My husband, Eddy, has the more outgoing and forthcoming personality of us two. I’m known to hang back a bit while he dives head first into any new friendship or endeavor. The journey towards creating our forever family has been interesting thus far. I marvel at all that it takes to adopt a child. Suffice it to say if this is what it would take to birth children, the human race would have ended its reign on earth right about the time of the Dark Ages.
Every now and then Eddy feels compelled to share with friends about our intent to adopt. It’s no big secret but it’s not what I include in conversations with most. On this particular day he was talking to a golf buddy who has since moved to another state. In the span of catching up, Eddy mentions to him we are adopting. He expected the usual congrats and excitement. I myself tend to note the awkward silence that ensues. But this time around, the grown man on the other end of the phone began to cry. Now that’s a new response! And once Eddy explained why this dear old friend cried, I have to admit it also struck a chord in me.
Eddy’s friend had a dad who decided one day that fatherhood, for whatever reason, was not for him. Needless to say, a young boy was left broken and hurt. There came a time when his mom met and fell in love with someone and this same little boy would climb on the lap of this new man and say, “I need a dad, do you think you can be my dad?” The man responds, “Yes, I will be your dad.”
I pictured this scene in my mind’s eye: an innocent child with the faith of a mustard seed looking at a huge mountain, admitting a need and trusting that this adult will in fact move this mountain and be his dad. This conversation on adopting brought back a flood of memories for my husband’s friend. I can only imagine the good memories he’s shared with his now deceased stepfather. And my resolve to move forward is set further in stone.
Adoption isn’t a conversation that takes place easily or often in the circles I engage in (and trust when I say, it is a diverse group of folks I know.) I usually chalk it up to ignorance on the subject or natural unease. New experiences yield awkwardness in some people. I’ve had people insist that even after we adopt we should still consider having our own; as if the child we bring into our home won’t in fact be “our own.” I laugh on the inside and brush off the well-meaning but sometimes misguided comments. It’s the stories like my husband’s friend that keep me encouraged.
For every blended family that came together in marriage despite the differences, I commend you. For every coach who has raised a student athlete without the benefits of formal custody, I salute you. For every grandparent, godparent, aunt, uncle, friend who have taken the lead in the life of a child against the judgement of others, hats off to you.
That step-dad made a promise to his young son, one that he kept until his death. We too want to be able to look our child in the eyes and keep that same promise–that no matter what life brought you up to this point–we will be your parents.