June 13th, 2008
Posted By:
Categories: Adoption Reform

While I’ve discussed how birth mothers and adoptive parents view Father’s Day in varying ways, I saved the most important group for today: the adoptees. Like the other groups, their experiences vary widely! Quite a few individuals replied on the forums and I had a few e-mail me privately, saying that they didn’t want to be attacked by others for their views. (Of note, a few birth moms did the same but no adoptive parents. Interesting.)

Some adoptees in reunion did reply that they do acknowledge their biological father on Father’s Day. A few had a discussion within the thread that “appropriate” cards are hard to find. One user had the answer.


I am coming up on four years of reunion with my father. This is the third fathers day. It is hard to find an appropriate card so I tend to pick the humorous ones. His birthday is a week after and I do observe that too. We have had a great reunion experience.

(Honestly? I most often buy my own Dad a humorous card. It’s more fun!) A few others spoke of sending cards and presents as well, talking positively about their reunion experiences.

One adoptee responded in a way that I think many others might be able to relate to on some different levels.

For me, both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are a time to celebrate my parents, who happen to have adopted me. The day that I acknowledge my birth parents is my birthday–this is the day I give myself to focus on the ties that were formed by my birth.

I think this was a great addition to the conversation. The few adoptees that felt forced to e-mail me did so because they’ve been attacked for feeling it was appropriate to honor both sets of parents on the day. Those doing the attacking felt very strongly that the day was reserved for the ones kissing boo-boos and staying up at all hours of the night. I think the previous answer about reserving a birthday to think of birth parents and the formed biological ties may be a great answer for those who specifically want to honor everyday parents on their respective days. What a great point!

Other adoptees kind of broke my heart. Some spoke of not knowing any information or very limited information about their biological fathers. Out of that group, some said that they would and some said that they would not acknowledge their birth father on Father’s Day if they knew his identity. Others said that there was no possible way to acknowledge their biological father as he had passed on. (Flowers on a grave? Releasing a balloon? There’s always a way.)

One adoptee e-mailed me with a great little story that I’ll leave you with today. It makes me smile a bit and gives me hope for future generations.

I send cards to both of my Fathers, writing relationship-appropriate notes inside each. But it’s not what I do that I think speaks volumes about the possibilities of good reunions. Switching off every other year, my (adoptive) Dad will call my (biological) Father and wish the other a happy day. The next year, my (biological) Father will call my (adoptive) Dad and do the same. They’ve been doing this for about six years now. I know it’s a day meant to honor them… but when they do this I feel so loved.

Tomorrow, a challenge!

For more on holidays, read these posts.

Photo Credit.

2 Responses to “Adoptees and Father’s Day”

  1. thomasina says:

    In addition to being a first mother, I am an adoptee. I was not adopted at birth. My first parents were divorced; my mother remarried; my first father was a drunk and not able to parent, so my stepfather legally adopted me. Father’s Day is another day when I must swallow my feelings make two men who made my life miserable due to their narcissism and alcoholism (YES, the adoptive dad was a drunk, too!!!) feel good about themselves. I have to search high and low for a cheerful, loving card for my adoptive father that doesn’t call him a hero or tell him how great he has been all my life. (I can’t go that far…it would seem like facetious and I would be in BIG trouble). I have to call both fathers on the day itself. The bio dad will thank me for calling him on Father’s Day and revel in his perception that he was a great dad to me when I was little (NOT…he beat my mother and me). My adoptive dad will think of something to nag and criticize me about; probably my weight. As I speak to both of them, I will feel resentment and guilt. I will feel bad about them and about myself. I am not a fan of Father’s Day.

  2. Brandy says:

    I’m one of those adopted adults that commented that I can’t recognize my father b/c he is passed on. I can’t b/c emotionally, I can’t do it, I have nothing to attach myself to, not even a story from my mother.

    I know where his grave is, but you know, I really stay away from there, that is for the children that my mother chose to parent.

    You’re right, there is always a way, but b/c he is gone and I don’t know and will never know, I can’t and I guess I choose not to.

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