By: Alexander Rau
When I first sat down to write about being a Dad through adoption I was starting to think that being a bio-Dad vs a Dad through adoption, not being that different. As like all Dad’s we have different roles for our children. We are role models, educators, coaches, mentors, fans, the voice of reason, fixer of broken toys, battery changer, you name it, we are it. We try to be always there for our children. Also, not to forget, we are not only there for our kids to raise them but also for our partners (should we chose to have one) to parent our children together.
Slowly I was starting to think more and more about the differences between bio-Dads and adoptive Dads. Our last adoption had been four yours ago and our littlest one is almost five years old. He came to us through private adoption at birth. Our first adoptive son is now eight, almost nine years old and adopted at 22 months. Being a Dad to these two has ‘normalized’ over the years and I feel it is not that much different from how bio-Dads would feel on Father’s Day. Sure, we are having our challenges, Individual Education Plans (IEPs), meetings and advocating for the older one in school to make sure he gets all the supports he needs to reach his full potential. Sibling love and rivalries, they can be like oil and water one minute and best friends the next.
As I continue writing and thinking about being an adoptive Dad, more thoughts, feelings and emotions came to mind. Some of what I think only adoptive Dad’s experience(d). The feeling of emptiness on Father’s Days while longing to have children, your partner telling you ‘we are expecting’, baby belly and ups and downs of pregnancy are just a few. Issues and challenges with our adoptive children, openness or closed adoption related. And always the big question and second guessing “are misbehaviours or above-mentioned challenges in school adoption/trauma related”? Going to Adoption Resource Exchanges and feeling overwhelmed, talking to CAS workers about children and their needs. Picking children we are drawn to, not choosing others because they would be too disruptive to the family make up. And the waiting and waiting for things to happen, especially the 21-day revocation period after our newborn’s adoption papers are first signed. Probation periods never seeming to want to end and being under the watchful eye of your adoption worker. Raising your children and educating them about them being adopted and all the questions why their bio-mother/bio-parents made an adoption plan for them.
On the other hand, there are experiences that bio Dad’s do not get to live through. Being paper pregnant. Meeting likeminded folks at PRIDE training and forming life long friendships. Bureaucracy of the adoptive system. There are other positive memories and experiences that come with adoption. Meeting you child for the first time and feeling that your son or daughter was meant to be with you. Knowing in your heart that your child/children were actually meant to be your son or daughter just not by birth. Passing the mile stones of the adoption process, home study, PRIDE training, placement date and finally adoption finalization. And furthermore, through adopting our two boys we are also welcoming their birth-families into our family whom we would have possible never had a chance of meeting otherwise.
All being told, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience our children come to us by adoption. The sacrifices and experiences a bio-dad does not have to go thorough makes everything worthwhile when your children spoil you for Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all!
I would like to point out that this little blog is the view of an adoptive parent in a heterosexual relationship that came to adoption through infertility. I want to acknowledge that adoptive Dad’s in various relationships and paths to adoption are out there and by no means do I want to convey I am capturing all adoptive Dads’s views out there but that was not the intend and surely, I do not want to offend any Dads out there by this piece. It was only meant to share my views and feelings about how I feel about Father’s Day as an adoptive Dad. Feel free to add yours below.