Son gives ‘World’s Best Father’ award to man who raised him
When Joseph Valentine found out his girlfriend was pregnant in 1977, he was overjoyed. He had only one daughter from a previous relationship, and was looking forward to starting a family with his new girlfriend.
But his joy soon turned sour when he found out the baby wasn't his.
"She never tell mi straight, it was after di birth mi find out it's not mine, as old time people use to seh, blood follow vein. So when mi find out, mi tell her seh look, I will support him, I will love him like he is my child," he said.
But after committing to loving the first son, two years later, his girlfriend became pregnant with another son, and again it wasn't his.
"When mi find out, it neva easy but mi neva put it to heart. Mi neva quarrel, mi get vex sometime, and evil come up inna mi heart, but mi neva work no evil," he said
Valentine said he also had to deal with the ridicule he sometimes encountered from community members in Mendez, St Catherine, who knew that he was fathering the boys. It was particularly difficult because their biological father lived in the same community.
"Mi heart grieve nuff time, because at the same time, wi live in the same district weh my mother and my bredda and sister dem live," he said
But the now 77-year-old Valentine told THE STAR that this did not stop him from loving the boys, who he says are still his sons.
"I love dem, I love dem as my own, and up til now, nuff people nuh know seh a nuh mi a nuh dem father. Only because wi nuh have the same name, so when dem hear dem surprise," he said.
Gospel artiste Howard Harvey, known as Praise Machine, is one of the sons Valentine fathered. He told THE STAR that growing up, he was aware that Valentine was not his biological father, but he said he was never made to feel anything less than his son.
"Even though financially we had less, we never short of nothing. He made us feel well loved and at home. He and my mother eventually had another son together, and he never treated us any different. That is my hero, because of what he did. I have learnt that I don't have to biologically have a child to be a father," he said.
Harvey said Valentine is his role model, and wrote a song dedicated to him, entitled: Daddy Mi Love Yuh. A line from the song reads: "Yuh grow up a next man child, Daddy it must be hard for you, yuh cudda run left mi, disown mi, but instead yuh love yuh show mi."