An Indian Adoptee Reclaims His Voice in the Desi Diaspora
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Father’s Day for an Adoptee

June 21, 2009

I have a father, who I consider one of my closest friends in the world.

But this post is not about the man I know, but rather my biological father, whom I don’t.

Who is my birth father? I’ve often wondered what he’s like.

Are we the same height? Do we have similar body types? Do we both have deep voices or long “good for piano” fingers?

Does he share my intellectual curiosity, my annoyingly bushy eyebrows? If I saw him standing next to me, would I recognize myself in him?

What would I say to him if I met him?

In the vernacular of the international adoption world, the birth father is rarely mentioned. You can find multitudes of writing regarding adoption trauma and biological mothers, but the bio-father remains absent.

Let’s look at a few reasons why.

  • He wasn’t the one who carried you in his womb for nine months
  • There isn’t the same emotional bond between a father and child, as with mother and her child
  • Mothers are considered nurturers, not fathers
  • Some women were raped and do not know the perpetrator
  • Many mothers were unwed women, who don’t want their parents to know the biological father
  • The biological mother knows her partner wants nothing to do with their child
  • Parents were unaware their daughter was sexually active

The arguments are many, but that doesn’t mean birth father discussion is unwarranted.

Furthermore, in some cases, when the biological father is present during the adoption process, the whole picture becomes cloudy and confused. He may even seek custody of his child. I know there are probably other grounds for why biological fathers are generally ignored in adoption circles, that was not an exhaustive list.

Regardless of who my birth father is, he biologically created me. That isn’t deniable.

For that reason alone, I’m giving him some words today.

He impacted me, whether or not he was actually at my birth. I assume he was not there, but I don’t know my personal details about this. But I have half his chromosomes.

Do we believe the falsehood that adoptees don’t wonder about who “their father is,” like they wonder about who “their mother is?” Clearly, we must, but why?

Aside for the reasons mentioned earlier, I think we bypass the subject because we don’t know how to discuss them. We’re afraid to talk about biological father’s because they are enigmas, difficult to explain.

Talking about birth fathers seems a messy proposition and most in the adoption community would rather shy away.

The adoption triad seemingly ignores the possibility a child may want to meet their birth father, or at the very least question who he is. Surely I’m not the only adoptee that thinks we excessively focus on biological mothers.

This Father’s day I will honor the man I call my father and who raised me. He is an amazing Dad, who influences who I am today.

But I’m also celebrating my biological father. I know nothing about him.

Tomorrow, I’ll return focus to biological mothers and issues that vein of conversation raises.

But today it’s ‘Father’s’ Day, and somewhere is the man who helped give me life.

This one is for you, my birth father, at least one adoptee want to bring you attention, if only for one day.

Lata
June 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm

Hey,

well said. we often if not always leave out the bio. father. Father’s are so important, birth and adopted fathers. Both provide vital ingredients to our existence, yet we always put moms first!

I learned my bio. dad died two months before my birth and that’s is a possible reason why I was placed for adoption. I have three older sisters who were never placed for adoption…I wonder often if he were alive if I would still be in my country, India!

I don’t necessarily think of him on this day, but i think him often whenever I think of my b.mom!

Thank you for posting your thoughts…well said!
Lata

Jared Rehberg
June 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Great post

June 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Adam — This is great! Thank you for writing it. I’m copying it to Bethany and Benjamin because you’ve already made it public on your blog for the whole world to see; and because I hope they, too, will do what you have done and thinking a little bit about their own “birth Dads”.

I know this is the second week I’ve commented on a blog from you. I promise not to comment on every one you ever write — that’s a cross-my-heart promise!!

But to be honest and to my own amazement, I’m not sure I have ever once thought about your birth father, not more than a fleeting thought here or there. And I am so sorry I haven’t; sorry I have not talked with you about it, either.

You are right — you carry his DNA, and that is a gift to me … yes, it is a GIFT to me! Because, I really like all the distinctives about you that you mention in your essay (including your eyebrows!). And some of those things might not be there (including your innate abilities and temperament) but for what your father put into you at the “beginning”. Furthermore, without your birth father YOU would not be here — and I could not imagine life without you, my dear son.

So, I plan to make some changes in my thinking starting today. From this moment forward, I will begin to hold in my heart a song of thanksgiving for the father who gave you life. Just as, from the first moment I held you, there has been a song of thanksgiving in my heart for the priceless role you have played in helping to make me the father I am today.

And through it all, I must not forget the words of Scripture in Ephesians 3: 14-21 which begins by acknowledging that the whole idea of “fatherhood” (by birth or adoption) has eternal roots in the very nature of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a fantastic eternity lies before us, Adam, as we share together with our “common Father” all that He has secured for us through the death, resurrection and everlasting reign of His supreme Son (our “elder brother”) who has brought us into the “family” that never ends.

Your grateful DAD

Subini
June 25, 2009 at 1:52 pm

AJ,
Your point is well thought out and articulated. The loss of birth father, the gaining of an adoptive father-both are so often left out of the equation when talking about adoption.
You are right, the dialogue of adoption sends us subtle messages to focus on our biological mothers, instead of our fathers. Thank you for reminding me to give my biological father the same attention as my biological mother.
Thank you for sharing.
Subini

July 7, 2009 at 2:40 am

Nice!

July 21, 2009 at 2:46 am

Thanks for the post. A friend of mine from D.C. forwarded me your blog. You made some good points. I am not adopted, but I was raised first by my grandma then by my mother. From age 2 to 17, I had very little interaction with my father. The few encounters I could remember were very bad. In short, I hated him. Yet over time, year after year, growing up with only my mother and I, I could not help but wonder what kind of man my father is… eventually, I sought him out and started to develop a relationship with him. So yeah, that bond is undeniable; no matter how removed we are from our biological father.

    August 7, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    James-thanks for commenting about your father. It gives me great hope that you are working on forging a relationship with him after all these years. I believe bonds with fathers are undeniable and should be explored if they aren’t in your life.

miriam gaenicke
March 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

You aren’t alone. Trust me. I wonder about my bfather too. I am 5′-8″ and the ‘lightest’ one in our DAU group. Figure that one out. Supposedly, my father was Brahman and my mom was not. They say Brahmans are tall and light and that’s it. Anyway, thanks for the post. 🙂 It’s a great pleasure, as usual. 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts!