My Six Favorite Experiences as an Adoptive Dad

An adoptive dad shares his favorite moments since the birth of his daughter.

David Caissie February 06, 2015

Being a dad for a lot of guys can mean some of the most special moments of your entire existence. Biological fathers have their own special moments concerning the actual birth of their children. Adoptive dads have plenty of special moments that are unique to their experience as well. Beyond that, there are father and child moments that are just plain special no matter what the nature of the parental relationship is.

The following is a slideshow of six of my favorite experiences as a dad. Some of them relate specifically to the adoption of my five-year old daughter, Madeline. Others are just special moments from being a dad in general, which I’m sure any dad can relate too. Nonetheless, here’s my list, and I hope you enjoy it. I know I did…

"The Call"
1. "The Call"

Instead of telling stories about frantically rushing our pregnant wives to the hospital at 3:00 am, adoptive dads tell stories about when they first got “The Call.” Yes, it’s the call that you’ve been waiting for as a couple ever since you were first matched with a birth mother. It’s the call that tells you the birth mother who selected you as adoptive parents was about to give birth.

For Amy and I, “The Call” came on Christmas morning 2009. It was about 10:26 am. We had just finished breakfast and were about to get ready to head over my brother’s to spend the holiday with my family. Then, the phone rang and we both sort of looked at each other with a combination of nervousness, sheer joy and delight, and maybe just a touch of anxiety-induced nausea. It was definitely our adoption agency and chances are they weren’t calling to wish us a Merry Christmas. Of course, the anxiety of this call was exacerbated by the fact that our daughter, Madeline wasn’t supposed to be born until three months later, but that’s a story for another time.

It's Official
2. It's Official

For most of us, the bonding experience with our children begins as soon as you first lay eyes on the miracle of life that will one day call you, mom or dad. Adoption, however, does provide the opportunity for another day of momentous magnitude, which is when a judge finally rules the adoption “official”. The picture above shows my happy, little family on that very special day. One that I’ll never forget. I’d also swear that when we took the picture, Madeline appears to be pointing to the heavens a la David Ortiz in the middle of a home run trot.

Man’s Best Friend…and Baby’s too
3. Man’s Best Friend…and Baby’s too

The floppy-eared, furry creature shown above is our faithful and lovable basset hound, Bella. Poor puppy lived the first two and a half years of her life as our “one and only.” In many ways, before Madeline came along, Bella was our child. We played with her, spoiled her, and talked incessantly about her to our friends and relatives. Then all of a sudden, Bella comes home one day to find Madeline has taken over as the center of our universe. Full disclosure, I am definitely a dog person. Having said that, Bella always looked after Maddie as if she was her own pup! From the very moment when she came home, Bella would sleep next to wherever Maddie was and seemingly keep one eye open the whole time to watch over her, ensuring her safety.

To this day, Maddie and Bella remain “besties.” One of my favorite dad things to do still is to go for a walk in the neighborhood with the both of them. It’s especially heartwarming to see that when Maddie gets too far away from Bella, Bella will put it in overdrive just to catch up, still ensuring that Maddie is safe at all times.

Daddy’s Home!
4. Daddy’s Home!

Few feelings in life are as good as coming home after a long day of work and hearing those words, “Daddy’s home!” Suddenly, work worries, social stresses, and everything else all but evaporates in favor of the unconditional love and adoration being displayed from my daughter, who is literally overjoyed by my mere presence. Not to mention the fact that Bella is there with tail wagging and looking just as happy. I believe the Beatles said it best, “All you need is love.”

Play Ball!
5. Play Ball!

One of my favorite things to do as a dad is taking Madeline to the baseball game. The New Hampshire Fisher Cats play in a beautiful ballpark that has a kids’ area complete with a giant inflatable slide and a mascot she absolutely loves! They even let the kids run the bases at the end of certain special event games.

One of my fondest memories of my dad is when he used to take me to Red Sox games as a kid. It was absolutely one of my favorite days of the year. Taking Maddie to a Red Sox game these days seems logistically difficult at best and financially debilitating for sure, but the Fisher Cats is completely doable. It’s a small way that I can honor my dad’s legacy a bit and pay it forward.

“She Looks Just Like You”
6. “She Looks Just Like You”

On several occasions, when Maddie and I would go out, someone would smile and say something along the lines of, “She looks just like you." Usually, I smile back politely and just say, “Thank you." I don’t think it’s really necessary to tell anyone, “She was adopted.” Because it doesn’t really matter. I am completely comfortable and totally proud of how we adopted Madeline. I’ll actually tell anyone who wants to know about it. Hence the reason I write these articles. Nonetheless, I don’t think it matters at all if I choose to share these details with anyone and everyone. What really matters is that Maddie is happy and I try to be the best dad I can be for her. What else matters is that Amy and I have this unconditional love for her and always will. I just think it’s kind of funny when someone tells me she looks just like me… see for yourself. She does have dirty blonde hair and blue eyes. Luckily for her she doesn’t have that hook-nose, or anything else.

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David Caissie

David Caissie is a freelance writer, technical communicator, and staff storyteller for Most importantly, he is a dedicated husband to his wife, Amy, and devoted adoptive father to his daughter, Madeline. A family man, sports fan, and dog lover, he resides with his family and faithful basset hound, Bella, in the comfy confines of a quaint home in Stow, Massachusetts. He also welcomes your polite comments, courteous thoughts, and helpful insights on any of his articles.

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