The last adoption story I am sharing here on the blog is one close to home. My eldest daughter was adopted by my first husband. Tashley has loved her father before he was officially hers on paper. We are both glad he chose to be her Dad. Here is her story in her words.
Hey there everyone, my name is Tashley, you all know my mom, Julie, pretty well, but this is my first time really introducing myself on her blog.
As you all know, it is Adoption Awareness month, and although it’s not something I think about much, my father adopted me when I was two years old. I say that I don’t think about it much because I can tell you first hand that there is no difference in the love shown to a child by adoption, rather than blood. Those who don’t know my story, don’t even know I’m adopted.
My father was only 19 and taking on a responsibility that not many 19 year old guys would. I wouldn’t know it until many years later, but he sacrificed so much to be a father to me. Although he didn’t officially become my father on paper until I was over two, he was my father while my mother was carrying me.
He was there, in the hospital the day I was born. He took on the task of raising me as his own. He worked full time to support our family, while he attended school full time. He showed me more love than you can imagine.
I knew, at a young age that my dad had adopted me and that somewhere else in this world there was a man that shared my DNA. Years passed, our family grew, many changes occurred, but even with my parents’ divorce, my father stayed my father. He supported me through every stage of life, whether it was boys, getting good grades, introducing me to college, the struggles I faced during college or even when I told him that he was about to be a grandfather at the ripe age of 40.
My parents told me the story more than once. The story of how my father adopted me. The story where one man, wasn’t ready to be a father, yet this one, stepped up and became the best father I could ask for. Naturally, as I became a teen, I was curious about this other man. I wanted to know more, but it was a very touchy subject.
I remember I found out his first name, and I knew he was the same age as my parents, so I did what any teen would do…I snooped! I looked into my mom’s yearbooks and I found 3 guys with that name, I knew just by the picture which one he was, and that is pretty much all I had, were a couple old high school photos of him. When I moved out, I got his address and spent months perfecting a letter to him. I remember not wanting to come off “needy” because honestly I didn’t need him, I had a father. But there was something in me that yearned for him to know I knew about him, I needed him to know I knew about the situation and that I was open to a conversation, at least. The day I received a response letter, well, let’s just say for once in my life I was speechless. It took me an hour to even open it. I tried to brace myself because there was no telling if I was about to read that he wanted nothing to do with me or not to contact him again or if he was actually going to want a father-daughter relationship that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. Eventually, I opened it, to my relief, it was a generally nice letter. He said he wondered if I would ever know about him, if he would ever have the opportunity to meet me. He told me about his wife and three sons. He told me that if I ever needed anything, not to be shy and that if it was something I wanted, we could meet.
So I emailed him, and we set a time and place to get together. I don’t think I had ever been that nervous before. It was kind of calming to find out we had a few things in common. Looking at him I saw facial features that were similar and I even noticed we made similar gestures as we spoke and we even ordered similar food. It was weird, but calming. I felt comfortable with him. We hugged at the end of our meeting, which was awkward, but over the years, our hugs have became warm and our relationship has become a friendship. After knowing him for almost 10 years now, I am grateful for that opportunity, but at the same time, I know that my life was enriched by my father taking on the role he did.
My biological father wasn’t ready for that responsibility, but I was lucky enough to have someone in my life that was. My dad has shown me the strength it takes to be a parent, the love it takes to love a child that may not be of your own blood and the blessing that comes with it. I have used that knowledge in my life, especially now as a stepmother. I know, no matter what I do, my father is there behind me, standing strong and loving unconditionally.