Since Father’s day has recently passed, and this was my first Father’s Day being a legal father, I thought it would be appropriate to make a guest appearance on the family blog to talk a little about my perspective as an adoptive dad. I have never been mistaken as articulate, or well written so please bear with me.
Many of you know that Ileah and I were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia before Jayden came into our lives. We started the process nearly a year before his surprise entrance, but even starting the adoption process for Ethiopia was one we had many long talks about. It was something Ileah had always intended, and I was on board from the start. However, I always thought we would have our own biological child first, and then maybe adopt later on. If I am being honest, a part of me has always been concerned with how I would treat, or think about, my adoptive child in comparison to a biological child. Ileah and I hope to have a bio at some point, and this was a real concern that I was pretty open about with her prior to starting our paperwork journey. I know this sounds very shallow, but it was something that I really struggled with. I know Ileah has spoken with many want to be adoptive moms whose husbands cannot fathom the notion of raising someone else’s child. They want their own flesh and blood. They think there will be a difference in how much they can love a child that is not “a part of them”. But here is the honest truth; I learned very quickly after Jayden’s arrival that a “difference” would never be seen or felt on my part. I can’t imagine loving someone more than I love him. I think God works in AMAZING ways and makes great situations out of seemingly hopeless ones. Even though we didn’t know it, he was preparing us for Jayden from the start.
Many times over the past month I have found myself feeling so blessed that Jayden is my son, and that I am his father. In the adoptive community, they always talk about a child finding their “Forever Family”, but truly, I feel like it should be more like a family finding their forever child. He is mine forever and to my ears, it just sounds too good to be true. He is OUR blessing, OUR gift, OUR treasure. WE are the lucky ones!
So, how has the journey been so far….well, here are a few random thoughts that have resonated with me since becoming a dad:
-I always knew that I had great parents, but I never fully appreciated it until I became a parent myself. I am so grateful for them being close by in Hilliard. It is so fun to watch them be grandparents.
-It really does take a village to raise a child. We have had so much help from friends and family. Especially when it comes to people being willing to watch Jayden so Ileah and I can have date nights. Also, from people providing us with clothes, toys, strollers, etc.
-Having a child has made our marriage even stronger. You really do have to be a team.
-Kids are crazy, and sugar highs are a real thing.
-God is great and works in awesome ways.
-As a dad I have realized I really do need to watch what I do around Jayden. He observes and imitates everything.
-I wish life were as simple as a 4 year old makes it.
-Daily I find myself saying things that my parents used to say to me. I am still not sure how I feel about that.
A few more thoughts:
Before having Jayden I worried about how I would handle tough questions from my adoptive child. Would I have the right answers? How much should they know? I don’t want to tell them something that will hurt their feelings, or confuse them. Ileah and I have read the books, and done the training on how to handle such questions, but I always wondered how I would respond when it actually happens.
Since having Jayden I have learned that kids pick up on a lot more than you may think. He is very observant and hears nearly everything (except when you actually want him to listen of course). I have learned that as long as you are doing your best, and have your child’s best interest at heart, you are doing the “right” thing, and even if you don’t necessarily say the “right” thing, your child will learn to trust you and trust is the building blocks for the really hard discussions you will eventually need to have with them. You answer their questions honestly, and with enough detail that is appropriate for their age. Couple that with reassuring them how much you love them, and you can’t ever REALLY screw up too bad.
Just like all parents I am sure Ileah and I are in for a wild ride with Jayden, and the rest of the kiddos that will enter our lives. I get very excited when I think about the future of the Reichert family. It also causes a little bit of fear and stress, but I can’t think of two other people that I would rather be on this journey with than my partner in crime, Jayden and my rock, Ileah.
Once again thank you to everyone that has helped Ileah and I over the past couple of years. We are truly blessed for everyone in our lives, especially the cute, blonde 4 year old that we thank God for every day!