I believe that having adopted my daughters makes me no less of a father than if I were their biological parent.
Early in our marriage, my wife and I agreed to wait for three to five years before having children. Feeling the need to be financially secure first made us quite secure with our choice. Flaunting our marriage as one of choice, not necessity due to a pregnancy, also felt kind of nice. Countless times we answered the questions, “How long have you been married?” followed by, “How many kids?” as if years married should equal kids birthed. As if children are a required byproduct of marriage.
Five years into our marriage we decided to wait a little longer. Still not financially secure. Truth be told, we enjoyed our illusion of freedom. Come and go as we pleased, able to buy what we wanted when we wanted; besides, it was responsible of us not to bring any children into such a messed up world. Right? Add to that, my wife having a child when she was sixteen that died of SIDS at 10 weeks old. She wasn’t ready for another possible heartbreak, the first one had still not healed; probably never will.
Six years into our marriage my wife became ill. Ending up in the cancer ward, we were told she had about six months to live, twenty-six years old. Eight months later, the doctors finally figured out it wasn’t cancer, but a blood clot in the main vein of her heart. Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, they called it; a second chance, we called it.
To this day we have never been provided with an explanation as to why she developed a clot, but we have been provided with an explanation as to why she would die if she became pregnant. Tubes tied. Tears cried. Not the end of our story.
Fifteen years into our marriage, we realized financial security is a state of mind, we realized we were ready for children, we realized it was time to start a new story.
A story that includes six months of weekend visits with our soon to be daughters, a year of attending parental training classes – once a month, through the Adoption Agency – that culminated on the court date when they were officially “signed” over to us. Our girls were turning five when we started the adoption process; the twins are eight now and it feels like they have always been a part of our life. The girls don’t remember their biological parents. They do remember the numerous foster homes, homes that separated them; someday, I hope they can forget. They do know they are adopted; I hope they know how special it is that we chose to care for them.
I hope someday my girls think, unlike some others, that I am no less of a father because I adopted my daughters.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.