My Journey As A Birthfather

This guest post is by Darrick Rizzo, a birthfather and author.

Every Father’s Day I am left with a pain in my heart that cannot be comforted.

It‘s not because I have indigestion or some other heart disease.

It’s because I am a birthfather and I do not see my son whom I placed up for adoption when I was only eighteen years old.

For most birthfathers, there is a social stigma surrounding us. We aren’t looked at with sympathetic eyes or compassionate thoughts. In fact, most of the thoughts involve “us keeping it in our pants”.

So, when Fathers day rolls around, I find myself thinking about the “what if’s,” the maybe’s and the I wish it had been different.

Father’s Day Is A Time of Sorrow and Happiness

Do I look back and wish I had done things differently? Of course I do! I think about my son, who he is and what he has achieved. I think about all that he has accomplished and I wish I had been there to see him.

This Father’s Day I am reminded that he’ll be eighteen years old … the same age I was when I placed him.

For me, Father’s Day takes on a different tone. I know that I am not going to be the beneficiary of several cards from the family (my son) or a horrible tie that I’ll have to wear to show him I love him.

I know that I am not going to see him on this wonderful day and hear him say “Happy Father’s Day”.

I will find a quiet place in my home to just sit back and think about him. I’ll end up in tears, but those tears will be of both sorrow and happiness.

I will end up taking a ride in the car to help my mind relax and I’ll play my favorite song by Lynard Skynard, Simple Man. As a father who gave up so much, the song resonates on a personal level.

I want my son to be a “simple man” seeking only to be the best father he can be. He doesn’t need everything in order to be the best, just being a simple man is more than enough.

There Are Thousands Of Other Birthfathers Just Like Me

You might think that this is just me venting my frustrations out around Father’s Day, when in fact, it is much more than that. It finally dawned on me that I am not the only birthfather who is suffering this Father’s day.

In fact, there are thousands of other birthfathers just like me who did not give their children up because they didn’t want them; rather, they gave them up out of a timed necessity or were persuaded like I was.

For them, Father’s Day can be extremely depressing. It can cause an overwhelming sense of emotions that literally can’t be controlled. As men, we are told “strong men don’t cry” … let me be the first to tell you that is totally bull.

I have cried on so many occasions I have lost count. My son means so much to me, and yet I don’t even know who he is. I have an attachment to him, yet he is so far away. Some of you are in the exact same situation.

As a birthfather, we didn’t give up our desire to be loved. We didn’t just lose our ability to feel pain. We might have given our children to another family who could provide what we couldn’t, but we didn’t forget them.

Birthfathers Want To Be Loved

On Father’s Day, we have to remember that we are not alone. There are thousands of other birthfathers out there just like you and me. They too want to be loved.

They don’t want to be chastised for their decision to give their child up for adoption. For us, finding love can be difficult.

For some of us, we are alone without anyone; no spouse, no children—even our family might have turned their back.

In these instances, it is good to find a companion to share your time with. A great companion will provide love without chastisement. For those of us who do have companions, lean on them. Trust in them. Let them love you.

Most birthfathers can honestly be categorized as “deadbeats”. They couldn’t “keep it in their pants” and they ended up walking away from one of their greatest achievements.

As a birthfather, I realize that I gave up my greatest achievement. I could have won every award out there, and yet nothing would have compared to my son.

I miss him tremendously … EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Father’s Day just happens to bring out every emotion I have. Especially when I see a young child run up to his dad, hug him and say “Happy Father’s Day”.

I try to imagine that as my son and I am sure you, as a birthfather, probably feel the same way.

For all you birthfathers out there …Happy Father’s Day!

Darrick Rizzo is a birthfather and the author of The Open Adoption: A Birth Father’s Journey.

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