The history surrounding our adoption is extensive, and I don’t wish to delve into that in this article. You only need to know that since the time our daughter was born, we have had zero direct contact with her birth father. He found us last year. Because of the events of the prior six years, we were terrified, emotional, and very unsure. We were faced with the opportunity to establish a connection and, potentially, even a relationship with him and his family. I have already mentioned, but it is worth mentioning again, that we were terrified. Fear told us that this was a terrible idea. Family and friends told us that this was a terrible idea. Even our attorney didn’t encourage it! However, despite our deep fear, faith nudged us from our immovable stance. We took small steps toward establishing a connection. We are currently building trust and our relationship (yes, I can call it that a year later) is headed in a positive direction. Many wonder why. While I don’t completely understand myself, there are five things that aided and have propelled our decisions.
- He is our daughter’s birth father, regardless of what has transpired in the past. Regardless of his previous choices and actions, the fact remains that he is her birth father.
- We felt kindness from him. Finally, we felt like he was ready to play nicely! Kindness is important in any situation. Our first contact from him upon finding us last year, was not full of kindness. We, however, through our fear and emotion, were able to respond with kindness. We encouraged and welcomed communication from him–if it could be done with kindness and positivity. Our next communication was just that! We were guarded, but thrilled. Everyone just wants to be able to get along, right? Subsequent communications from him and his family have been positive, humorous, kind, and generous. These are all perfect for healing and building relationship.
- Love. We love our daughter fiercely. We love adoption. Adoption comes with its ups and downs. We knew that from the beginning and have learned how true it is as time has gone on. He is part of our adoption story. For years, despite our difficulty, we have felt empathy towards him and a genuine hope that things would someday be different. We felt that we couldn’t love adoption and refuse genuine communication from him. We share a love for a spunky little girl. We have chosen to let that love bring us together and hopefully develop into a positive, lasting relationship. We hope it will develop into the relationship based on respect, mutual understanding, and most importantly, love, that we have long hoped for,
- We wanted no regrets. Our daughter is young, and while she knows and understands the value of family and parents, she doesn’t exactly grasp the concept of reproduction! She doesn’t quite understand that it takes a woman AND a man to make a baby! She has known since she was very small that she has a birth mother. She sees her, has photos of her, and knows that she grew in her tummy. However, she has never once asked about her birth father. I don’t believe, before now, that it has occurred to her that there might be one! She never asked, and we never brought it up. I hate to admit it, but for years I was grateful. You’ve all heard the advice of Thumper from Disney’s “Bambi.” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Many years passed where I didn’t have many nice things to say about our daughter’s birth father. I am very happy to say that that has changed. When we realized that that time had come where there was a strong potential of positive communication, we told our daughter that she had a birth father, and he had sent her a letter. She, in her youthful exuberance, was thrilled and accepting, and after reading the card, she replied, “He seems like a nice guy!” Her innocence was healing to us and propelled our faith. We didn’t want fear fed by past experiences to prevent us from the positive experiences of the future.
- We believe in forgiveness. Without becoming deeply religious, it has to be said that we believe in forgiveness. It’s not easy, not at all. It is scary. But, at the end of the day, love and forgiveness have to triumph. Our daughter has to know that fear cannot forever prevent us from forgiving. In our adoption situation, I have no doubt that both ourselves, and the birthfather felt, at times, like we had been acutely wronged by the other party. In lasting conflict there really is no winner. The time has come when that truly has to be put behind us. It is time for forgiveness. It is time for a new beginning.
This was not an easy process to begin, but our minds have been put at ease over time, and we are more than grateful that we have opened the door. Our relationship is still developing. Our daughter speaks of her birthmother AND her birthfather with ease. I look forward to the day in 15 or 20 years when she will fully grasp the entire story from beginning to end. I am grateful that we are well on our way to a happy ending: a happy ending full of openness, hope, and love.