How did I become a father? How did I get so lucky to have two daughters in my life? And to top it all off with the best wife a man could ever expect, a wife willing to tackle the emotional outbursts and waves of memories that come flooding back while we parent?
Adoption brings about so many different reactions from friends, family members, teachers, doctors, and strangers. Most people want to thank me for doing such a good deed. Some people who are cynical believe there’s no hope for my children, and why would I bother with the time and effort I invest in them? Other family members have a tough time wrapping their heads around the fact that we can have a good relationship with birth family members, adopted family members and our own family in and of itself.
Ultimately, I believe a child can never have enough family. Especially when it comes to love, nurturing and learning experience. Adopted children instinctually develop a sixth sense, one of preservation and keen observation. Almost a protection detective radar mechanism, internally knowing who they can possibly trust from individuals they need to stay far away from.
The holidays usually represent good times in families, a time to share in celebratory fashion. I can’t say that every holiday in my house is met with joy- it’s often met with sadness, shame and a lot of anger. Yet every one becomes a little easier, as my daughters appear to come to terms with the fact that it’s better to be happy than to continue to live in the past. They won’t forget their past- and I would never ask them to- but I do think they start to come to a sort of internal resolution with the fact that as children, they couldn’t have stopped their birth parents from all of the choices that were made that caused their removal.
Every night before I go to sleep I reflect upon how lucky I am to have two daughters in my life who gave me a chance to be their dad. Even after all the arguing, the occasional interrupting, the rolling of the eyes, the plantive sighs- it’s the joy of getting an unexpected hug, or the smile on their faces when they see me doing a goofy dance to one of their favorite songs on the radio, or even the ear I lend when I listen to a great event that happened in their day that makes my work as a father feel unique and worthwhile.
I do impact their world. I make them think before they act. I show them that they can fall down and pick themselves back up. I encourage them to look at the world and realize that there are no bad people- only bad choices that can lead to bad behavior. I don’t want them to live life tenatively- they need to live life fully and completely, whole-heartedly putting 100% behind their decisions.
Though we all came from separate worlds before, we are family in the here and now- and forever will be connected. I believe there’s safety in numbers- and as a father I want them to know they’ve always got a safe home to be themselves in with me.