Dads, adoption, and belonging

I was just talking to my Dad. The conversation was interesting. I didn’t know my step-mom was adopted. I didn’t know that his current partner was adopted. I didn’t know that his current partner is 38 not 21. Ok, now all of a sudden I object way less.

We talked about the language around adoption we use. Dad has a lot of daughters. He has a biological daughter he raised. He has a series of girlfriends he calls daughters. He has me. I’m the adopted daughter. His girlfriends aren’t adopted in the same way and they don’t stick around in the same way. I’m still here sixteen years later. No one else has made ten years.

Except the bio-kid, of course.

Dad said he has mixed feelings about me being called the adopted daughter because he has so many people in his life who were at-birth-adoptees and “real child” vs “adopted child” is sensitive stuff for them.

I said, “Yeah I hear that. But I was chosen as an adult. It’s different. It matters that you loved me enough to adopt me as an adult. That is worth claiming. That’s a thing.”

I know it makes me different than the other daughters. It makes me different in a way that feels positive. I’m special. He chose me. I’m not someone he’s dating and fucking. I didn’t just happen to come from his body. He met me, got to know me, figured out that dating is not on the table… and he kept me anyway.

And let me tell you, he’s kept me. I’m invited to family stuff. I think only Sarah has invited me to her family like he has. So if I need to get over my hatred of the concept of “chosen family” it is because of these two. Dad treats me like his kid that he can be a little obscene with. But I don’t ever want to fuck him again.

And he keeps me anyway.

Because he adopted me. Because I am special to him. Special enough to keep.

I’m smoking in the side yard listening to Dad talk to the kids in the back yard. He may be reading to them, that’s what the cadence sounds like. He’s really good with them. He’s patient. He’s gentle. He is appropriate and non-sexual.

I know his bio kids. They both assure me that he was always completely appropriate when they were little. When they got older he became more of an asshole about “This is who I am and I have a weird as fuck life.”

But they ignore a lot of it and have good relationships. I admire those relationships. I don’t want a relationship like they have though. I want a different relationship. I want to be the adopted daughter.

One thought on “Dads, adoption, and belonging

  1. Les Addison

    I think your sense of why you want the “adopted” label here makes a great deal of sense (and I’m an adoptee).

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