“Christopher… where’s your dad?” “Christopher’s mommy… does he have a dad?” Those are the questions we get and each time I hear one I have to do a very graceful dance as not to miss a beat with my answer in order to ensure that Christopher believes that our family unit is one that is not different, but rather special and unique. Father’s Day is an interesting day for me; it’s a pretty big reminder that there is no dad in my son’s life and a reminder that we may never know who his “birth dad” is. The day he said to me, “Mommy… my friend said at school if I didn’t have a dad then I would have never been born,” I was a bit stunned on how to react as I had yet to tell him his “birth dad story.”
Father’s Day is a reminder to me that one day I may face him having an identity crisis about who he is, where he comes from and who his birth parents are. From what I’ve read, it seems every adopted child has questions and often wants answers. Just the other day I mentioned to a friend I needed to return a skirt I had bought and he heard me. He then said “Mommy, you may need that skirt if you get married.” I asked him if he wanted me to get married and he said “Yes, because I want a dad.” His comment is no reason for me to run off and do just that, but obviously having a dad is on his mind.
He understands that he wasn’t born in my belly, but rather someone else’s and that she asked me to raise him for her. Christopher’s birth mom made really poor choices on how she lived her life (she was one tough cookie, as it shows in his little spirit every day) and she couldn’t remember who she was with the night he was conceived. She was stunned when he popped out and that he was truly biracial. I have DNA information on my son stored in a national tracking database that may one day lead me to his birth family roots. I’m thankful that we may have that option for the future.
So how do I handle the present day questions and especially Father’s Day? Do I ignore it or embrace it? Do I tell him to call me “Moddy” because I am Mom and Dad to him? When writing this blog I discovered that the noun father/dad is synonymous with protect, comfort, advise and nurture… are these actions tied to just one gender? I think you would answer the same I would; no, they are not.
Last year I decided to celebrate Father’s Day in a different way. We got away for a special overnight trip and we talked about all the people in his life who love him and who we consider our family. Naming all of our friends and family helps him understand he has an enormous amount of people in his life who care about him and who want to protect him, comfort him, give him advice and nurture him just like a dad would. We’re not overly religious, but I do want my son to grow up with an appreciation for religion and having faith in something bigger than himself, so we also talk about God our Father and how He wants to help guide and protect us too.
So the dance continues each time we get the “Where is… ?” or “Do you have a… ?” and I want to protect him from the questions that may not have the answer he wants to hear… and then I remind myself that Christopher will believe that our family unit is one that is not different, but rather special and unique if I keep dancing to the right beat and helping to create his story.
A big Happy Father’s Day to all of you “Moddys” reading this blog!