One word to describe how you felt the moment you discovered your partner was having a baby?
When I found out my college girlfriend was pregnant the first thing I did was throw up, and about passed out. At the time I blamed it on the snow and ice on the ground, but once the shock wore off I was excited.
What led you to choose adoption?
Initially we had talked about it because we weren’t together, neither of us were ready to be parents, and we didn’t want to raise our daughter in a split home, but after thinking about it I quickly changed my mind, and decided that it would be better to co-parent. Eventually we got engaged and then she decided she to go a different route, and called off the engagement and picked both the adoption agency, and the family on her own. After trying to find an attorney, and being told that I had better chance at having a relationship with her through adoption than fighting for custody, I agreed to it.
What and who played the biggest role in your decision to place your child for adoption?
Realizing that I wouldn’t be able to provide for her in the way I felt my daughter deserved was ultimately what led to my decision to adopt. I talked to my parents about it, and they agreed that it would be difficult with me being in the military, and raising her on my own. I didn’t think that it would be fair to my daughter to struggle, and I didn’t want to leave her without her father if I had been deployed, and something would have happened to me.
What did you think about adoption before you placed? And after you placed?
Before I placed my daughter for adoption, I didn’t know much about it, and I didn’t know anybody that had been through it. But, I had been interested in adopting a child of my own one day. After the adoption, I was angry, and hurt, and felt like I had given up, and like I had let my daughter, and my family down by agreeing to adoption. Looking back now, I have a very positive feeling towards it, and jump at the chance to not only advocate for adoption, but to tell my story.
What surprised you most about the adoption process?
I was surprised the most by how thorough the screening process is, as well as the fact that my ex was able to look through different couples profiles, and pick who she thought would be the best fit for our daughter.
Looking back, what do you wish you had known then that you know today?
Looking back now, I wish that I had known that the whole process is, and continues to be an emotional one. Before adoption, I had looked at as an out for people that either didn’t want to be parents, weren’t ready for it, or were basically dead beat parents that never cared for their child to begin with.
If you could dispel any myths about adoption or birth fathers - what would you say?
Adoption is a positive thing! It gives the child the chance at a new and better life. I also think that it gives birth parents the chance to be a miracle for couples, or single parents the chance to be parents when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. One of the most popular myths about being a birth father that I want to dispel is that we aren’t dead beats, and most of us care about our children’s life. Everything that I am, and have accomplished to this day is because of my little girl. Being a dad is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I want other people, birth fathers in particular, to know, and understand that that although they don’t play an active role in their child’s life, it’s still important to be a part of it, and for them to find a way to let their children know how much they are loved.
When, if ever, have you felt most discouraged about your decision to place?
I still go through times when I’m discouraged about my decision. Mostly because I know that I’ve missed out on important milestones such as first steps, first words, birthdays, and holidays. I felt the most discouraged at the very beginning. I went through a very dark time where I drank heavily, walked away from my faith, my family, and my friends, and attempted suicide.
How would you describe your relationship with your child today?
I have a phenomenal relationship with my daughter that is due in part to the family that adopted her. They talk to her about me constantly, remind her how much I love her, and encourage her to have a relationship with me.
What's been the greatest reward or surprise of being a birth father?
The greatest reward to being a birth father is the chance to say that I am a dad. It may not be in a traditional role, but it has given me the chance to tell my story, and of course, brag about her. Because I had never been exposed to adoption, I was surprised by the fact that my daughter’s adoptive parents treat me like family, and reach out to me to keep me updated without me even having to as. They love me like their own, and that’s more than I could ever ask for.
What's your greatest wish for birth parents today?
My greatest wish for birth parents is that they realize how important it is to maintain a relationship with both their child, and the family that adopted them. Not all adoptions are open like mine is, but that doesn’t mean that their child won’t one day want to reach out to them to learn where they came from. In my opinion the worst thing birth parents can do is not be open with the family, and the children. It may not be the traditional parent, child role, but at the end of the day, we are all parents with one common goal of wanting the absolute best for our children.
What excites you about BraveLove?
I am most excited at the chance to be an advocate for both adoption, and being a birth parent, as well as the opportunity to share my story with as many people as possible, and to help council birth parents.