "It is difficult to say." I guess thats why I am turning to blogs hoping for words of wisdom and/or someone who has gone through a similar story. Thank you for your response.