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I’ve been an Adoption Professional for many years in various roles within the Adoption Community. By God’s grace, I’ve been able to play a small role in bringing families together through the gift of adoption. As a Birthmother Advocate, I’ve walked beside countless women who have made the brave, courageous decision to choose LIFE in spite of their circumstances.   In 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to adopt our son Milo.  All of the sudden, I was thrust into the world of navigating an open adoption, not as an Adoption Professional, but as a Prospective Adoptive Parent.

I say this because I want you to know my heart…where I have been…what roles I have played within the Adoption Community as well as an Adoption Professional and a member of the Adoption Triad.

Throughout my years in the adoption world, I had many opportunities to work with Birth Fathers. Some interactions were positive.  Some interactions were very difficult for various reasons.  Sadly, I rarely encounter fully and intricately involved Birthfathers who are emotionally supporting the Expectant Mother/Birth Mother and desire to be engaged in the Adoption Process.

Milo’s story includes his Birth Father being very involved during pregnancy and at birth.  He made sure Milo’s Birthmother took her prenatal vitamins.  He drove her to OB appointments and spent the entire time at the hospital with Milo’s Birthmother caring for her.  I will never forget him openly weeping when Milo was born, especially when complications ensued.  I will never forget how he loved on our son for the first 32 hours of his life, before handing him to us, looking us in the eye, and telling us we would carry his heart in our hands for the rest of his life.   I am beyond thankful that almost 3 years later, he never goes longer than a few weeks without calling or texting us to check on how Milo is doing.

Don’t get me wrong…Birthmothers have always amazed me in their resiliency, their ability to hold on and let go at the same time.  They possess a level of selflessness that I will never understand. BUT…Milo’s adoption helped me to realize this: Birthfathers must often do the very same thing with sometimes no-where near the support or recognition they deserve.

No, Milo’s Birthfather did not carry him for 9 months or endure a challenging delivery…but…

  • He still said goodbye at the hospital;
  • still had to navigate his own grief; and
  • still had to leave the hospital empty-handed.

Our relationship with Milo’s Birthfather has changed the way I look at adoption. It changed the way I serve Birthparents as a whole today.

MOST RECENTLY, I sat across the table from a young Birthfather, let’s call him John.

John found himself working with his daughter’s Birth Mother, preparing to make an Adoption Plan.  John was young, he had a steady paying job, and goals for his future. An unplanned pregnancy was the last thing on his radar, something he admits he was nowhere near ready to experience.

I remember the first time we met, he asked HARD and GOOD questions while choking back his tears:

“How will I get through this?”

“Will my daughter hate me when she’s older?”

“Am I less of a man for choosing this path?”

As Milo’s Birth Father and so many other Birth Fathers before John…

  • He still said goodbye at the hospital;
  • still had to navigate his own grief; and
  • still had to leave the hospital empty-handed.

TO ADOPTIVE FAMILIES:

May you always remember that in order for your family to be created, another family had to be broken. I know that not all adoptions involve Birth Fathers. But for the ones that do, I pray when you talk to your child about their adoption story, you tell them of the amazing qualities not only their Birth Mother has, but of their Birth Father, as well.

Ways to Honor Birth Fathers:

  • Send a card on Father’s Day;
  • Remember their birthday; and
  • Ask them their favorite candy and surprise them with a care package in the mail (with a special card from your child too).

All of the Birth Fathers I serve tell me just how special those mementos are. Let’s love ALL BIRTH PARENTS BIG and WELL. The simple truth is…Adoption isn’t possible without them.

TO ADOPTION PROFESSIONALS:

May we rise to meet the needs of those around us. May we give and provide the support needed for both Birth Mothers and Birth Fathers, before and long after placement. Let us LISTEN to them when they speak and validate their grief, which will last a lifetime.

…And Finally…

TO BIRTH FATHERS:

You matter!  We honor you.  We see you.  We know you are important. If you have not experienced the support you deserve, please REACH OUT to the Adoption Professional you worked with for your Adoption.  If you do not receive any response, REACH OUT TO our Post Placement Care Organization: ABIDING LOVE CHARITIES.  We would love to hear your story, understand your perspective and work with you to support you and connect you to resources in your area.

By Thea Barry, Abiding Love Adoption Agency Birth Mother Advocate