By Brandy Black
“Do you and Mom have birthmarks?
“Yes, we both do!”
“Do my brother or sister have one?”
“No, I don’t think any of you have one actually.”
“I know why, because we don’t have a dad.”, my six-year-old daughter says calmly, “all my friends with dads have birthmarks.”
“That’s not actually how it works, and you do have a dad, well a biological father.”
“I HAVE A DAD?”
“Yes, well a biological father…”
I try to explain the difference. She interrupts…
“I have a dad? Can I meet him?”
Here we begin the start of likely many conversations to come. I have a velvet brown box, that sits waiting on the top shelf of the closet, for the day when our kids begin asking the tough questions about their bio father. It has a CD with a 15-minute interview and pages upon pages of information on this man and I am prepared to take it down and share the kindness of this stranger when they are ready.
Today, I sit in the car and slowly explain the difference between a dad and a biological father. I tell my 6-year-old that she will some day have the opportunity to meet her bio father when she is 18, should it be important to her. She is most excited that she has something that she thought she didn’t. We have had many conversations about donors and sperm and eggs but the word dad never came into the picture.
Once she has determined that she too has a “father” of any kind and that her lack of a birthmark has nothing to do with her not having a dad, she moves on and the next topic comes up. “When do I have a playdate with Anna?”
I never transition as well, I am rattled, wondering if I handled the conversation smoothly, wishing I had read more blogs on the topic, gotten more advice from friends. As with many things (nursing, potty training, ridding her of the pacifier), she gracefully accepts and moves on. And I sit dumbfounded in the front seat as my wife shuts the gas tank and jumps in the car and life is back to normal.