What seams?

I am fraying. My defences are rubbing away and I am on edge. I feel I am approaching critical mass in some way.

Big badda-boom.
Leeloo Dallas. Multipass.

So I have been contemplating my navel, and my relationship (such as it is) with my son. Or my not-son.

It is weird. I do not know how I feel. There are no guidelines. How am I supposed to feel? The oh-so-helpful counselor, before the adoption, told me it was important for me to be there for my girlfriend. That she would need me to be strong for her. The idea that I would have feelings of my own? Preposterous.

So I held my son, after he was born, when he still was my son. And I felt things.

People have the gall to tell me that there is no such thing as a birth father. Because I did not give birth.

Fuck you.

I was there, at his birth. I was his father, at the time of his birth. Mine were the first hands in this world to cradle his little body. Mine, the first tears to fall on his skin. Mine, the hands that passed him to his mother, and mine the heart that died as he left my arms and my life. Don’t you dare tell me I will feel nothing, just because he was not carried within my body. He was my son, he was of my body, and you will not take those moments from me.

So where do you go, in a relationship that starts that way? How do you maintain a relationship with a child who you see for a week out of every 12 months? How do you come to terms with the tiny baby being a boy of five, with his own ideas and opinions (oh my God, the opinions – what does he think of me? What if he hates me? Ohshitohshitohshitohshit!) How do you know what to say, how to act? How do you know when you are crossing boundaries? When you are answering questions in a way his parents do not approve of? How do you know what to get him for his birthday when you do not know what he likes, or what is cool to a kid of five in 2006? When you do not know who he is? Where is the fucking manual?

I am not navigating a maze here. It is a wilderness. There is nothing here, no paths to choose between – no this way or that way. Somehow, I am supposed to come up with my own ideas, I am supposed to pull them from the nothingness. But there is no feedback for right ideas – only wrong. I know when I am doing wrong. Doing right is just expected.

I said it was not a convenient excuse for returning to old ways. But maybe it is. Because at least I know where I stand now. And maybe I welcome Consequences as Feedback.

Ideas as Opiates.


7 Responses to “What seams?”

  1. There are no rules for open adoption. (Despite what social wreckers say). Every day that you will have access to your son, will be days to hold you over, until the days when you see him again.

    It is so heart wrenching, when whether we see them again is not our choice, but the aparents choice. And when they are insecure, because somewhere within them, they don’t know who this boy is, because he is not their son.

    He will have his own ways, his own thoughts, his own dreams, as we all do. But, he needs you. Because you are his father. It is also difficult for us mothers as well, and I really respect you for acknowledging the bond that you and your son have. It makes you a strong person on the inside. And, for every moment that you are with your son, whether you make mistakes or not (even parents who keep their children make mistakes), he will cherish every moment he has with you.

  2. See, I am not sure I agree with you there Heather. I am really not sure that he does need me. Most adoptees, even in open relationships, seem to lack contact with the male side of their genetic identity. I am not his father. He has a father. The position is filled. He does not need me to run behind his bike pretending to hold him up while he pedals his way out of toddlerhood and becomes a Real Boy. He does not need me to take him to Mariners games and feed him hot dogs until he pukes. He does not need me to teach him what two plus three is, to teach him to tie his shoes, or to ramp up the coffee table so that it makes a slope and race cars down it. Well OK, I probably am the only one who does that last bit (we scratched the table, shhhhhhh!) but there is already a guy there doing the rest of it, and if I tried to fill in I would be stepping on his toes.

    I just realized last time I was there, how superfluous I really am. My contribution to this boy is his nose, and his ears, and his grin, and his really bad hair. And that is where my influence ends. My job is done, and if I faded away now, he would lose nothing. He already has all of me.

  3. Hi Brad. Been meaning to read you. I am THRILLED to see a natural father get out there. I had once asked, maybe urged, my daughters father to do this. He is an amazingly gifted writer with lots to say. But alas, he is not able to at this time. I may however refer him to your blog.

    Keep writing. The fathers voice needs to be heard.

  4. ((Brad))

    I would say, that not only did you donate part of your dna to him, but that he will need you in order to understand part of himself, his very identity. His interests, that none of his adoptive family will understand. There is a genetic bond, which may have no words, but has energy, has influence, even if you can’t readily see it.

  5. momseekingpeace Says:

    This post made me cry!
    He does need you, will always need you, you are the best one to show him what a male version of himself thinks like, moves like, talks like, when he has a hobby that the adopters dont relate to and he looks to you and you have the same one he will realize where he gets it from and see that it comes natural, that kind of stuff builds confidence and certainty and self realization.

    When he see’s you he will know what he will look like at 15 and 25 and 30, whether or not he will age well, go bald or have a thick head of hair. He will know if trouble with math is a trait that his natural family had or if the reason he excel’s at writing is because there is a long line of writers in the family.
    When he sits near you he will feel the connection even if he doesnt say it, he will feel a sense of belonging that he cant get anywhere else.
    Yeah make no mistake about it, he needs you.

  6. Thanks Suz. I wish there were more of us making ourselves heard. It is a lonely, lonely place.


  7. you realize, of course, that you are not the norm in the “birthfather realm”. at least not in the experience i’ve had, or of those i’ve read. an un(der)-heard viewpoint. its good to read your thoughts.

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