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Adopted Children Adopting Children

Updated on August 22, 2014
The author and his adopted family.
The author and his adopted family.
My adopted family, or at least a part of it.
My adopted family, or at least a part of it.
My son Tyler Damon Holland
My son Tyler Damon Holland
Tyler at Yellowstone.
Tyler at Yellowstone.

Here comes another personal story from the Hubs spokesperson for alcoholism and adoption. I can hear some you now screaming, “MY GOD, MAN, DO YOU EVER WRITE ANYTHING LIGHTHEARTED?”

Well, as a matter of fact I do, but few of you read those Hubs and besides, I’m busy showing my versatility as I anxiously await that phone call from a publisher offering me a six-figure advance on my next book.

And now back to reality! The reasons for my Hub choices are very simple: I am an alcoholic and adoptee and I believe in writing about things I know. I also have a silly and irreverent side to me so once in a while we just toss out some FF….Funny Fluff…for your reading enjoyment and for my brain to relax and my emotions to subside a bit.

So today we move back to the subject of adoption and in particular to the day my then-wife and I adopted our son Tyler.

“We should adopt a child. What do you think?” My wife at the time had a nasty little habit of tossing out questions like that without any warning. Show me a man who thinks that quickly on his feet and I’ll show you the patron saint of men. What did I think? I was thirty-five at the time, trying to pay the bills as best I could, spending way too much time drinking and I was only capable of thinking about one day in advance. I answered in the only way I could think of at the time….with a question of my own.

“What prompted that? We’ve never talked about that subject before; why now?” Having fired off those remarks I was able to gather my wits a bit and get ready for the conversation that would change my life forever.

She was ready for me and she said the only thing that could have kept all of my rebuttals at bay: “Well, haven’t you always wanted to have a child? Don’t you think it’s about time so you can experience parenthood before we are too old?”

Yep, she had me hook, line and sinker. I had always wanted a child; I had always dreamed of being the same type of father that I had. I wanted to teach him to play catch (it was always a boy in my dreams), teach him the difference between right and wrong, slip him some cash for his first date….yes, I had always wanted to be a father. My wife was unable to have children at the time and for some reason it never dawned on me to adopt, a rather remarkable statement since I was adopted myself.

Making a long story short it didn’t take too much convincing to get me onboard with this plan and so the research began. Adoption agencies could only assure us we would have a child within five years and that just seemed much too long for a couple that was aging quickly. By word of mouth we ended up with the name of an attorney who had connections and did this sort of matchmaking; we met with him and within six months a pregnant mother was found who wanted to place her child (yep, a boy) up for adoption. Her birth date was, coincidentally, nine months from the time we had first started talking about adopting. We were, in a manner of speaking, in the baby business.

We met the mother finally and about all I can recall about that meeting was that I was scared to death that she wouldn’t like me. In a matter of a few short months I had gone from the most surprised husband on the planet to the most excited soon-to-be father one could imagine. I had poured all my energy into baby books and naming a baby books and handling a baby for the first time books, but nothing could dispel the nervousness I was feeling. I would lay awake at night imagining the first time I held our son. I would lay awake at night wondering if I had what it takes to be a father. I would lay awake at night scared to death that I would somehow get it all wrong and mess up this child’s life forever.

The mother was as gracious as a pregnant, unwed seventeen year old could be under the circumstances; she instantly liked us and gave us her blessing. The necessary forms were signed and then the real waiting and worrying began in earnest.

The remaining time was spent preparing the “baby room” for the new arrival, buying baby clothes, buying baby toys, buying baby linens, buying baby books….and worrying. I got up each day, went through the daily rituals of life, put on a brave face and battled self-doubts and fear on a minute-by-minute basis. I spent very little time concerned about the added expense and the change that was about to overtake us; I was much too busy worrying that the child would be sick or would be born dead and how in the hell was I supposed to be a father when I couldn’t seem to get my own act together? I drank way too much and I knew it but I had yet to admit I had a drinking problem; I was still working on fine-tuning my drinking so that it would be manageable. Of course that was a pipe-dream but at the time I didn’t think so, and I was convinced that I could control my drinking once I had the responsibility of a child to raise.

We were told that sometime around the 20th of October the baby would arrive and that the mother was in fine shape and handling the pregnancy well, which of course only increased the apprehension. As October arrived I was terrified; I wished with all my heart that my own father was alive so he could walk me through it and give me words of wisdom and tell me what it was like for him when I was adopted. The only words of his that came to mind during those last few weeks were ones he said often to me during the twenty years we had together. He would always tell me that things were going to be okay, that at the time of all the emotional turmoil it sure doesn’t feel like they will, but things will be okay. And I tried to take those words to heart but I was still terrified that somehow I was going to screw this all up and ruin a life.

We got the call on the morning of October 23, 1984. The mother was in delivery and we would be called as soon as the baby was delivered. I rushed home from work and sat in the living room with my wife and held her hand and tried to be brave and tried to hold my emotions in check and tried not to drink and tried and tried and tried.

I held him for the first time three days later. Tyler Damon was his name and he had all of his toes and fingers and he smiled at me and my heart was his for the rest of my life. All of the emotions that I had held in check came out at that moment and I cried quiet tears as I looked into his eyes and realized that this was my son; not of flesh and blood but every bit my son. I thought about my parents’ feelings and emotions when they held me for the first time. Did they feel the same things? I think they did. Did they harbor the same self-doubts? I think they did. Did they know that their lives had changed forever and that regardless of DNA I was as much their son as if I had been created by them? I think they did.

You see, I believe that parenthood involves so much more than simply pro-creation. Parenthood is acceptance and commitment and instilling values and a love that comes from nowhere but is all-consuming. Parenthood is a state of mind as much as it is a physical connection. Parenthood is a selfless act of giving and it makes no difference whether your sperm interacted with her egg to create that miracle that you hold in your arms.

There are no handbooks that can adequately prepare us for being a parent. You can read until you are blue in the face but nothing prepares you for the first time your child looks at you and grabs your finger and falls asleep in your arms. There is nothing that can prepare you for the flood of emotions when your child first smiles at you or when they recognize you as their safe harbor.

I have been winging it since that first day, drawing upon past experiences and lessons learned and hoping for the best. My son is now twenty-seven years old and I still look at him at times and get choked up when the realization comes back to me that this functioning adult is the product of my cluelessness and love. Those first days with him will forever hold a place in my heart, and when days come when I have self-doubts about myself I look at my son and realize that I did okay, that this adoptee adopted a child and loved him just as strongly as any birth parent ever could.

Mom and Dad, thank you for the lessons learned and the love you gave me. It all turned out alright for your son and his son. I am truly blessed!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

To purchase my adoption book on Kindle go to:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008GXJJA0

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    • kingmaxler profile image

      kingmaxler 5 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

      Thank you for the love of your child that you shared. You give hope for all those who have chosen to undertake the task of loving a child even though we are "imperfect."

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      kingmaxler, you are way too kind but thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it and it resonated with you in some way.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a heartwarming hub. So glad that you have your son and that he has you in his life. Good parenting is so much more than mere biology!

    • EclecticFusion profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Thank you for sharing this bit of yourself! Very inspiring story and I hope you get that call from a publisher very soon!

      Voted beautiful and up!

    • profile image

      Sooner28 5 years ago

      More people should adopt. I respect the fact you did! Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy W. and I agree with your views on parenting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eclectic...love your name by the way. I don't expect a call in the near future but I love to write so it doesn't matter much to me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sooner, I appreciate your words and I for one am very glad that I adopted.

    • hazelwood4 profile image

      hazelwood4 5 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

      Parenthood is so much more then procreation. I have 2 wonderful sons who I spend as much time as possible with. I try to establish the same values that my mother and father instilled in me. Even though I fail at times, I know my boys can never ever say they were not loved dearly by their father. Thank you for sharing another thought provoking and moving Hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure sir! I have always believed that the love we give to our children will always be remembered and count much more than any mistakes we might have made along the way. Thank you once again for reading my hub.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Finance...thank you so much. I'm glad my true feelings came out in the writing...best of luck to you!

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      Inasmuch as I am Mommy and Daddy to my adopted child, I can totally relate to the love you feel for yours. You were extremely lucky to have been chosen so quickly by a birth parent. For me, it took well over 2 years with an attorney and it was not a good situation that I could accept. People need to understand nowadays the potential adoptive parents can incur many thousands of dollars with the birthparent for expenses besides attorney's fees, etc. I did adopt through the Dept. of Family Services. It took 7 years and two foster children before I adopted my second foster child. She came home as a 4 month old infant. Had I kept with the private attorney or private agencies, I might still be waiting (my daughter's been with me 5 years now) . . .

      You don't have to be perfect. You just have to be willing (and safe).

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BakingBread....all very good points and advice...thank you for reading and commenting.

    • BakingBread-101 profile image

      BakingBread-101 5 years ago from Nevada

      More than likely, as a parent, you will feel guilty of not being as good as you think you should be. Guess what--your child probably thinks you're tops! Mine tells me at her wise young age of 5, "Mommy, I'm not trying to be rude, but before I found you, I was looking for a Mommy and a Daddy and a Sister but no brothers 'cuz they're icky, but I'm glad I found you! You are the Queen of Mothers and I love you 100 million hearts!"

      Now isn't she wise!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is indeed very wise. Thank you so much for the comment and the sentiment attached to it.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 5 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Billy, your emotions before Tyler arrived are no different than those first-time biological fathers experience. So yes, fatherhood has nothing to do with biology, only a commitment to give it your best. Thank you for explaining this leap of faith so well and poignantly! ;D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      JamaGenee....I love your comments and I'm honored to have you following along on my journey. Thank you so much! Now I must go read some of your works.

    • gmaoli profile image

      Gianandrea Maoli 5 years ago from South Carolina

      You really painted a vivid picture of what was going through your mind when you decided to adopt. I really admire you for handling your fears and making that leap to take responsibility for caring for someone that could have ended up growing up without a real role model. Thank you for sharing this!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      gmaoli..my pleasure, sir, and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Believe me, I am the one who received the most from adopting my son.

    • profile image

      brandy ogden 2 years ago

      I have a question my parents are very how Dow I put it controlling. And 4 years ago they told me that if I did not let my oldest son live with them they would never talk to me again or my kids I eventually did let him stay with them they stop calling him by his first name and about a year ago I got sick and I needed them to watch my other two children and they forced my to sign adoption papers and then maid me go with my mom and she lied to my xhusband and she said one of the kids where real sick and she had better insurance and now they are telling my kids to call them mom and dad and they changed all my kids name some one please tell me what I should do.....mommyforever2012@gmail.com

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      brandy, there seems to be a great deal of this story not told here....I am not in a position to give advice on this, but if it were me I would get a lawyer immediately, and if you can't afford one, find legal aid...most big cities have free legal advice....best wishes to you.

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