Many adoptees or children in foster care may be thinking about Father’s Day this week. Ads for cards, gifts and activities centered on Father’s Day are a constant reminder. For some it is their biological or birth father. This may be a time for them to try and make sense of exactly what Father’s Day represents for them. It can trigger many thoughts and emotions without a safe outlet to explore them.
Adoptees or children in foster care may have some information about their birth mothers and why they were placed for adoption. However, many do not have any information about their birth fathers. They may have questions such as: Does he know I exist? Does he ever think about me? Does he love me? Will I ever meet him? Do I look like him? Am I like him? Was he good at sports? Was he musical? What is he like? These are all normal and very appropriate questions.
How can you help your child or loved one with this? Simply acknowledge what they are feeling and thinking. Listen in a non-judgmental way. Try and put yourself in their shoes. Should your child express anger or sadness, let them know you understand and that it is ok to have these feelings. Ask your child to tell you more as well as what would they like you to do to help them?
It is important that on this day you recognize their loss and be there with them as they work through these complex emotions. A simple lighting of a candle to acknowledge them can be comforting. Writing a poem, letter or short story can help to express the feelings and emotions that this day is triggering. Again, ask them “What can we do today to honor your birth father?” There is a chance they might have an idea that will bring some comfort and safety to this holiday.
This Father’s Day we honor all fathers!
Written by Jennifer Eckert, LICSW
Boston Post Adoption Resources