I am in Australia and my wife (soon to be ex) and 2 beautiful daughters are in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s “only” 7 hrs flight away, but the costs and practicalities of going there make it only likely to happen once a year.
My girls are only 2.5 years and 3 months old! So I barely know the littlest one, I was there for her birth, but the 2.5 yr old lived with me and my wife in Australia for the first year and half of her life and so we know each other well. I can barely cope some days and like some of the stories on here have found myself crying uncontrollably and smelling a small selection of her stuff I have at my place. I had to move recently for a fresh start with things, and I’ve moved in with a new gf, who is great and so patient with me, but of course she has fears about what will happen in the future and some day she will want her own family too of course.
Apart from the distance,I have extra difficulties in that both kids are being brought up speaking in their mother’s native language (well not the 3 month old yet obviously), although she is trying to teach them some English, their mother tongue (and therefore their ability to express themselves and their feelings) will always be in Indonesian. I can speak enough to get by and can understand the 2.5 yr old, but they will soon overtake me for sure.
I send maintenance money over each month and help out with extras like hospital etc, whenever I can. Wife doesn’t work yet because of the newborn, but she will when she can. I also send parcels of clothes and little presents every month or so. I Skype with them every week and that seems to be working out ok and fairly consistently for the moment. We have a long way to go to reach some agreements on who has them and when though, but realistically I will probably only be able to see them once a year – and for the moment as they are so young it will be me travelling overseas to see them.
I had to leave my wife for various reasons I wont go into, but I remind myself almost daily I made the right decision to leave a broken relationship, and that the kids and her are safe and being well loved in an extended family in Indonesia, something I couldn’t give them in Australia.
I guess I am just opening up on here to share my experience and introduce myself a bit. I wonder if there’s anyone else out there with kids across an international border and with the unique challenges that brings? I am of course also happy to give back my experiences after reading everyone else’s on this site as I explore and soak it all up. I’ve already picked up some great ideas about staying in my girl’s lives as they grow up a long distance from their dad – who misses them an indescribable amount and thinks about them every hour of every day.