By Patrice Langford
When I first got together with my current husband, I was not thinking about adoption. I didn’t think about it until we were planning our wedding and the kids asked if they would be changing their last name too. I realized that we hadn’t really explained that to them yet so I tried to explain why I would be changing my last name. They still didn’t understand why they weren’t getting new last names, too, as they were very small. I realized that they wanted to be a part of our wedding and wanted Joe as their father as much as he wanted to fill that void. I asked them if they would like Joe to adopt them, and after explaining this to them, they said that this was something that they wanted to have happen.
My boys have not seen or spoken to their biological father in almost three years and my daughter has never met her bio dad. Joe has been their full-time father for almost those entire three years and has done a fantastic job. He provides for them in a way that my ex-husband never did. He holds them when they cry. He is happy when they are happy, and sad when they are sad. He loves them, hugs them, and kisses them to the point where they are annoyed because he loves them so much.
Joe has got to be getting tired of me asking him if he is sure that he wants to be married to me and my children and inherit all of the responsibility that comes with it. He always says the same thing: that the kids and I are everything he needs. It puts my insecurities from past relationships on the back burner for a few months or until the kids are all having a breakdown in public at the same time.
Joe and I have also talked about adopting other children. We are just big kids ourselves and kids keep you young so why not! We have talked about either fostering or adopting older kids, not babies, unless it was needed. We know how needed parents are and we would love to have a house full of kids and love. We are waiting until we are done with the adoption process for Joe and the kids and until we own our own home.
We have also talked about somehow starting a program to connect older ex foster kids and older current foster kids with a lifelong family or a family just for holidays and special occasions. Like a “rent-a-family” sort of thing. We have only ever talked about it but we know that this is something that we want to look in to. Family is very important to us but, to us, family doesn’t necessarily mean blood family. Family is anyone who you share a connection with and love to be around. We have a lot of family that are not related by blood so adopting kids makes a lot of sense to us.
I have had a lot of people ask me why I am letting Joe adopt the kids when I get child support from my ex and that will cease once the adoption is final. I tell them that when it comes to my ex and the kids, I have never asked him for money. I have never withheld visitation because he didn’t give me money. The money was not the issue. Him being a father was the issue. He was unable to fullfill his fatherly/husbandly duties of providing for us so I knew that it was over. He was a drug addict and I decided that it was best for them not to see him high. So I cut off contact. Not because of him not giving me money and not having a job, but because he was not father material. I do not hold this against him and never have.
He has his own life the same as we have ours. He had two children with another woman. This does not bother me either. In fact, one of his children was born on my birthday. I know that he has his hands full in the same way I did when I was a single parent. The adoption will take away his legal and financial obligations to the kids. All of this will fall to Joe. This will relieve some financial stress, I’m sure, to my ex and his new wife. I am not looking to make anyone’s life any harder. My children are provided for so I am more than happy to let the child support go.
We are in the beginning stages of our adoption process and we are trying to find all the information we can on the step-parent adoption. I have been looking online to try to find families like ours. Even though we are just beginning, we know where we are headed.
Our main goal is to bring our family closer together and we know that this is the way to do it. Being a family is something that we have felt from day one of our relationship. I am so thankful that I have a man that is selfless enough to love me and love my children as his own. We know that adopting is just a piece of paper and it has no merit on our relationship and how we feel about each other, but we view it as the same as our marriage license. It was something for us to profess our love to each other and Joe adopting the kids is a way to show the world that our love is everlasting and we will be family no matter what. It is something that will push us into our new lives and new found happiness.