On our way to the first dinner meeting with our child’s birth mother, we were trying to anticipate what her questions would be for us. What would she want to know about us? Would she have questions about schooling, religion, grandparents, and/or what our interaction expectations would be with her? We talked with each other to make sure we were on the same page with how we felt regarding all of our answers to these questions. Now, it was time. We had just arrived at dinner.
Things were going very well. The conversation was light and somewhat superficial; however, we were just meeting for the first time, so I felt that this was to be expected. My husband was holding the son we were hoping to adopt, feeding him little pieces of food. He was 10 months old at the time. I was helping our child’s birth mother with her 2-year-old son, feeding him chicken nuggets.
She turned to me and asked me if my husband was always this involved with feeding, holding, etc? As we walked into the restaurant that night, my husband instantly picked up this 10-month-old little boy and never looked back. He asked our birth mother questions regarding what he could eat and even volunteered to change his diaper. What I didn’t realize then is that he (my husband) was being scrutinized with everything that he was doing and saying. Since we already had three biological children, he was well on his way to being a great dad. He knew the dos and don’ts of feeding, changing, and holding.
What we did not know that night was how much our child’s birth mother wanted her boys to have a dad in their life. She had grown up without one that took an active role in her life, and she felt like she was missing something. She wanted especially her sons to have that father figure to look to throughout their lives.
We have now adopted four children. For three of these children, the most important thing to their birth mothers is that they have a good dad in their lives.
I, too, could relate to this want in my life. When I was dating, this was a quality I actively searched for in a spouse. I knew I wanted a large family, and I wanted a husband that was all in with fatherhood.
Fast forward 10 years. We have four sons and three daughters. There was a time in our lives that we had three babies in diapers and three drinking bottles. I would have been sunk if my husband wasn’t all in. For that, I will forever be grateful. In our lives, my husband has carried the burden of teaching our boys about all things dirty: camping, gun safety, the annual extended family “boys only” deer hunt. Not to mention puberty, respect for women, manners, and anything and everything sports-related. He coaches all of their sporting events whether he actually played them or not. For our daughters, he is their prince, their night in shining armor. He is their soft place to fall when mom is too demanding. In our lives, our dad is extremely important and fills a role only he can.
However, we definitely recognize that not everyone is fortunate to have a father figure in his or her own life, and so we share our dad as a coach, mentor, and church youth leader.
The dad in our family carries a big load, and it relieves so much stress and worry from my load. We have had the conversation many many times of the respect we have for single parents and all they have to do alone.