In my work as a writer at an adoption agency, I was at first surprised to see how female-focused things seem to be in adoption. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that — I was just caught unaware by the absence of men in the process.

Our birth parent specialists are women, hopeful adoptive moms seem to be the ones who frequently take the lead in growing their family through adoption (excluding our two-dad families, of course), and most of the pregnant women going through the adoption process do so without the biological father. Unfortunately, the baby’s father is often unknown or uninterested.

I was surprised to see this because my own situation couldn’t be more different. I grew up in an open adoption. Not only has my own dad been there for me my whole life, but my birth father has been there, too.

I tried my best to articulate how I feel about my mom and birth mom in honor of Mother’s Day. So, this one goes out to the dads:

For My Dad

My dad — the one who adopted me, raised me and checks in on me daily, whether I want him to or not — has given me everything and then some. 

Everything my dad does, he does for the sake of his family. He worked hard his whole life to make sure that we could have every opportunity and experience. He’ll take three trips to the store in a day without complaint to make sure that my mom and I have the coffee creamer that we like, and then he’ll carefully lay out mugs and spoons for us before we wake up. He doesn’t even drink coffee himself. He was out at 5 a.m. on winter mornings to warm up my car and scrape the ice off so I could sleep in before heading off to high school. 

He’s the adorable antithesis to my mother, but they share the same compassion-driven, gooey center that I say is him being “a sap.” My dad towers with dark hair, speckled silver — ambitious, booming and unstoppably curious about the people in the world. Traditional, but often surprising. Meet him and you’ll remember him. Unforgettable. Harry Watts has style.

You did good, Dad. I’m so glad that it was you and Mom.

I love you, by the way.

For My Birth Dad

I have more of a relationship with my birth father than I do my birth mother. This is a little unusual among adoptees, but it’s just how things worked out in my birth parents’ lives. 

Father’s Day can bring up some understandably complex feelings for adoptees who don’t know or don’t have a relationship with their biological father. I feel lucky that, for me, Father’s Day is a day to recognize my birth dad’s positive contributions to my life, alongside my dad’s.

I’ll never stop being grateful to my birth dad for two simple but huge things:

  1. Giving me my dad
  2. Sticking around

I’ve already explained how important that first thing is to me, so about that second thing: 

You hold an important role in my life that is entirely your own. You’ve always accepted that and stepped into it with grace. I might not have needed you in the same way as I did a Dad, but having you in my life is something I just genuinely enjoy. 

I’m honored that you treat me like family. Nothing you do for me is somehow required — you just do it because you love me. Knowing that you feel the same about me as I do about you means more to me than you probably know.

I count myself immeasurably fortunate to not only have my dad but to also have you. So, thank you for both of those things: for my dad and for being you.

For My Dads

Some people don’t have a dad in their lives. Here I am with two. 

They check in on me, make sure I have everything I could ever need or want, influence who I want to be and love me to an absurd degree. Like, so ridiculous. They do this unconditionally, without asking for thanks or anything in return, and they do this in tandem with one another.

All respect to these guys. I am usually not the most effusive with affection or praise, and I’m often just generally a pain. 

So, in case I fail to tell you at a later date: Good work. Thank you. I love you.

Diana Watts is an adoptee and a staff writer at American Adoptions. You can read more about her adoption story here.