I recently was working in the yard when my 4 year old son came to my side and declared, “My real dad was awesome.” This of course perked my ears up. “real dad?” “Yeah, my real dad, you know the one before you were my dad?” I said, “son, what are you talking about?” He chirped up, “you know, my dad before I was adopted.”
My son then proceeded to edify his case and tell me in great detail about his life “before” he lived with me and how great his “real” mom and dad was.
As an adoptive father, I knew this conversation was coming. My wife and I have been preparing for it ever since that fateful day we first held our two beautiful adopted boys in our arms. As matter of fact, we have never hid our boys adoption and have always tried to talk to our boys openly about it. Maybe that was the problem. You see, Our adopted boys are now 9 and 7 years old. Their four year old brother standing before me now is actually my own flesh in blood. Looks so much like me that he once looked at an old picture of me with Santa Claus and declared that it was him. Honestly… it vary well could have been him as he is my little clone.
I must admit, it hurt more than I expected. I was initially stung by the words when he declared that I was not his “real dad.” He said it so matter of factually and with a gleefulness and excitement. How could this little man be so happy and proud to pronounce that I’m not his “real dad,” And where in the world did he hear this anyway?
Of course I know where. He adores his older brothers and wants to be like them in so many ways.
I have always expected and been prepared to “defend” my rightful place as “dad” with my older boys. I stand confident in my roll as “heavy object mover”, “rasslin king” , and “professional hook baiter.” I even occasionally turn into the terrible “Zombie Dad” from time to time that is always good for squeals of delight. I constantly work extra hard to be at my kids school events and even volunteered to lead their Cub scouts group, and when they have an injury, I am there to wash it, tell them to suck it up and walk it off.
I am DAD.
come to think of it…. It doesn’t really matter which of my kids want to challenge my status. What makes me their father is the same.
I love my children. I will always be there for them. They can never do anything that would prevent that.
I am their DAD.
so if my biological son wants to fantasize about being adopted. Who cares. I know where he will always end up when he has a scrapped knee.
Probably running to his mother….