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Do You Want to Meet Him?

September 12, 2018

After a lot of thought and reflection I feel that this story is important, especially in a world of changing family dynamics and diversity.  While this story is not in my upcoming memoir focused on race and family in America, this provides insight to my thoughts and my experiences. As always, this is my story, however it is possible my story may resemble your story.

Sitting at the dining room table eating dinner Drew said, “We talked about sad stuff today at school. Some people had some real sad stories.”

Both Doug and I looked at each other quizzically and then looked back at Drew. “Oh, why?”

“It was SEL time, Mom. You know, social emotional.”

“Oh yes, of course. Did you share anything?” I asked.

“Yeah. Mine was not as sad as everyone else. Like they had people die.”

“Oh. Okay. Well what did you share?”

“Oh, you know. Like Jay stuff. Like how you guys got divorced and I don’t see him.”

Knowing teachers, because I was one of those teachers who liked to asked lots of questions, I asked, “Oh, did your teacher ask you any questions?”

“Yeah, she just asked if I ever saw him and I said no, not since I was 2.”

“Oh okay. Do you want to talk about it more?”

“No.”

Our dinner continued with talking about our day. However, that night, the next day, and a few days after I replayed that conversation in my head over and over again. When Doug adopted Drew it was not the intention to take away Drew’s biological father, but to ensure that if anything happened to me, Drew would not have his world flipped upside down.

A few days later, when Drew and I were alone in the car, I flat out asked him if he had any desire to see or meet his biological dad, Jay.

“You know I would take you to meet him if you wanted to.”

“Yeah, I know Mom. I don’t want to meet him.”

Somewhat surprised I said, “Okay, I just thought since you talked about it the other day you might want to. I have been thinking about it and wanted to make sure you knew that you could always meet him.”

“Yeah, mom, I know. You tell me that all the time. Do you know who I do want to meet?”

“Who?”

“My siblings.”

“Huh” I said taking a deep breath, “Well, that is going to be a little bit harder. I know you have at least three. One lives in Croatia, one lives in Chicago, but I don’t know anything about her, and then you have a little brother in Wisconsin. To me honest, I don’t know if you have any other brothers or sisters. Maybe when you get a little older we can meet your older sister overseas.”

“Yeah. I knew it would be hard. I don’t want to meet Jay, but I do want to meet my siblings sometime.”

The conversation ended there with more questions circling around in my head.

 

Kids’ minds are curious. Kids’ minds are mysterious. Drew does not share any of Doug’s genes, however he is his dad. He cleans up his vomit. He takes him to superhero movies. He shares a love of Weird Al. He is everything Drew needs in a father and role model.

Drew has no desire to meet a man that walked out of his life. Drew, at this point as a 4th grader, does not have the desire to meet an adult in his life that shares his genes. Who does he want to meet? The individuals in his generation that he shares genes with. He does not have any half or full siblings on my side. So, I can understand his need to make a connection to individuals who share genes. One day that connection will be made. However, right now, I can only offer him to meet a man who Drew does not view as family, or his extended family. But honestly, I hope someday he does ask to meet Jay. Why? I am not sure. But I feel like at some point in his life it would be important. But am I going to push it? No.

As families continue to diversify through marriage, adoption, foster care, blended families, divorce, or any other combination if family dynamics, what “family” means continually expands and evolves.

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