Parenting Doesn't End With Adoption, In Fact, It Is Just Begining

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Absence Makes The Heart Grow........

"Absence makes the heart grow founder". Does it really? Or does absence make the heart grow curious, empty, confused, or just plain hard? I never truly understood this phrase, and in keeping with the theme of Father's Day, I've decided to write about my take on absence, absence of a father.

Of all the misfortunes my life has experienced, I was fortunate enough to have known my father. He was, for what seemed the all too short period of my life, all the things a father should be. He was my teacher, my protector, the one I went to for advice, and when my car broke down, he was a disciplinarian, and the authority figure in our home he was firm, but fair and he had a HUGE heart. My Dad walked us through many storms and sunny days, and at the end of each, stood a man that did the best he could, always. He was young when he married my mother, and young when they divorced, and what seemed even younger, when he died. At 45, he left behind his second wife, myself, my brother and our then 8 year old sister. In our case, absence has made the heart grow lonely, and longing for the father we lost. Willing to give up everything we have in exchange for just one more day. But, at the very least, we will always carry the memories of the days we did.

Brother, Taz, Dad and Me, in really bad 90's attire lol
This is not the case for many, especially adoptees. After reading Rebecca's recent posts, I can see the effects not knowing your biological father can have. Which led me to think about my own children and their father. My girls were victims of my "Broken Chooser", (recently heard this, and thought it to be very appropriate, ty RH) Hannah's only memory of her bio-dad is him throwing a coffee cup at me, and Ashley has no memory of him at all. I used to be happy that they didn't know him, but now, I'm not so sure. Absence makes the heart grow, confused.

I truly, in no way desire they have a relationship with him, but that's my own selfishness. I do however, for identity's sake, wish they knew more, and of course would support them if they decided to find him. But to be honest, I'm hurt. I happen to be "facebook friends" with the "lucky" girl who followed me down that oh so pleasant road, and I was doing what we all do on facebook, looking at her pictures. I stumbled across some pictures of him, one recent, and a few older ones of him with their kids. It bothered me, that he was, and still is, a part of their lives, but ran from our girls. Is that fair, are my children more fortunate, or are hers? Her children will grow up knowing their father, but being let down by him and hurt by his mistakes, while my girls will grow up, creating their own images of him in their heads, and wondering "what if" he was in their lives. Absence makes the heart grow, curious.

Moral of the story is, whether you have a bio-father, adoptive father, father figure or none at all, the father is just as important as the mother. All too often in our society father's are put down, put out, left out or have let us down. I believe we need to put the "F" back in Family. Father's need to be on the list right next to mothers. Their role in the identity of our children is just as important as ours, and I hope I can be as supportive as possible when the time comes for my children to find their father, because when it comes to them, Absence has made my heart grow stronger.


  1. You are right.. A father truly puts an F back in the Family :)

  2. FYI re: putting the "f" back in "family":
    A useful resource for Square One, maybe?

    1. Is this Nurturing Father's Program? Great program, we need more places to offer this kind of support to Dads!

    2. I don't think that's what it's called, but it may be similar. It's The National Family Preservation Network's Basic Fatherhood Training Curriculum.

  3. Excellent insight, Erica. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Ashley and Mackenzies DadAugust 3, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    I know I am trying my best and it seems to me that the girls like having me around (as long as I'm not providing long-winded explanations of "how things work" ;-)
    I love being a Dad!

  5. Amen! My father has played a hugely influential role in my life. I couldn't imagine how it would have been without him. I fear I would have been out of control.