COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Tiara Stevens and her son are tight like many single moms and their boys, but their lives are more tightly intertwined than almost any pair could be. It's already a complex and universally delicate relationship.
"That confuses me a lot," said Stevens. "It's like, 'Which one are you today? Are you my son, or are you my brother?' Because he really is both."
And he really is both, according to paternity tests. She was 12 when she says her father got her pregnant in an act that, at the time, had become brutally routine.
"He never told me what he was doing," said Stevens. "It was just late at night. He would come in, take my clothes off, and he would have sex. And he would leave and he would say, 'You better not stay up all night,' and I would go in the bathroom and I would cry. The next night he may not do it, but the next night, he would repeat the same thing."
One night, that painful ritual changed the course of a family's geneology, and it changed Stevens' life as well. She didn't realize she was carrying a baby until days before she went into labor.
"The only place I went was to the hospital," said Stevens. "Never went to any doctors appointments or anything. Only thing I remember is passing out at school. I really didn't get big or nothing."
Perhaps even more startling than the surprise delivery was the way she says she finally find out she was pregnant. It was her father she says who figured it out.
"He had done what he usually did to me and the baby kicked and whenever he did, he said, 'Get up, hold your shirt up. You're pregnant,'" said Stevens.
After that, pregnancy turned into motherhood, DSS stepped in, and she gave a statement to Lancaster deputies. That was January 1999.
"I didn't do nothing wrong, and what the system is trying to do to me is not right, waiting 14 years for justice," said Stevens.
After more than a decade, the case against her father is set to go to court next month. In that time, her baby has become a teenager. Because of his closely matching genes, she says he is legally blind and albino. She also says the teen is quite smart.
"He loves computers," said Stevens. "So that's what he's working on at school. He's in 9th grade now. He's a freshman."
At 27, she says she's proud of her boy, but she'll always know that what formed one family tore another one apart.
"Everyday, I look at my son, his health conditions because of what [my father] did, so [my father] has actually got it easy. I'm the one that's got it so hard," said Stevens.
Stevens' hope is that she'll get some peace in court. The case against Stevens' father is set to go to trial on Nov. 5.