After just having celebrated Mother’s Day, when we honor those women who have served in the role of mom or hopeful mom, it almost feels like the hoopla descends on a steep slope when it comes to Father’s Day. Maybe the reasoning stems from moms being a more visible symbol of carrying a child through pregnancy or even struggling through the absence of pregnancy because of infertility. Dads and men who long to be dads are often seen as the stoic, strong fixtures of the family unit who portray a different viewpoint than their counterpart. But celebrating these men as fathers is just as important, and encouraging those who are becoming fathers through adoption is just as significant.
Along our adoption journey so far, my husband has demonstrated the diversities between us as we understand and react to each step along the way. Seeing adoption from his point of view has magnified how differently we think, feel, and approach the very same situations. When we take the time to see adoption from a hopeful dad’s point of view, we can understand that they will need just as much support on their journey as a hopeful mom, even if their course requires different directions.
In the beginning stages of the adoption, dads may have different questions that they need answered. Different dads may think differently regarding open or closed adoptions, or one may think of something analytically while another might approach adoption more emotionally. Every waiting father will more than likely have different worries along this process. His worries could revolve around how many extra shifts will he have to take at work in order to fund the adoption or what will it take for him to best bond with the baby once he/she is brought home.
Emotions will also vary as he deals with the ups and downs of adoption. Once the baby finally comes home, a dad will have varied reactions when dealing with comments and questions from outsiders when it comes to talking about your adoption. Society’s perspective on how a dad handles the adoption or what he is supposed to look like throughout the waiting can sometimes cripple these expectant fathers. What we may see as an appropriate response from these men could be a hindrance to what they are thinking or feeling and how they respond to that.
One of the most important things we can do is to surround ourselves with people who are wiser and who have gone before us on the same path. Associate with other adoptive parents who can relay to you the wisdom they learned through their own story. Also, ask for help from other dads who have walked down this road. Men can be notorious for not wanting to stop and ask for directions, but seeking support through friendship can ensure you get where you need to go while making the trip more enjoyable.
Knowing ahead of time that adoptive dads will ask different questions, carry other burdens, have a different perspective, and experience various emotions will help all adoptive parents better appreciate the big picture. Differences can unite us if we are willing to learn from one another. This Father’s Day, recognize the differences that make every dad’s viewpoint on the adoption journey unique. Celebrate a prospective dad and support and encourage him along the journey.
Jill is a 31-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 4-year-old and 3-month-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.