Our recent April Fathers’ Only session was wonderful. I think initially, I was a little anxious to see if the fathers would be participative or hesitant with their thoughts and questions; but I was pleasantly surprised to see so much dialogue and stories being shared. One observation that I took away from this session was that the fathers were taking NOTES! This was thrilling to see them so engaged and writing down things that they could revisit after our session concluded.
The concept of how important fathers are in the adoption process was discussed in detail and I truly feel that each father walked away having an added appreciation for their importance to the bonds that make a healthy family. Often times, mothers are perceived to be the main focus/drivers of adopted children in growing their connection with their new families. Fathers will sometimes feel they need to take a back seat and may not understand the tremendous value they bring in their own activities they do with their adoptive children. Fathers may also face the challenge of finding time to spend with their adoptive children since they may be the main source of income which may cause their schedules to be a bit tight. If this is the case with you, I encourage you to understand that it’s about quality and not quantity of time with your children. This reminds me of the times I spent with my father growing up. My father was a bus driver and had long hours that prevented him from spending as much time with me and my sister. This, however, did not take away from the value and quality of the time I did spend with him when an opportunity presented itself. One of my favorite memories is going fishing with my father and spending time on the docks waiting for a bite on my lure. These fishing trips only came up a handful of times throughout the year, but I enjoyed many long and deep conversations with my father while we caught trout and catfish. These memories are invaluable to me and resonate just as much as any bike ride with my mom to the park or coloring session in my room. To me, fathers represent that strength in a family that adoptive children can depend on when they need advice. Mothers, by the nature of being women, can sometimes be more emotional with their feedback/answers and adoptive children may favor their fathers for a more condensed reply. Fathers, my message to you is to never underestimate your role…your value…and your relevance.