Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Musings of an Adoptive Dad - Part 2

I had some fears going into the adoption process that I'll say out loud here so that if you have them or know people who have them, you can at least say you're not alone.

First fear:  can I raise a daughter?  I grew up with two brothers.  I had two sons.  The only females in my life on any kind of closely-tied relational level were my mom and my wife.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  I'm still not sure - we haven't gotten to the puberty-stage yet.  Stay tuned.

Second (and bigger) fear:  can I love my daughter the way I love my sons?  I was there when my sons were born.  I literally saw them take their first breath.  In moments, I knew their APGAR score and was holding their swaddled bodies, singing over them, praying over them, and letting their mom kiss them when I wasn't.  That wasn't the case for my daughter.

Two things changed my fear.  The first were two pictures.

Picture 1:  We were sitting in bed one night when the email dinged on my wife's computer.  We had sent over a care package with snacks and clothes and a pillow with our pictures on it.  In an email, we got a picture of our daughter holding the pillow.  I was done.  In an instantaneous moment of divine heart surgery, I knew she was mine and I was ready to go get her.  We cried when we saw...

Picture 2:  We got our daughter's file of all the things she had recorded since being found.  Included in that was her finding photo.  I'm choked up right now just thinking about it.  I'll not post it here for reasons I will not explain, but I know what she looked like at a few days old (or a few weeks old, we're not exactly sure when it was taken).  I didn't get to hold her then but I am holding her now.  This morning she came down the stairs and into my arms, jammies wrinkled from a long, solid night of sleep and hair looking about the same.  She's mine.

And that leads to the second thing that changed my fear.  This thought hit me (and continues to do so):  there's a difference between being her father and being her dad.  It's not just semantics for me.  She's not mine, but she is.  She's not from me but she's a part of me.  She's not my flesh, but I'd give my life for her.  She's my daughter.  I may not be the guy who is responsible for her being in the world, but I am the guy who is responsible for her.  And gladly.  I may not be her father, but I am her dad.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

And as a postscript to this, should you want to talk about anything in the adoption process, feel free to contact my wife or me via email:  trent at heritage park dot org (I wrote it out to prevent spammers).

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