This is my story, in Jan. of 2004, I met a man stationed at MacDill Air Force Base.Tech. Sgt. (Ron) aka Ralph Daniel Wright Jr. He goes by the name Ron, obviously he doesn't like the name RALPH. The first time we met was at local restaurant for dinner, we talked for a while getting to know one another, he told me he was from Orlando, FL and was an Orange County Sheriff on reserve status, that he'd been recalled to Active duty after 911.Said he was divorced with a 10 yr. old son, and that he'd just gotten reassigned to Mac Dill AFB. He was in Columbus AFB after he got back from overseas.
Everything he was telling me seemed to check out. So I thought the smart thing to do would be to run a background check on him just to be on the safe side. Well everything came back and seemed to check out. I mean those ones you get on the Internet are pretty basic & give you important stuff like any criminal info, name address, and so on. So I was thinking what the heck. He's nice guy, average looking, was funny, we had things in common, and he wasn't taken. So we continued to date and he continued to pursue me. We used to talk for hours on the phone. I don't think there wasn't anything that I didn't know about him. We just seemed to click, the only problem was that he worked nights at the base and I worked days, and he worked A LOT!
We still managed to spend time together. He would be at my house or I would be at his place in Tampa. As our relationship got more serious, we talked about the future, and possible marriage having kids, getting some property in Hernando, or Pasco County, FL and building a big house. I was a little cautious, only because I had been single for SO long. I was excited about the idea and scared at the same time. So time went on and he kept telling me he wanted to make me his wife. Once he even told me during a passionate moment he wished he'd met me before his former wife and wished I were the mother of his son?? I didn't think much of his comment because he said it in the moment. I mean after all who hasn't said something "in the moment".
I used to ask him why his marriage didn't work, he said because his ex didn't want to better herself, and all he wanted her to do was to feel better about herself and to set goals and go back to school, but that she just didn't feel worthy of him, and that they just needed to go their separate ways. I thought what in the world?? I mean do marriages really end over something as stupid as that? Then again there are two sides to the story and I was in love and wanted to make a life with this man. We just seemed to fit together so well together. So one day as we were out he took me to a Jewelry store where he wanted me to pick out a ring so I did. I asked him what were his intentions? He said he had something planned. A SURPRISE! Wow, I love surprises. So we began to look at places on the beach. We wanted to get married on the beach, and then we would take a cruise.
So as time went on I thought why have I not met his kids, mother, brother, or sisters who lived an hour and forty-five minutes from Tampa, FL? I kept asking him when am I going to meet your family, he kept telling me soon, when he got some time off. He was always working or gone on a "secret assignment". I thought this is weird, something is up, then again after 911 anything was possible, and wanted to believe he was telling me the truth. After all he said he wanted to be with me, but the only was he was getting deployed again. He asked me if I would wait for him? I agreed, after all I loved him; he said he loved me and that I was the only one for him. Then in July of 2005, we had a fight, our first; I was getting ready to leave on a trip with my girls to New Orleans, LA. I thought that he was breaking up with me or was upset I was leaving town, it was only for the weekend. I will never forget it the weekend of July 4th 2005. I said are we over? He said no he didn't want it to be over, he was just upset he was getting deployed and it was really getting to him. So I left town, and when I got back, we made up!!
We must have made up really good because six weeks later, I missed my period and thought there is no way I am pregnant. I took three tests and each time they were positive I was beside myself. How can this have happened I thought. I mean I took my pill EVERYDAY! So I called Ron's cell phone and left him a message to call me back! Later that night he came over later, and I broke the news. At first he was upset about it and kept asking me how did this happen! I mean come on, it takes two. Shortly after I told him I was pregnant he disappeared, with no word for what seemed like weeks. Then one day he showed up at my house, told me he was sorry and he'd been away on a secret mission. (Yeah right).
Needless to say I was not prepared to be alone and pregnant I kept telling myself I could do this! I am strong, and have faith that God would not let me down! Little did I know that I would be relying on my faith a lot the next year and I had Ron's promise that he would make arrangement for me and that I would be taken care of and all the time he said he loved me. So I wanted to believe him and I think I convinced myself he was a man of his word, even though I had no proof. I was going to have a baby; I was excited about the idea of having a beautiful, healthy baby; after all a baby is a precious gift from God. Little Miracles.
The weeks went by with no word from Ron. I told myself to remain strong and think positive. I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound and amino test. On Nov 20, 2005 it seemed like a routine test. That was the day I found out I was having a boy! Oh BOY..A boy!! I was so happy. But then the news came the Dr. said they wanted me to come back in two weeks for another ultrasound as it looked like something might be wrong with the baby's heart, but it was the size of pea at that stage. The wanted the baby to get a little bigger. So that was the longest two weeks of my life. I prayed that everything would be OK. Then that day came for my second ultrasound, the Dr. took his time and kept looking and looking, I just knew the news was not going to be good, I felt hot, then cold all at the same time. The Dr. then told me that is appears the baby's heart was not developing properly and that his cerebellum was not either. WHAT does that mean? I thought what in the world is this man telling me??? My dreams of a healthy baby just died.
With tears in my eyes I tried to remain calm to ask questions. I wasn't thinking! I was a mess! The Dr. tried to explain the best he could but I didn't hear a thing, I was too busy crying, all I head was that my baby would be mentally retarded if I continued with the pregnancy. Then the next thing he said was I could still terminate the pregnancy! I was 20 weeks along that is 5 months. Babies are born that soon and survive and he was giving me the option to kill my baby. I managed to keep it together long enough to get to my car, and had a total breakdown, what is wrong with my beautiful healthy baby? I had some many questions in my mind, and the man I needed most for me was nowhere to be found. I needed answers. So after I calmed down, and began to think. I need to let Ron know.
So I call the American Red Cross to give him a message something is wrong with our baby. They kept calling me back to see if he'd contacted me? I said no.. I was really upset and knew this could not be good for the baby; I was under so much stress and worrying myself sick. Then they finally tell me he was given the message. My first thought was what a JERK! He didn't care about this baby or me. It's almost Thanksgiving by this time and I have this huge worry over me. I didn't know what to do, or expect. I knew that no matter what I was having this baby.
I was able to speak with my OBGYN and tell her I wanted an appointment with another specialist for a second opinion. This time I did not go alone so they proceeded with the ultrasound and took lots of pictures for the Dr. to review. When he finally came in the room I had a list of questions to ask and was much better prepared. The Dr. said it appears the baby's heart has some small holes in the lower chamber and a co-arch in the aorta wall and that he would need to refer me to the Pediatric Cardiology Associates at All Children's Hospital for further follow up. I felt a little relieved and a bit more positive, but was still scared out of my wits. By this time it's Dec 2005. Weeks had gone by and Ron finally made an appearance. At this point it is almost torture to see him and I ask why does he bother coming by at all. He says it's because he loves me and cares about the baby and me. blah, blah..
So my journey begins with every month having a Fetal Echo ultrasound on the baby's heart. The Dr.'s at that group are amazing. They continue to reassure me that my baby is fine and developing great and that this kind of surgery is very common and there is only a 5% risk. That was a little reassuring. I prayed every night for strength, and asked myself why was Ron being such a jerk. I had a feeling something more was going on than what he told me. I kept researching and reading up on what they would need to do to my baby. I was able to meet with the Surgeon who would be operating on my baby as soon as he was born. I mean to think that my baby's heart when he is born would be the size of a walnut and this man would be cutting him open to repair his tiny heart. Another month goes by, no word from Ron. Then one day in January he makes an appearance and gives me some story that he was in Africa on a mission and just got back. Yeah right, I am really stupid at this point over this man, and believe him just like I believe donkeys fly. Then to make the story better he says that he was never married and that he doesn't have a son named Ryan and that his home in Orlando is a safe house. I thought O.K.; this man really thinks I am stupid.
Then on Feb 26, 2006 Ron shows up, telling me he just got back into to town. He was sorry he couldn't get back sooner but was worried about the baby and reassured me that everything would be O.K.. How did he know? He leaves again, says he'll be back by April 7,2006-that was my due date. I thought why should I believe him, he's lied to me about everything else. Towards the end of my pregnancy, my blood pressure got pretty high so I had to go on bed rest the second week in March of 2006. There was not much I could do but wait for my baby to come into the world and I was alone and had no money coming in. I was scheduled to be induced into labor on March 27, 2006. I went to the Dr. for a follow up appt. I had not started to dilate so my OB/GYN decide to let me wait.
My son was born April 9, 2006, 6:11 am. 8lbs. 1 oz. My family and good friends were at the hospital with me while I was in labor. The only person missing was the father Ron. I just knew that the last time I saw him would be the last time! My baby was transported to the NICU at All Children's where he stayed for 6 weeks, I prayed that he would be taken care of, I knew he was in good care, but I was not able to be with him. His first surgery was scheduled when he was four days old to repair the co-arch in his Aorta. That went great! The next step was to see how well he recovered and if they would have to operate a second time as they continue to monitor him and run tests. Because the baby's breathing was so rapid I was not able to nurse him in fear that he might choke, so the Nurses had to put a NG tube in the baby's nose so they could feed him. I felt so helpless; my precious little baby is in this bed all hooked up to monitors and i.v.'s, and I can't do anything but hold him and kiss him and feel even more helpless. Meanwhile asking myself, why was I so stupid to believe that Ron ever loved me or our baby?
After many fetal echo's and heart Cath's the Dr.'s tell me they are on the fence as to do the open-heart surgery. Since there is not much I can do for my baby, I decide to go back to work, after all I have bills to pay and have not gotten any help from Ron. Not even a phone call, I stopped wondering and my friends stopped asking if I'd heard from him. Guess they all knew too. Then one day as I was at the NICU visiting the Dr. comes up and tells me they are doing the surgery in two days! I almost fainted. This was the Big surgery. Open Heart!! I was not prepared, how do you prepare yourself??? I just had faith that God brought me this far and that he would keep on blessing me, and AJ had a lot of people praying for him, so on 5-11-06, 7am, I was walking beside my ailing son and they took him to the O.R As that surgery begins, I sit in the family waiting room waiting for the phone to ring. The Nurses in the O.R call and give me an update so every time the phone rang my heart sank. Finally after 6hr of waiting they call and say they 're done, he's off the bypass machine and they're closing him up and everything went well. I was not prepared to see my baby in the recovery with tubes lying in that big bed. My heart is broken. I can't take anymore; well within a week, my baby gets to go home.
Just when I think I am out of the woods, I notice something is wrong with the baby's head. It has gotten bigger, and his eyes were sundowning in his head. That was not normal. We had a follow up appt on 6/26/06 with the Neurosurgery, he had a MRI done and when we meet with the Dr. they said the baby has fluid retention on his brain, hydrocephalus, and so he will have to have a v.p shunt put in his brain and they would need to operate right away. So on 6/27/06 my baby went under the knife again, all went well thank God. Dr.'s are happy with the results and all is good. Whew.. one more milestone, and Dr.'s say he should be O.K. mentally, but it's too early to tell. Time will tell, I guess. So 7-2-06 I get to take my baby home finally!! No word from daddy through all of this.
To this day I have not heard from him. 10-5-06. Through all the trials I meet with an attorney and hire a Private eye, with money I didn't have and through his investigation it turns out Ron is still married, his wife's name is Jodi! What!!! I can't believe this and she lives in their really big house, and has a nice car best of all has his paycheck and military benefits for her dependent children. To this day he has made no contact with me. Supposedly he is out of the country. Meanwhile I have huge medical bills and no way to prove paternity at this point. I was not with anyone but him, and the Military apparently thinks this is a JOKE!! They have been of no help. I have written letters to Senators and they have been or no assistance to me. This man is getting away with leaving me hanging with a medically needy child with a heart condition and no support or medical coverage. This man should be charged criminally for what he has done. Meanwhile, his wife, who I've spoken with, is in denial and appears to be protecting him from the legal system. In the beginning she offered her assistance, but I guess she figured out her lifestyle would be diminished.
Thank God that my baby is growing and thriving and with regular check ups he SHOULD not need anymore surgery but that still remains to be seen. Meanwhile I am about to lose everything I have worked for all my life, and I cannot get any assistance from the state because I have a job! The Military's lack of response on this situation is beyond absurd. Meanwhile a man putting his uniform on his back and defending our Country's freedom is allowed to get a women pregnant and leave her and their son high and dry. I know there are other women out there that have a Military Dead Beat DAD! I hope this website will give them a way to get their story heard and to reach millions of people, so they know we have a growing epidemic in our own backyard, and the Government doesn't seem to give a damn.
Click HERE to view pictures of Ron and Alijah.
On behalf of the family, instead of flowers, please make your generous contribution to either of these fine organizations, both ready to help with the single parents along with the orphaned children. Thanks also for your many prayers and notes of concern.