Wednesday, June 13, 2018


What is a father? Someone who is not only a parent, but a friend, teacher, protector and confidante. Someone who teaches you about family, friendships and the world.

In this day and age, a father figure may be more than the man who lives in a home with a child. It could be a grandfather, uncle, older cousin, teacher or neighbor. Male role models come in all shapes and sizes.

My growing up years included a father who was always available. We shared joyous and challenging times. I got my early musical interest from my dad and included playing the guitar and listening to folk and classical music. We built and fixed things together and cared for a series of family pets. I remember following him around and learning how to do things and how to treat others. He was a loving, affectionate, empathetic and ethical man.

He was a part of my adoption story, from the early days when I was told I could not biologically have a child to the days my daughters, his granddaughters, came home to live with me. He embraced them with the same compassion and protectiveness he always showed me. He was part of their lives, teaching them how to fish, play ball, laugh, love and so much more. He was the icing on the cake of what their father was providing. My girls were very lucky.

There was never a moment when a male role model wasn’t present. When grandpa passed, they still had their dad. At 27 and 30, my daughters have male friends and new role models. They know what a loving relationship can be. Women must stand up for themselves and demand proper and respectful treatment by the men in their lives. As parents, we have a responsibility to demonstrate proper treatment and relationships. We can do this through discussion and proper role modeling.

With adoption being a part of our children’s’ experiences, it is important to raise the question of birth fathers. This can be difficult and perhaps, when our children are older, we can help them to understand what the role of the birth father was in their story. Why he may not be present. Why he decided he could not parent. Why he may have never acknowledged paternity. Why he lives in a different home. How his behavior changed their destiny. How not to repeat this cycle.

Yet with adoption, I think of all the men who stepped forward - the adoptive fathers, the uncles, grandfathers and adult male friends, the teachers, tutors, coaches and more who are filling that role.

Father’s Day is a great time to have a discussion with your child (daughters and sons). Asking them if they ever wonder about their birth father gives you a chance to find out what they are thinking and reminds them that you are always there to discuss things with them. It might be a good time for your child to express how they are feeling. A good time for you to add more information to their adoption narrative. It is also a good time for you to reconnect with how you are feeling about adoption and if your child has strong male role models in their life.

On Father’s Day I wish you and your family a day filled with love, memories and dreams of what is and what may be.

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 expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and is currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood, Adoption Professional Advisory Council of HelpUSAdopt and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including 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