Friday, June 17, 2011

What I’m thinking about this Father’s Day

I was amazed at the amount of attention Birthmother’s Day received this year. And now that Father’s Day is upon us, has anyone blogged about birthfathers? Did any adoptive parents out there send a Happy Birthfather’s Day card? Were any children asked to create a cute craft project for Birthdad? Anyone? Anyone? Where are the Birthfather’s Luncheons this Saturday? (On second thought, men wouldn’t attend a luncheon, so maybe we could organize a Birthfather’s Fishing Trip instead.) Birthmothers are said to be “courageous,” “willing to sacrifice,” “unselfish,” and “wise.” But birthfathers are often “Charlatan,” “irresponsible,” “manipulative,” and “deadbeat.” If the occasional birth father does show interest in his child, we’re mad at him for it! He mucks up the adoption process by taking his time signing papers or contesting the adoption. So, in honor of all the birthfathers who will not be recognized this weekend, I am going to write about my birthfather.

I first made contact with Mike when I was 20 years old. As soon as I learned his name I sent him a letter. On Valentines Day 1987 I received this response:

Dear Megan, from the facts that you set forth in your letter of January 26, 1987 there is no question in my mind that I am your biological father. Your real father, your father in every significant sense other than biological, is your adoptive father. I have thought a good deal about whether to respond to your letter. My wife was of the opinion that I should not, because to do so may change your relationship with your adoptive parents whom as you state, do not understand your desire to identify your biological parents. Although there is some merit in her concern I have decided to write you one time. I believe that you do have a right to know something about how and from whom you came about. I do not want to start an ongoing relationship with you, however, and will respond to no other communications . . .

13 pages later, Mike closes the letter:

Megan, I hope this letter is of some help to you in understanding who you are and where you came from. I am glad you love your parents and are happy in your life. I am now sure that Jane and I made the correct decision some twenty-one years ago. With love, Mike

Mike’s letter was exactly what I had yearned for and expected. I was thrilled! I treasured this letter, hand-written on yellow note paper. I would take it out and read it once in a while, but per his request, did not attempt more contact. Then in 1996 a woman I met via an online adoption newsgroup persuaded me to phone him and ask for a visit. By this time he was divorced and his children were grown; he had nothing to lose from meeting me, so he consented. We arranged for me to fly to Southern California where he was living. “Do you think you’ll recognize me?” I asked. He said he wouldn’t, so we told each other what we’d be wearing the day we were to meet – he’d have on a navy sports jacket and I’d be in a purple collared shirt and white slacks. On Saturday a few weeks later I caught an early morning flight from Chicago to LA to see my sire face to face. That weekend long ago has added bright colors to my self-image. He drove me down the peaceful coast in his red Mazda Miata convertible and took me to nice restaurants Saturday lunch and dinner. I can never get enough California seafood! Mike let me look through his extensive CD collection, and I was not surprised that we love the same types of music--Annie Lennox, Cole Porter, Mussorgsky among others. He shared with me stories about his Kept daughter, two stepdaughters, and several of his romantic relationships. And I told him about my family. We discussed theology and politics. He is agnostic but wasn’t bothered that I am religious. He told me about his law practice. Once I asked him, “Do you think we look alike?” No, he didn’t. I couldn’t see any physical resemblance either. Sunday morning he took me to breakfast at Denny’s and then drove the red Miata back to the airport. He kissed me on the check as we said goodbye. That night at home, I stared at myself in the mirror. I stared and stared. Then, turning my face slightly to the right, a shadow fell on my nose and chin just so. And there he was! I saw my birthdad’s face in mine.

After our visit I sent Mike a couple of letters, but he didn’t respond. I received one Christmas card from him the following December and then no more. I gave up trying to stay in touch. He’s not interested. Every so often I Google him. He is still registered as an active member of the California Bar Association.

Some day in the future when I Google Mike, I will find an obituary. At age 78, he could be around another 20 years, or he could be gone tomorrow. I wonder if I should send him a card this Father’s Day. . . Naw, he's not interested.

Note: I lost my real dad April 6 of this year. I started to write a post about him, but I was crying too much, so I stopped. I am still in active mourning for this great man. I’ll write about Dad another time because he so deserves to be celebrated. But let me just say that he is no doubt the driving force behind my support of adoption. I have a strong conviction that more adoptions should be happening. Kids need loving, strong fathers. When I was growing up I never, ever didn’t want a dad in my home. I can’t imagine not having my dad. He is the kindest person I’ll ever know. Dads shouldn’t be optional accessories in kid’s lives.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow what a beautiful post. thanks for sharing a little of your story :)

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