Reinventing the Nativity with Paternity Testing
Whenever you hear the nativity story, or see it acted out by a group of children, you notice that Joseph doesn’t have much of a speaking part. In fact, his job is to stand by Mary, look after her through her pregnancy, protect her and the newborn child from the wrath of Herod and devote his life to bringing up Jesus. Whilst Joseph didn’t need a paternity test to know he wasn’t Jesus’ real father, he still played the part.
What Can Joseph Teach Us About Paternity?
The paternity test exists to tell us about the biological relationship between a father and a child. Whilst the knowledge of that relationship may provide the basis for a brand new relationship, or strengthen an existing one, the real role of fatherhood doesn’t have to be related to that biological connection.
Adopted children are great examples of how real fatherhood can transcend DNA, where a relationship is formed because the father wishes to care for, nurture, play with, educate and be responsible for a child. In many cases, a non-biological relationship may be healthier than a biological one – just because you share the same DNA doesn’t make you a better father to the child. For an interesting read about how DNA testing can be used to unite adopted children and their parents, visit this page.
The Paternity Surprise
If you have been caring for a child for all of its life, you will have formed a unique bond with him or her. If you then discover that you are not the father of the child, will that change your relationship? It’s bound to have an impact, because it means that there is another father – who shares a biological connection – and because you will have to reassess the way you perceive the child. It may also create problems with the child’s mother, who may have kept the real paternity of the child secret for many years.
In a paternity test, whether taken for peace of mind, or because of a court order, the welfare of the child is always considered to be the most important thing. The paternity test will confirm parentage, and may be used to provide financial support for the child, but it is the actions of the father that count in the long term, which is why Joseph’s example is a good one – for believers and non-believers alike.