How did you decide to place your child for adoption?
I actually found out about having a daughter last year—I wasn’t involved in the adoption process whatsoever. It was an Acenstry.com DNA test that connected us together.
After using the DNA testing service, I was alerted that someone was closely related to me. I reached out to get clarification on how we were related and found out on April 1st that I had a daughter! I thought it was a joke at first….turns out it wasn’t.
For the last year and a half, it’s been about getting used to the idea, adjusting, meeting, learning about her, and sharing about myself. It was difficult and overwhelming to find out you have a 10-year old daughter at first, but things have since mellowed out and we’ve been building our relationship ever since.
How does your child’s birth mother come into play?
She was someone I had dated in and a little bit out of high school. I didn’t know she was pregnant and she never told me, but it wasn’t hard to put that puzzle together after I found out about my daughter.
I reached out to her for the first time in 10 years and asked her to confirm everything about the adoption—she said it was all true.
I tried not to dwell too much on why I wasn’t informed at the time of our daughter’s birth. I didn’t know what she was going through and I wasn’t a great boyfriend at that time. I don’t have any ill will towards her. I’m just focused on moving forward.
What kind of emotions did you feel when you realized you had a child?
Really just overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to proceed or what she would even think about me, but as a child, I think she just wanted to know where she came from.
The hardest part was figuring out how I fit into the position of the birth father. Obviously, I knew I didn’t have any parental responsibilities. My daughter is taken care of and loved…I think it worked out in the best possible way. I was in no position to raise a child at that point in my life, but still finding out 10 years later was overwhelming.
I spent a lot of time working out how to deal with all of it and feeling like I missed out on a bunch during the 10 years I was unaware.
What has this experience been like for your daughter?
She’s very articulate, aware, and comfortable talking about her adoption. I know at her age I could never talk so openly about my issues and feelings.
It’s been really great though. I’ve been to counseling with her and her family. We do talk about her adoption but it’s not at the forefront of things when we are just hanging out.
For about an hour or two every week, we hang out on Zoom and play online games. We’re also only a couple of hours away from one another, so we also try to hang out in person every so often.
Have you connected with anyone else in the adoption community, perhaps other birth fathers?
I was limited in the resources I had—not many of my friends or people in my close circle had a connection to adoption. I leaned on my daughter’s adoptive mother for guidance, as she was adopted herself. She gave me a lot of advice on how to process emotionally.