Why Do I Need A Dad?

A 7-year-old's continuous journey of understanding adoption.

Candise Gilbert June 21, 2014
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We talk about adoption in our home a lot. Adoption has created our family and blessed each of us immensely. We also strive to make our home and our relationships “safe.” We never want our children to be afraid to ask any questions, particularly about adoption. Most of the time the questions are mild, easy to answer, and prompt a tender story about a part of our adoption journey.

Occasionally, my daughter asks questions that make my heart race and require quick thinking. I had just such an experience recently.

My daughter, Sophie, was eating a snack at the table and I was nearby on the computer doing something VERY important, like looking at Pinterest. Out of the blue, she said,

“So Mom, if Katie didn’t choose to adopt me (we’re still working on terminology) she could have been my mom, right?”

My heart felt like it was in my stomach. My daughter, at 7 years old, had firmly made the connection that Katie, whom she knows and loves, could have been her mom. I had no choice to but answer with complete honesty.

“Yes, you are right, sweetheart. Katie could have been your mom.” I said

We have talked many times about Katie’s reasons for placing but never from this angle. I think Sophie enjoys the repetition and doesn’t seem to tire of details regarding her adoption. My heart was beginning to return to normal, and I continued further explanation.

“Remember, when you were born Katie wasn’t married and she really wanted to you to have a mom and a dad. She chose us to be your parents.”

Sophie’s next question surprised me almost as much as the first.

“Why do I need a dad?” she said.

Again, after a quick moment of thought I dove into a reply. I reminded her that Dad goes to work every day to make a living for our family. I explained that because dad went to work, I was able to stay home and take care of our house and her! This almost convinced her. She has always understood and been grateful that I could stay home and take care of her, but she still doesn’t have a complete understanding of dad’s important role in making a living for our family.

I tried to further explain why we needed the money dad made–and I could tell she wasn’t buying it. It was too much to the “get.” I returned to my initial statement of “Let’s think of all the things Dad does for us…” in order to give myself a moment to think. This conversation HAD to have a good ending. It was too important!

I started to list a few things dad does around the house instead. I reminded her that dad helps with the laundry, and does all the yard work, and takes out the garbage. Suddenly something clicked in Sophie’s little 7-year-old mind and before I could say anything else she exclaimed,

“Dad takes out the garbage!”

“Yes,” I chuckled. “He does, every single time it needs to be taken out.”

She had found her answer. Dad took out the garbage, a job that she, with her overactive sense of smell, could never do.

“I totally need a dad. I’m so glad Katie chose you and Dad!”

And just like that, our conversation was over, and she asked me to cut up an apple for her. I was so grateful that she had come up with just the perfect answer to her question. She is only 7 and will undoubtedly ask that question again, and again, and again. Her understanding will continue to increase, and one day we will laugh about that time when she was 7 and felt grateful that her birth mother had chosen adoption because it meant she had a dad to take out the garbage!

**I’ve changed the names in my story because the younger of the 2 has been in bed since 8:00, and I haven’t had a chance to call the other!

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Candise Gilbert

Candise is the mother of 2 darling girls and the wife of a fantastic husband. She became a mother through the miracle of adoption and parenting is her favorite job! She makes dinner every night, loves a good book, talks about adoption as often as she can, and tries to surround herself with fabulous people.


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