Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day! I’ve always had an easy relationship with my father. In many ways, we are kindred spirits. We have very similar personalities and we enjoy some of the same things. When I was little, I was Daddy’s shadow. I wanted to go where he went and do what he was doing. My husband is very much his own person, but he reminds me a lot of my father when it comes to parenting. From the beginning he has changed diapers, stayed home when our son is sick, ironed clothes and cooked dinner. Perhaps it is my relationship with my father and my husband that makes me hypersensitive to birth fathers.

It’s always struck me as interesting that parents of adoptees are always talking about birth mothers and never about birth fathers. I think that it’s an unintentional snub, but it happens none the less. A lot of it has to do with the fact that the majority of the people on these boards are women and we tend to identify with our own gender. Perhaps it is because society still expects the female to be the primary caregiver. I’m sure that there are a variety of reasons, but I’ve decided not to allow it in my little part of the world.

When I was little, my mother generally talked about my birth mother. She rarely mentioned my birth father. I never really thought much about it and it didn’t bother me, but now I realize that I probably felt a stronger interest in my birth father. Though I never had an urge to search for my birth parents, I did have the standard day dream about what would happen if I did find them. Looking back, I realize that almost all of my day dreams were about finding my birth father and not my birth mother (a psychiatrist would probably have a field day with that).

With my son, I’ve tried to mention his birth parents as a unit. We talk about both with equal intensity because I want my son to think about both of his birth parents. So, today on Father’s Day, we gave his Daddy a card that he had carefully scribbled on the night before and I thought of all the fathers in my life – My father, my husband, my father-in-law, my birth father and my son’s birth father. What a joy to know that your life is so full.


zoe said...

I was thinking about similar issues this weekend and came to the conclusion that I need to recognize my son's Korean father just as much as his mother. Sadly, I don't think I ever have, and you are correct Mo, that's not right.

Thanks for your perspective.

Anonymous said...

I think that birthfathers aren't talked about as much with adoption because so often the birthmother alone shoulders the burden of making an adoption plan. But unless you know for a fact that the birthfather was out of the picture, it's probably not right not to mention him too. I wonder if my son's birthfather even knows that he exists.