Birth Fathers, First Fathers: To Acknowledge, Remember, Honor

I wrote last month about Birth Mother’s Day, observed by some on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

I am a big advocate of birth/first parents, and work to include them in conversations about adoption policy. But I freely admit I rarely note the fathers specifically.

So here today, the Saturday before Father’s Day, I embrace, metaphorically at least, all those men, young and old, who have lost their children to adoption and yet still keep them in their hearts.

I acknowledge all those men who may not know that they have a child, and who may never know.

I honor all those men who wanted to provide a safe, stable home for their children, were unable to, and who did the genuine best they could.

I honor those men who work to connect with the adoptive family in an open adoption, who work to connect with their child’s mother in a complex situation, and who are a positive presence in their child’s life, whether the child is 2 or 32.

I recognize those fathers, dead and alive, who did not get the support they needed, who were left on the sidelines, whose hearts may have broken in silence and without tears.

I hold in my heart those men who no longer have a common language or culture with their child, who are separated by geography or prison or illness, who hold fast to their children nonetheless.

And I offer hope: hope that they are not forgotten, hope that their children are well, and hope that we can continue to enlarge our understanding of family, in a dignified and powerful way, for all the fathers in our lives.

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