(But ladies, you should read this too)
The more I continue to share my story the more I recognize the need for the male perspective to be heard. In this post I want to address the men who are linked to this journey as well. To every male adoptee, birth father, or adoptive father, this community desires and needs to hear your voice. To believe that you have nothing to say or that your thoughts don’t matter is simply a lie. There are very few things that are more powerful than the words from a confident and secure man. We have all been given a story and have lived out experiences for a reason and to allow them to be silenced is a disservice to yourself and others. I get it, vulnerability is hard and sharing emotional experiences is nearly unnatural for us. But communicating your experience takes more strength and courage then remaining quiet. Just imagine the freedom and healing that is available to you. Imagine the freedom or clarity someone else could receive from hearing your truth. Imagine the chain reaction that could happen within the adoption triad the more we speak up. Imagine the connections and brotherhood that could form among men in this community. The implication are endless. More than anything, know that you are loved and there is always a seat at the table specifically for you. Now that I’ve hopefully encouraged my brothers, I also want to challenge you as well. Everyone who has journeyed the road of adoption knows that there are many complexities and mysteries surrounding it. Fortunately, this challenge is one that literally every reader can identify with to some degree. While it can easily apply to men outside of the adoption world, I still believe it should be addressed and talked about. so what is this challenger you ask?...to be FULLY present! What I'm referring to is not only being physically present but also being emotional available. Even though I’m not a father yet, I can imagine this being a difficult tension to manage. However, I believe I can speak from the receiver's perspective in this area. Before I get too far in, me allow to preface this by saying I absolutely love my dad and I wouldn’t trade him for anyone! He has provided for me and my sister in the best ways possible and has given our entire family more than we’ve ever imagined. I have never met a more selfless and humble man and I’m honored to carry on his legacy. My parents were a huge support system as I journeyed my high school and college years... they still are! They made an effort to be at every game, every award ceremony, and every music recital. They were pros at physically “showing up”. Even now they still choose to celebrate us well and make sure we know how loved and valuable we are to them. My dad it full of wisdom and is always quick to share that wisdom with me and anyone he comes in contact with. Our home prioritizes laughter but intentionally pursues hospitality. There are very few dull moments when the Davis’ are all in the same room and there are very few strangers our home encounter. Bottom line, this is the culture that Earl has built. In his case, actions speak louder than words but in raising children both actions are words are equally necessary. However, no parent is perfect and emotional authenticity was my father’s weakness. While this can be found in any father, I believe it is especially easy for adoptive fathers to place such a high focus on provision that they forget the importance of presence. Yes, it is obviously important to “give your child a better life” but it is equally if not more important for fathers to be emotionally invested, especially in teenage and college years!
Unfortunately, this is the reality of my journey. While I have a great relationship with my dad, I believe it could be better if he would have also pursued my heart when I was younger. Just as a marriage goes through a honeymoon phase, believe it or not the same happens within adoption. By the time an adoptee reaches preteen years the adoption experience and storyline is very much the new normal and “the spark” has most likely faded. Similarity breeds comfort and comfort breeds apathy. I believe this is true of my experience. While I’m sure my dad’s initial intentions were strong,I believe, over time, the realities of life unintentionally shifted his priorities the older I become. However, I didn’t realize the holes his emotional absence were creating. I didn’t realize my struggles with identity and vulnerability were a byproduct of this reality. I didn’t realize that I had “daddy issues” too. Dads, never believe the lie that your son or daughter is too old for intimacy. As I previously mentioned, this aspect of emotional connection can also apply to fatherhood outside of adoption. So for me to still include this shows how strongly I feel about it. Dad’s, I hope you take the greatest pride in being able to provide for your family and give your child(ren) the world! But what good is it if their heart hasn’t been pursued? How will they be able to properly give something they haven’t received? How will they be able to receive something they haven’t experienced? Yes, it will be challenging and uncomfortable, especially after the teenage years, but your child deserves it and that process starts now! So dads, don’t stop the daddy dates with your daughters and don’t neglect guy time with your sons. Ask the tough questions and hold them accountable. Be vulnerable and share your past and present weaknesses. Encourage them and be their biggest cheerleader but also graciously show them tough love. Ask for forgiveness when you’ve wronged them and ask them how you can do better. Lastly, never settle for just showing that you love them but actually tell them. A father’s love and connection is a major key in a child’s wholeness, identity, and security. Don’t allow them to grow up resent their adoption because of your lack of intentionality. One of the greatest gifts you can give them is a pure and authentic relationship with you, their father... but that outcome is up to you.
- Guest Blogger: Daniel Davis
"I hope you all have enjoyed this reading! If you would like to connect with me personally or know more about my adoption you can visit dancpdavis.com to view my personal blog. Follow me on Instagram @dancpdavis and let me know your thoughts on this post or share what else you would like for me to write about!"