What is your name and how long ago did you place for adoption?
My name is Zach. In August it'll be six years since I placed for my daughter adoption. It seems like just the other day I was holding her in my arms!
Do you have an open or closed adoption?
I have been fortunate enough to have an open adoption, and I thank God for it every day. I couldn't imagine living life knowing that I had a daughter that I couldn't or didn't have contact with.
How has being a birth father changed you for the better?
Being a birth father has changed me for the better by teaching me how to better let go of a little bit of control, and trust that everything happens for a reason. It has also taught me that adoption isn't just a one-time process. To me, it's a very fluid relationship that comes with both good and bad days.
What has been the most difficult part of being a birth father?
The relationship is always changing. Its hard to let go of something that you helped create, and trust total strangers to raise your child. Sometimes it can be frustrating because you may not always agree with the choices the adoptive parents have made, and the same can be said with how they feel about some of the choices that birth parents make. Going back to the question, some of the most difficult parts of being a birth father are holidays like Father's Day.
It's hard knowing that my daughter is calling somebody else "daddy" but, ultimately, it's all part of the process, and in my opinion, more than anything, it teaches us, as fathers, how to be more resilient.
What is one piece of encouragement you would share with birth fathers?
Keep your head up, and don't give up hope on having a relationship with your kids! There's nothing wrong with missing your kids. They are part of us, so it's natural for us to miss them, and want more time with them. Also, and this is something that I struggle with, swallow your pride, and reach out to adoptive dad from time to time. It's not easy, but I promise they are struggling on Father's day, just as much as you are.
What does being a father mean to you?
Being a father is first off the coolest thing I have been called! To answer your question, being a father means more than just playing an active role. Especially as a birth father, and watching somebody else raise your child. It can be challenging, and disheartening. Being a father means setting an example of how you want your children to live. But it can't be done just through words, it also has to be done through actions. It means showing your daughters how a lady should be treated, and setting an example of what they should look for in a man, and showing your sons how to treat women, and the type of man they should be. Being a father means putting on a brave face, even when you're terrified of the outcome, and showing your kids that it's ok to fail but important to always get back up.
To me, being a father means living fearlessly, and loving my daughter unconditionally. As birth fathers, we have to love our kids from a distance, and that's not easy, but I think that loving our kids through adoption, and through pictures, and through the pain, is not only one of the purest forms of love but a perfect example of brave love.