Guest post from Teddy’s dad.
I had always assumed I’d have a family. It was just part of the package. Go to college, get married, have some kids, retire, and ride off into the sunset. But somewhere between “get married” and “have some kids” the plan got a little off track. We tried to “have” the kids but kept getting thwarted by Mother Nature. And as we got toward the end of medical options, I realized if I wanted to have a family, I needed someone else to “have” my child. I understood what that meant intellectually. What I wasn’t prepared for was getting my heart to understand.
I had always wondered if my kid would have my cowlick, my droopy eye, or my high cholesterol. I hoped that, like me, he would have an insatiable interest in the world around him. It was obviously a given that my kid would have my skin color.
Except, suddenly it wasn’t.
To go from wondering about cholesterol to skin color was too much. My heart just couldn’t square that circle. And that’s where I stood for a while: my mind ready to jump into the world of adoption but my heart balking at the idea.
At some point, probably in early 2010, we agreed to start praying about what was next, since the medical options weren’t working. Slowly my heart changed. It wasn’t overnight. I didn’t have a Damascus Road experience. I simply felt my heart soften toward adoption. I do remember one key moment when I was praying. God reminded me that Jesus was adopted; Joseph of Nazareth was an adoptive father too.
The more I looked into it, the more I realized that Joseph and I had more in common than I thought. Don’t worry, I’m not kidding myself — I know that my son, while wonderful, isn’t morally perfect. But while Joseph’s kid might have looked like him, there were pretty significant differences, some bigger than the ones I faced. Jesus had all knowledge. Think about trying to teach your child the world when He is the one who created it. Think about having your own son explain the Scriptures to you. I still plan on knowing more than my son does, at least when he’s a kid.
Yet Joseph said, “Yes. If this is what I need to do to show God and my wife that I love them, I’m on board.”
And soon after that realization, my heart agreed with my mind that it was time to be an adoptive dad. And I’m so glad they did. I’ve been savoring every moment since Teddy showed up.
And God does have a sense of humor. My kid most definitely won’t look like me. Teddy has black skin. Mine is white. Given his recent measurements, he’ll most likely be tall. Shooting guard for the Washington Wizards, I will never be. Teddy has big eyes. My eyes are droopy. Teddy’s nose is broad and flat. Mine is tall and stubby. Teddy has dimples. I don’t. He’s got curly hair while mine’s straight. He has chocolate brown eyes. I’ve got ocean blue ones.
But none of that matters anymore. He’s my son, and I’m his father.