What is fatherhood? The dictionary defines it as the state of having one or more children.
This definition is a very simple one, yet so very true in what it does not say. Fatherhood is not about biology, but about a mans spirit, his heart and soul. Being a father does not mean that you must share 50% of their DNA. Joseph and I do not have DNA in common, yet you would never know it, he and I are alike in so many ways, right down to our little quirks, that there is no doubt that he is my son.
Adoption is a nontraditional way of becoming a family. For the vast majority of people, becoming a parent and starting a family, is a biological act infused with much love that results in a baby 9 months later. For others, an unplanned moment of pleasure results in their becoming parents, earning the title without any real desire for it. Regardless of how they become parents, society, government and the law consider them parents and trust that they will do right by their children.
For those choosing to adopt, they will be subjected to countless requirements to prove that they are fit to be parents. They must take parenting classes, to learn what the biological parents are not required to learn about caring for their children (Biological parents must receive all the knowledge they need through some other mystical source before the child is born). Adoptive parents must also undergo a background check. Cant have someone who is unfit as an adoptive father, right (because biological parents and especially fathers are of good moral character and above reproach...Umm, ok). Then there is the home study. This is a 3 to 6 month process that involves meeting with a social worker, both together as a couple and individually. The social worker then writes a report on the couples suitability for adoption. Hmmm, do biological parents have the same report done on them??? Ruby and I willingly went through this process. We did it all for the love of our unborn son.
I remember the day that we received the phone call that our son was on his way, he would be born on December 2007. Ruby and I were overjoyed that our prayers had finally been answered and we would soon be holding or baby boy in our arms. On December 10, 2007 I finally held my son in my arms and cried. I cried because I finally knew what countless men before me had realized, that fatherhood is an emotional and spiritual change, one that makes a man a much better person, if only they embrace the change wholeheartedly.
We struggled for over 7 months with the bureaucratic system of a foreign government so that we could bring Joseph home. Ruby had the hardest struggle of all, being away from home, in a foreign country while the system ground through all the requirements. In late June of 2008 the courts finally issued the final adoption decree, the US State Department his visa and Customs and Border protection his admission stamp. We were finally able to go home as a family.
We have always been open with Joseph about his adoption. I've always told him that his mommy and I loved him so much that we searched the world for a very long time to find him and bring him home. He knows that we are a family because God made us one. The love we have for him is as much a part of us as are our hearts and souls. Adoption is not an easy choice to make. We walked into the process knowing that it would be a struggle, one that we had to face, so that we could bring our baby boy home.
So why did we go through so many struggles? Because of the love we had in our hearts for the little baby boy that was to be our son. My love for him is without measure, he holds a very special place in my heart...right next to his mommy.