Happier (?) Father’s Day

June 13th, 2014

by Billy Kaplan

Father’s Day

Fathers-day-2013-front-picThose words don’t seem to have the same impact on our adopted children as “Mother’s Day.”

Why? I’m not really sure, nor do I think anyone knows.

However, I would first speculate that it is clear that at the moment of birth, our children experience a great, and probably traumatic, separation from their birth mothers the moment the literal umbilical cord is cut. Our kids have spent nine months literally connected to their birth mothers only to experience a disconnection that is a medical necessity.

Father’s don’t share the same literal connections.

But birth fathers could share the metaphoric cutting of the connection represented by the umbilical cord that is clearly present for each of our adopted children.

I have to wonder if our kids experiencing the separation from their birth fathers differently from the separation from birth mothers is an unfortunate consequence of a cultural stereotype that dads are not expected to be connected to our kids the same as moms.

And while many of us are blessed to know men who completely, utterly, and entirely break that stereotype, many of our kids do not know the same from their birth fathers.

As one of the kids I worked with said, “My birth father doesn’t matter to me because he was never part of my life.” “Oh, really,” I replied, “he doesn’t matter because he was never there?” “Yeah,” she said, “because he was never there.” “Oh, he was never there?” And… tears and anger when the reality of that set in.

So, I guess we dads can count our blessings that, normally, our adopted children don’t react as strongly, and negatively, to Father’s Day as they do to Mother’s Day (sorry, moms). And yet, we need to be aware that for our kids to fully heal from their trauma-created wounds, at some point we have to “stir the pot” of issues related to their birth fathers.

All that aside: to all you dad’s who work every day to be the best father you can be – be it birth, foster or adoptive – I wish you all the best Father’s Day can offer.

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