How My Adoptive And Biological Dads Helped Me Understand Openness In Adoption

This guest post is by Kim Wallis, a hopeful adoptive mother. It is part of A Dad’s Devotion, a month-long series of original stories related to adoption, fatherhood and Father’s Day.

I think I was luckier than most daughters because I had two dads. I was adopted when I was 15 by my step-father — probably not an age that most think of when adoption comes to mind. He’d been co-parenting me since I was 7 when he married my mom.

Our new family moved for a few years to Singapore from Canada, where I am from, and then for good to Raleigh, North Carolina when I was 12. It then became apparent that adoption would be the best for me as my relationship with my biological dad had become more difficult as his ability to parent across the miles was near impossible.

Some early memories of my adoptive father are clear in my mind. He wasn’t the most snuggly or demonstrative of fathers but he taught me how to dive when I was 8, helped me do a tough math presentation with bubbles and copper wire in high school, and he was blessedly calm when I called to tell him that I’d totaled my first car (his ‘78 Mustang) during my first semester in college.

What I’ve experience in my adoption

Our relationship has blossomed these last few years after my mom fell ill and we had to forge a united front. He’s done a fantastic job in taking care of her — his very logical nature has come in handy during such an emotionally draining and difficult experience.

It has been a pleasure to see him become such a big softie around his newest love, a one-year-old Maltese named Paddy. We’ve bonded over a common passion for British mystery shows like Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. And he was the first to say “why don’t you adopt?” when my husband Scott and I discussed with him our desire to have a child.

I didn’t have much contact with my biological dad after we moved to the south. While it wasn’t coined this way, I guess what I experienced was an “open adoption” in that I still had some contact with him, with some calls, visits and letters.

He passed away several years ago but I have special, fond memories of him, and I carry with me the knowledge that I inherited a sliver of his sense of humor and of his intelligence. And that he loved me.

What I have experienced in my own adoption and learned since Scott and I have become waiting adoptive parents with the Independent Adoption Agency is that pain and sadness is inherent in adoption for all members of the adoption triad.

But I absolutely realize that openness and communication about adoption can help alleviate some of that. Knowing that my height and my guffaw of a laugh was inherited from my birthfather while at the same time being able to continue to count on my adoptive father for advice, support and love, gives me a rich sense of belonging, security and roots.


Kim Wallis and her husband Scott are hopeful adoptive parents from Lowesville (near Charlotte), North Carolina with the Independent Adoption Agency. You can learn more about them at their adoption website

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Share it with us as part of A Dad’s Devotion, a month-long series of original stories by adoptive parents, birthparents and hopeful adoptive parents and adoptees. How has adoption changed your definition of fatherhood or family? What impact has it had on your life and what do you want people to know about it? Submit your story here or learn more by checking out our Guidelines For Guest Posts at America Adopts!