Open Adoption Roundtable #39: Father’s Day

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. We’re up to Open Adoption Roundtable #39.  

Father’s Day is coming this week in many countries. Last month we took time to write about our thoughts around Mother’s Day; this month we turn to the fathers.

Write to someone else in the adoption constellation (someone specific or a general group). What do you want to say to them on Father’s Day?

I really wanted to write a mushy love letter to my husband, who has been a really excellent man this past week while I’ve been sick. But I guess being sick has left me cynical, so the mushy love letter may have to wait ’til next month (our 10th wedding anniversary). Instead, I have a few words for K, Jackson’s birthfather.

Dear K,

We have never met you, though we did try. You said you wanted to meet us, we headed out, you changed your mind. You have never met Jackson. Again, you changed your mind and chose not to see him in the hospital. I think you felt that signing the TPR was like a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. Since then, you have practically disappeared.

You had the opportunity. You had the choice. You made a mistake, compounded by your age and your knowledge of the situation, but you didn’t want to acknowledge that. I think you just wanted it all to go away.

Consequently, your son doesn’t even have a picture of you. He’s asked some questions, but we don’t have a lot of answers. He’s going to have more questions. Thanks to someone forgetting to redact some legal documents, we have your full name, Social Security Number, and address in 2006. I could find you pretty easily. But we don’t even know if it’s safe to find you. We know nothing about you, and therefore, neither does Jackson.

It’s going to be hard for him, not having this knowledge. I just have to sit here with what I do know and try to make it make sense to him. Meanwhile, you go on with your life, and you know nothing of this amazing little man (who supposedly looks so much like you). He reads. He does multiplication. He loves to make his baby sister laugh. And you don’t know any of it.

By your choice.

~Robyn Chittister, Jackson’s mother

4 thoughts on “Open Adoption Roundtable #39: Father’s Day

  1. I would attempt to contact him or at least find out where he is and keep up with him so when your son is ready you will have tried and can help him locate him easier.

    • He doesn’t have an Internet presence, so I can’t simply “Facebook stalk” him, which would be easiest. There are some complexities to the situation, so it’s… I wish there were people who helped with this kind of thing. You know so it’s more subtle than, “Hi, I’m your (biological) son’s mother and I was just wondering if you might send me a picture and a medical history.”

  2. I am glad that you have his information so that it’s there when your son wants it. Whether his father will be ready to reach out is another question, but you have it. I was always happy that my fmom’s surname (albeit misspelled, it turned out) was on the preadoptive agreement that my parents had in the file cabinet. It gave me something to go on when I was ready to search.

    As someone whose mother wasn’t ready for contact for a looooong time, I learned through my hurt that patience can pay off. Your son’s father will (hopefully) grow up some and realize what he’s missing out on. Sometimes (not always) parents’ seemingly cavalier behavior has to do with their pain, and their hardness can (sometimes) erode with time and patience, as well.

    Thank you for being such a thoughtful caretaker of your son’s information, and being so forthright about it. None of this is easy; as you said, these situations are often hugely complex, even when they look simple on the surface. We’re all human.

  3. I can’t explain in depth because that’s not part of the public story; some info is just for my son, you know? (I feel that you understand that from your comment.) It’s just that every time he asks, I feel like I should know more. I’m just not sure if or how to reach out.

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