When it comes to telling adoption stories, fathers’ voices are often missing.
So we convened a panel of five dads to share their perspectives about adopting—and specifically about adopting teens—during a National Adoption Month celebration in Washington, DC, last November.
Here are a few things they discussed with our national project director, Bob Herne.
People sometimes say that teens don’t want to be adopted. How do you respond?
Scott: Our son was 17 years old when we adopted him. He had to leave everything he knew—all his friends, his school—in order to join our family. That was a brave move for him. If he didn’t want a family, that’s not what he would have done.
Christopher: I think if a child initially says that they don’t want to be adopted, it is more about fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. It’s not that they don’t want a family. They don’t want to fail. They don’t want to be rejected again.
What have been some of the “firsts” you’ve experienced with your children?
Mike: We’ve had a first child to graduate from high school. A first to join the military—he followed in my footsteps and went into the Marines. We’ve also had a first to be married, and he provided us with two beautiful grandbabies.
Robert: I taught my daughter to drive at 15. Unfortunately, then the question came: “When do I get my car?”
Christopher: Which brings you to the first call to the insurance company! Sometimes it seems like I’m almost on a first-name basis with our agent.
Travis: One of the biggest things that stands out is our first college experience. But we know that a lot of firsts are yet to come.
For all those dads who are thinking about opening their home to a teen, what’s one piece of advice you would offer?
Mike: When we were contemplating adoption, someone in my family told us: if you wait for the perfect time, you will never have that child. Now is the perfect time. There are kids out there, and they need each and every one of us.
Scott: We get the question a lot. People ask us: why did you decide to do this? To me, the question is why not. These young individuals—through no fault of their own—are in situations they cannot control. Why would you not want to step up and help them?
Christopher: If you are contemplating whether or not you should do it, you already have what it takes, which is a desire to make a difference in a child’s life.
Read more about why teens need families—and how that family could be yours—on our website.