During the month of May, the focus is heavy on mothers. In June, we celebrate Father’s Day, though I don’t think the dads get as much attention as their counterparts do. Not sure why, but it’s an observation I made.
The same can be said in the adoption world.
My husband and I are the proud parents of three beautiful children that came to us through domestic infant adoption. Their birth moms are the ones who carried them for 9 months but my kids also have birth dads. Wait, what?! I know. It takes two people to make a baby. I totally get that it’s easier to understand the role of the birth mom. Especially for young kids. I know I certainly didn’t want to have that conversation too soon.
When people find out that my kids were adopted, the first comments or questions I get (after they tell me how much my kids look like me… which is true) is about the mom. They want to know her story. They want to know why. They want to know how old she is. Sometimes they tell me she must be so brave. Others wonder how any mom could give her baby up. Whether it’s positive, negative, true or false, it’s almost entirely about the mom.
When in reality, the dads also have a story. They’re important too. Interestingly enough, our very first contact with one of the parents was with my son’s birth dad. In fact, we have open relationships with two of the dads. When my son’s birth dad found out he had a child, he wanted to consider his options. All of his options. He wanted to meet the baby boy he helped create. Just like my son’s mom, he made a gut-wrenching decision and decided he wasn’t ready to be a dad despite the fierce love he already had. He ultimately decided he wanted us to be mom and dad to his little boy.
This June, I want to honor all dads. My husband is an amazing dad to our children. He plays, he coaches, he helps with homework, he listens, he cares and he loves those kids so much, no matter what. The excitement on our kids’ faces, when he walks in the door, is pure joy. Clearly, we lucked out. But there’s plenty of other great dads in our lives too including my kids’ birth dads. I feel like sometimes dads like them get a bad rep. I want to dispel that. They didn’t give up on their kids. Just like the women, these young men love their kids. It was an incredibly difficult decision to place them for adoption. But they did what they thought was best at the time.
To my kids’ first dads… Thank you can’t ever be enough. We know we have been blessed with our kids, in part, because of your sacrifices. It hurts to know that you are missing out on so much, but we are honored that you chose us. Thank you for continuing to love your child. Thank you for choosing to be a part of our lives. Thank you for not giving up. While your role is different than a typical father role, you still play an incredibly important role in our kids’ lives. Our kids need you and they are lucky to have you. You could have walked away and pretended none of this ever happened. That may have even been easier at times, but you chose to stick around. So this Father’s Day and every day, we think about you and celebrate you.