When Jimmy found out his partner was pregnant, he was excited because he always wanted to have a child, yet he knew his struggle with drug addiction would prevent him from being the father he wanted and needed to be.
“Addiction is so self-centered that I knew…I would have never been able to provide for her. My only choice at that time was adoption. I had her adopted out of love, and it was the most unselfish thing I could have done at the time,” said Jimmy. After struggling with addiction for over 15 years, Jimmy hit an important milestone this past June marking his second year clean.
When Jimmy and his partner decided to place their child for adoption, at first, Jimmy did not want to have an open relationship with his daughter’s adoptive parents. Everything changed when Jimmy’s daughter, Illiana, was born. He was there in the delivery room, and when he saw her for the first time he decided he wanted an open relationship with her adoptive parents. “My daughter deserves to know who I am. I thought, ‘Eventually she is going to want to know who I am,’” said Jimmy. He wants to make sure he is present in his daughter’s life as she grows up. Rather, Jimmy does not want her parents to have to say that they do not know much about him because he was uninvolved.
After his daughter was born, Jimmy visited her twice. He missed the next couple years because he was still actively struggling with addiction. Jimmy eventually decided to get clean and he started attending support meetings. Jimmy also met a woman who became his best friend, helping him overcome his addiction and focus on his health.
When Jimmy shared his adoption story and how much he misses his daughter, his friend suggested he send cards to his daughter. Jimmy sends the cards weekly to his daughter on the same day at the same time. The repetition aids with his recovery as an addict, and it also helps him to cope with missing his daughter. Jimmy also visits Illiana and her adoptive family yearly.
When asked what he would like to do with his daughter as a bonding experience, Jimmy replied, “I would like to see her in her environment. I want to see what makes her tick, makes her smile, makes her laugh. I want to be in her environment and atmosphere.” Jimmy described an ideal outing as watching Illiana and her brother, who is also an adoptee, play together as he and her adoptive parents sit down and talk about what she has been up to and what she loves to do.
When asked what misconceptions he would like to dispel about birth fathers, Jimmy replied, “Not all of them are bad. There’s a lot of bitter mothers out there and a lot of fathers. The good fathers out there are mistaken for being bad.”
As a birth father, Jimmy said he wants his daughter to know she is loved and that he simply wants her to have the best possible experience in life.