When I first read his letter in the prospective adoptive parents file, I immediately knew that he’d be the one. Here was the man who could take up the mantle of fatherhood and do it justice. He could be caregiver, disciplinarian and breadwinner. He could teach my son how to make his way in the world confidently, bravely, and without the need to step on anyone else. He could show my son how to be compassionate, self-confident and courageous; to not back down from challenges and be smart about making choices.
24 years later, I realize that’s exactly what he did.
When I think about what I was able to learn about my son, about who he was as a young man, I am so proud. My pride comes from both being his mom (nature) and choosing his dad (nurture). And even though my time was so limited, I was given an amazing opportunity to get to know him. This is what I perceived from “outside” (my window being primarily social media): he demonstrated gentleness and kindheartedness for others, a knack for artistry and patience. He also had an ability to be wild, uninhibited and brave. He liked cats. He brought joy to those around him, and although he was a big man, never imposed himself on others.
I know that much of who my son grew to be was a result of how he was raised. His dad, moms and brother being the ones who shaped him: the sculptors of his life, forming him into an amazing young man. Recently I’ve had the chance to get to know his family a little bit better. Being given the chance to watch the familial interactions has verified that I did indeed make the right choice of father and family.
And, yes, there is certainly a sense of relief that comes with this realization.
There is so much more to say about him, but I will leave it for now. Step back and be grateful, to the man who provided a wonderful life for my son.
And as I ache with my own loss, I can’t help but feel his too.