Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Letter to my Biological Father

Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable #39: Father’s Day: 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?

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[Note: I am an "open adoption blogger" because of my participation in an open adoption as an adoptive parent, but this prompt spoke more to the adoptee part of me so I am approaching it from that angle.]

Dear _______,

I have to admit, I'm sort of annoyed at this writing prompt for making me think of you on this day. Though I have thought of you occasionally over the years, and have been thinking of you increasingly lately, this is not a day that I associate with you. And yet, when I read the prompt, I knew you were the one I wanted to write to, even though I begin not knowing what it is specifically that I want to say.

So I am sitting here, on this day that isn't about you for me, wondering if it is about you for anyone else. Your father's obituary wasn't clear: grandchildren were listed (with me not among them, of course) but their parentage was not specified. You appeared in the "survived by" listing alone, without a wife, but that doesn't mean there wasn't one previously. There could have been several for all I know. There is so much about you that is unknown to me. I know a few things about who you were all those years ago, when our story began, and I know a few things about your current situation (thank you Google). But the arc of your life between then and now is a mystery. I met your mother once, as you know, and she didn't mention that you have any other children. My understanding (admittedly uncertain) is that I am your only biological child.

But there are lots of ways to be a father. Did you get to be "Dad" to someone? Or did you miss your one chance?

This is what the closed adoption system has bequeathed to me: a bunch of fragments that I try to piece together to create a picture of you. It is a distorted, unclear image but dear to me because it is all I have of you.

Mapquest tells me I could be on your doorstep in 2 hours and 13 minutes. How surprised would you be if were to show up today, on this day that is not about us, but could have been. Our story resides mostly in that realm: the realm of "could have been." But there is also an element of it that falls into the category of "could be." There can be no past for us, but there could be a present. If you are willing. I do not know that you are willing. And that is why I will not make that drive on this day or any day in the near future.

But on this Father's Day what I want to say to you is that there is part of me that really wants to make that drive, and it is growing stronger. How would I explain myself, standing before you on your doorstep, a complete stranger and yet no stranger at all. All I could really say is this: "I just wanted to see you. I just want to know who you are."

Please visit Open Adoption Bloggers to find more responses to this prompt.

Happy Father's Day to all who are fathers, even those who did not get to be parents.


  1. Gosh, wow! That was powerful and now I have tears. Good luck whichever way you decide to go with your dilemma. :)

  2. Barbara Jean WalshJune 18, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    I'd forgotten all about Fathers Day. I hope you mailed this letter. I keep thinking of writing one to him myself. (And I did at least once, but no reply.) This post didn't make me weepy, just mad.

  3. Well written! It really does suck how our closed adoptions have a way of seeping into days unwanted.

  4. There is powerful emotion coming out in your words ... this is why I hope someday as we continue to reach out that my girls' birth fathers build some relationship with them and their siblings ... your words hit to the core of what closed adoption has done to so many and it makes me mad to think there are still prospective adoptive parents out there that don't think about what their future child will be feeling when they decide they want no contact after placement ... Thank you for sharing ... as always very thought provoking! I wish you well on this part of your journey ....

  5. Beautiful and pretty close to my story as well.

    Mommysquared is right too - before they adopt some never stop and think about what their kids will feel in the future

  6. NEVERSAIDGOODBYEJune 18, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    I found my bio dad 6 years after I found my bio mom. It was huge for me and I too found him thru an obituary and his locating information off of google. I am glad so glad I found him. While we are not close I have found his brother to be a wonderful asset to my life.

  7. Love it! Thanks so much for sharing! We have so many similar parts of our adoption that its chilling to read sometimes! I did just that... Showed up at my birth fathers door step. It was so nerve wrecking, but that 3 hour drive I prayed and prayed... just wanted to see his face.. To see who I look like.. Is that too much to ask.. :) I love reading your blog, we share so many of the same emotions! xo! Love ya from one adoptee to another!


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