On the outside I'm tall, bald, have facial hair, and maybe even seem a little menacing at times. But I if this blog teaches you one thing about me, it's that deep down, I'm a big sap. I love being a Daddy! If you know me at all, are ever on my Facebook page, or read this blog, you need to know that about me. Heck, if you never read my blog and only see the title, you know this about me. It is another layer to who I am. I post a ton of pictures of my son on my Facebook page. Talking about my son is something you'll find me doing on a regular basis. Some may think I do it too often. But, to be frank, I don't care. I waited a long time to be a Daddy, and the excitement that comes with finally getting to be one cannot be contained. In fact, I do not want to contain it. I honestly wasn't sure that it would ever happen.
My wife, Leigh, and I were married in the Fall of 1999. It didn't take too long for us to start exploring the topic of having children. We had conversations about it. Did we want to have children? How many? Were we financially stable enough to start trying? We got pretty excited about the idea of being parents, and so we decided we would stop 'not trying'. We were going to start a family, and the idea of that both scared and excited me. But I was ready.
To describe our journey from that point on would make for one mighty long blog post. In fact, it might be long enough for a novel. But this is not the time or the place to get into all of the details of that. To summarize what happened in those ten years doesn't seem to do it justice. But I will attempt to. We tried for a few years, both on our own and with the help of some great medical professionals. These were some of the most trying years of our lives, especially for Leigh. We experienced the dreaded 'Two Week Wait', only to find out over and over that it didn't work. We (mostly Leigh) were tested, poked, prodded, stuck with needles, etc all in the name of trying to have a baby. Pride is something that kind of has to go out the window in the middle of this process. You just put your heads down and decide that you are going to do everything in your power to have a child. At one point, we got the wonderful news that Leigh was pregnant, only to find that we'd lost the baby 6 weeks later, before even knowing if it was a boy or a girl. After some time went by, we tried a few more times, with no success. Leigh was tired - physically and emotionally exhausted. I began to worry about the toll this was all taking on her. At one point, due to medical complications, some issues came up and it was possible if we continued that she could be in a bad way. I was not willing to let that happen. So we began to talk about whether or not we should stop trying. In the end, the physical and emotional demands of this 'process' became too much, and we made the very difficult, painful decision to stop trying.
Throughout this time in our lives, people would broach the subject of adoption with me. I would tell them time and time again that I wasn't interested in going that route. That I wanted a child of 'my own'. Obviously, that was my lack of knowledge about adoption talking. I had tunnel vision at that time. At one point, though, a wonderful woman by the name of Michelle McGowan (inhishandsorphans.org) told us about an Adoption Conference that was going to be held at our church. We decided that it wouldn't hurt to just do some research on it and see what we might learn about it. Eventually, that led to us deciding to pursue international adoption from Vietnam. At that time, Vietnam was a country with many orphanages, and adoptions were taking about a year on average from start to finish. We were very close, near the front of the 'line' to receive our referral/match, when we received the terrible news that the government in Vietnam had made the decision to no longer allow international adoptions from their country.
At that point we started to really wonder whether or not it was meant to be for us to be parents. People were suggesting different things to us to try, but we just weren't sure if we were prepared to dig in again and go through another 'process', more paperwork, more waiting, only to experience more heartbreak. We were looking at different programs, different websites, trying to decide if we were really done. One day, I stumbled upon the website for Catholic Charities infant adoption program. We met with a woman there, got the application, and really drug our feet in completing it. Around the end of the year (2009), we finally decided to complete it. Again, all we could do was wait.
In March 2010, we got a call. A birth family wanted to meet us. They liked our biography/profile. We weren't really sure what this would look like, but we were all in. So we set up a day to meet with the birth family. The birth Mom was due in March! So time was of the essence. The rest is, as they say, history. Will was born on March 22 of that year. We got to meet him the very next day. He has been an answer to more prayers than you can imagine, a HUGE blessing in our lives and the lives of those around us. His smile lights up the room. His laughter warms our hearts every day. Watching him learn and grow is exciting. I treasure every moment I have with him.
My favorite times are when I am with my family. We spend most of our evenings at home, playing, building forts, reading books, playing with Hot Wheels (I love Hot Wheels!), and watching lots and lots of childrens' television. Some might call our lives boring. To them I would say, this is the life we've been waiting for, and we wouldn't have it any other way. Will was absolutely worth the wait. So if I post too many pictures of him or talk about him too much, I believe I'm entitled to. *GRIN* Being a Daddy has made me realize that I'm capable of a love that I didn't even know I had in me. I am so grateful to God for bringing Will into our lives. He was and is in control.
I'll end with a poem I found awhile back that I have posted in my office at work.
'Walk alongside me, Daddy
and hold my little hand.
I have so many things to learn
that I don't yet understand.
Teach me things to keep me safe
from dangers every day.
Show me how to do my best
at home, at school, at play.
Every child needs a gentle hand
to guide them as they grow.
So walk alongside me, Daddy.
We have a long way to go."
I love you more than you will ever know, Little Man.