This isn't farfetch'd. iirc, there was a theory that there is a war going on in the pokemon universe. How else do you explain the absence of fathers?
If there is a war going on, how come Lt. Surge - a man basically defined by his military service - gets to sit around at home making other people dig through trash cans?
And I explain the absence of fathers by them working (and living) really far away. After all, Norman's kid had to move from Johto to Hoenn, even though Norman was already an established gym leader in Hoenn. And even after moving his kid couldn't even get a house in the same town that Norman lived in.
And though we deserved not his mercy, he has led us to this new Eden, a last chance for redemption.