Anyone who knows me, knows how close I was to my father. He was a loving and nurturing man. He was my protector and defender. He was incredibly ethical and moral. He treated everyone around him with patience and professionalism.
His experiences as an English teacher influenced my ability to articulate my spoken and written thoughts. His years as an insurance broker resulted in my knowing the importance of a safety net. He shared my love of animals, appreciation of quiet time and the importance of a comfortable pair of jeans or shoes.
I remember clearly being bundled up by my mother and my dad taking my sister and me to the New York Thanksgiving Day Parade. I must have been 5 years old, if that. I remember him taking us sledding, going on walks and enjoying his loving smile and laugh. He allowed me to help him with home repairs and encouraged me to pursue my interests. I was lucky.
My dad passed away 15 years ago and I still miss him. It makes me wonder how children think and feel about the fathers who are physically in their lives or living apart.
Fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and male role models all play an important part in a child’s life. Their contributions to a child’s upbringing should be celebrated.
Many adopted children spend more time talking about their birth mothers and siblings, rather than birth fathers. Is it because we don’t mention them? Is it because there is often less information available? That not knowing leads us to avoid the conversations? Is it because as a society, we place more importance on mothering in a child’s early years? Do we have more difficulty explaining how a man was involved in their coming to be?
Regardless of the reason, we need to have these discussions, amongst ourselves and with our children. Maybe it’s to wonder what he was like or what life might have been like if he was in their lives. Maybe it’s to contemplate which skills, talents, physical or personality traits came from him or even where he is now. I know I will again be thinking about all of this as it applies to my adopted daughters.
On this Father’s Day, as my sister and I remember my father, my daughters remember their grandpa (gumpa as they pronounced it) and my mother remembers the man who loved her dearly, I thank all the men who were part of my daughters’ upbringing.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents, parents-to-be and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA, a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series, currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen at her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly at EMAIL