Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reflections on Father's Day...

When my husband and I first met one of the things that drew us together was how well we could relate to each other's desire for our fathers to have played a bigger role in our lives.  Growing up I only saw my dad a few times a year.  He left my mom when I was very young, and from that point on he had minimal involvement in my life.  I do believe he loved me, but I always wished he had done more to actually show me his love.  Ernie's story was very similar, except that he had grown up with even less contact from his dad.

Both our dads ended up having more children with new wives.  Those children were given the attention and love from our dads we so greatly missed.  Don't misunderstand, we are very grateful for that!  We love those siblings, even if we rarely see them, and truly want the best for them!  We are glad they never felt the sting of rejection we felt from our dads.  But my husband understands what I mean when I say I feel like "yesterday's leftovers."

Growing up without a dad is hard.  I know if there were anything my husband wishes could have been different in his life it would be to have grown up knowing a father's love.  As he became an adult he was able to establish a relationship with his dad, but as I know from my experience with my own father a distant relationship will never be enough to heal the hurt and damage caused by growing up feeling rejected by your own dad.  When my father died I was full of grief, but while I mourned his loss one of the strongest feelings I had was the sadness that our relationship would never be better, that all hope of being closer to him was gone.

So Father's Day has always come with mixed feelings for both Ernie and me.  However, this Father's Day Ernie got the greatest blessing ever.  A child - an orphan... abandoned, unwanted, and unloved - walked into his arms, and both their lives were forever changed for the better.  Someone recently questioned Ernie's role in our adoptions, even suggesting he "be a man and say NO MORE" and that I am "not allowing him to have a decent, peaceful life."  Oh, if only those who don't understand could see the joy in his heart!!!

Ernie has talked to my mom several times while he is in China, and she has seen his posts on Facebook.  As she said to me this morning, "Ernie doesn't need to fly on a plane to be on cloud nine - he's already there with his precious little boy!"  She noted how incredibly happy he is, how much he is enjoying his new son, and how fiercely he is willing to defend him against those who see him as worthless due to his having Down syndrome.

I am so proud of my husband for the man he is, for the father he has become despite having grown up without one.  I thank God everyday for sending him into my life.  I am grateful for his love and for our great friendship (we truly are best friends!).  I am amazed at the blessings God has poured into our lives.  I pray those who don't understand will open their hearts and minds to accept the joy we have in our family, even if the way we have chosen to build our family is vastly different from their own.  I pray broken relationships are mended and distant relationships grow stronger.  I pray those we love will realize how precious our children are and burn with a desire to show them the love they deserve.  I pray this precious little child grows to understand how greatly loved his is, how much he is wanted, how wonderful and incredibly special he is!

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