If your child’s birth father is involved and the relationship is a good one, the easiest way to honor him is to work toward a healthy and open line of communication—be it by letter updates, phone calls, or scheduled visits. Based on your relationship, keep him up-to-date on your child’s milestones and accomplishments through photos and videos. Your child also can make and mail homemade cards on special days and holidays if they choose. Even if communication is strained or limited, you can keep track of your child’s “firsts” and pass along updates and/or organize a scrapbook to be presented when the time is right.
Even if your child’s birth father is not in the picture, you can still honor him by doing the following 10 things:
1. Include him in your child’s adoption story from an early age. Make sure to include him in your child’s life book.
2. Help your child to identify with him in terms of characteristics or attributes, such as a shared hair color or interest in sports, if you know they share traits.
3. Read stories about adoption that highlight and explore the father/child relationship.
4. Write a letter. Encourage your child to pick up a pen and write (or log in and type) what’s on her mind. Consider sealing the letter and saving it for whatever may come. Writing is a great outlet and, should she let you read the letters, they may provide some insight on her thoughts on the matter that you can use to initiate further discussion.
5. Journal. Take letter writing to the next level. Journaling is another wonderful way to log thoughts and feelings on a daily or weekly basis. Kids can use their journals to record important moments, achievements, and milestones. They can note their feelings, vent, and jot down questions as if they are speaking with their birth father.
6. Draw. Everyone has a little Picasso in them, right? Drawing is a great means of self-expression. A little creativity and a box of crayons allows your child to express herself (and his thoughts and feelings about her birth father) non-verbally. Save some of her best work.
7. Say a prayer. Bedtime is a good time to take a moment and reflect on the important people in our lives. Consider lighting a candle at church or at home.
8. Plant a flower, shrub, or tree in honor of your child’s birth father.
9. Honor customs or traditions held in your child’s place of birth. Holidays and mealtimes are perfect times to put these into practice.
10. Share what you know about your child’s birth father should he express interest. Chances are, he will want to know at some point. Be honest and open, in an age-appropriate way. Make sure to keep it simple and never force your thoughts or ideas as gospel. Sometimes a simple statement can lead to an open and honest conversation.