Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Raising Dad

Our youngest has just ripped one into goal. He is thrilled; a huge white smile opens up in his latte-hued face. While G is being congratulated by his teammates, and even though he wears sports goggles, I witness him searching the sidelines. His eyes roam and then spot us, but it is confirmation he seeks. From Mark. The smile widens further when he realizes that the goal was seen. Dad’s smile is as big, if not bigger. They exchange hardy and two-handed thumbs up.

My heart smiles.

A is in the big chair snuggled up to Mark, in a serious discussion about something deep. She loves the “deep,” the “chewy,” and the complex. He loves to challenge her. His nonverbal posture shouts full engagement. She is rapt in attention while he speaks to her. Seeing them like this, even though a common scene, causes my heart to swell. Tears prick my eyes.

I smile and go on.

J walks though the kitchen. Mark “checks” her into the wall. She laughs and does it back to him. This goes on a few times. This “checking” is something he began with her when she was just a wee thing. Introverted, she preferred to remain passive about everything. His goal was to help her instill “backbone,” understand she can be tough, that it’s expected she’ll stand her ground with others.

I am glad.

I watch my son with his girlfriend. H towers over her diminutive frame. I observe the way he looks at her, the manner in which his eyes dance as he takes her in. His large hand is gentle on the small of her back as he guides her through the building. He treats her with respect, compassion and grace. He has learned these things from his father, his role model.

I am proud.

Saturday mornings around here typically begin with a singing father and kids making pancakes (chocolate chip, apple-cinnamon, and plain dusted with powdered sugar) from scratch, accompanied by bacon, and fresh oranges. I often sleep in, or “lay in,” listening and enjoying happy composition of creating our weekend kickoff meal.

I am full of joy. My children are rich in the light and love of their father, and I am grateful.


Filed under The International Mom

Rich Dad

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad.”
                                                                                    ~ Unknown

How true. USS Yorktown

I can state that I never wanted to have children (uh-huh!) until I met Mark. I was the oldest and only sister to three obnoxiously rambunctious “boys-will-be-boys” brothers. They tested my parents and me beyond anything imaginable. The idea of having children that might act like my brothers, well…I found it unappetizing.

Time, maturity and love changed my perspective on children. When I fell in love with and pegged Mark for my future, I realized that I also wanted children with him. A minimum of four or five, maybe a dozen. In this man I saw someone who valued me as an equal partner. I loved this guy who was funny, sensitive, compassionate, ethical, brilliant, and entrepreneurial, a man who understood women, having grown up as the only and middle brother of three wonderful, zany, spirited sisters. I was touched by how he embraced his inner child and encouraged me to embrace mine. The importance of family was deeply ingrained in him and I discovered that it was in me as well. He was crazy about kids and vice-versa. What a package!

We wasted no time in building our family. Despite occasional and normal “hiccups,” our kids are doing well, growing confident and independent in leaps and bounds. Mark is a major part of all of the kids’ successful growth and self-esteem, embracing fatherhood and all of the “everything” it entails. Sure I’m biased, but he is an amazing father.

Aubry told me earlier, “You know Mama. I get it. What you said. Dad is the richest man in the whole wide world because he has us and our love!”

That’s right, baby.

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Filed under Claiming, Family, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom

It Doesn’t Matter

Holden arrived before our second wedding anniversary. We were thrilled to be parents and didn’t wait long before P7080095trying to have another.  In short, it didn’t happen and during those two years we struggled with “secondary infertility” and lost a child. We lost a dream. It was devastating.

Fortunately, Mark and I had talked in–depth about having a family; it had been part of our discovery and evaluation of one another while we dated. We explored the topic of adoption within these talks and settled on the size of our family, four or five children. I believe that after facing infertility and losing our child, we came to accept the reality of our situation quickly because we had had these discussions.

We did an “about-face” and began to earnestly research adopting. We’ve done some silly things, like writing down our answers to tough questions and then flipping the paper over to see what the other has written, to make sure we’re not trying to please one other. Such as it was with the first of our adoption decisions – domestic or international? Our unanimous decision was international.

The next step was, Where?

I will never forget asking Mark this, “If you came into a room filled with children representing every conceivable ethnicity, race and culture, what would you do?

I will never forget his answer, “I couldn’t choose.”

Wow.  And beautiful, liberating.

For the purpose of this post, I will keep it short, but I could write (yes) a book about our experiences of becoming the family we are today. (I have written a few stories.*) My point is this, by Mark being on board with me, by being completely open, our family came to be what it is. We were able to follow our hearts and bring our children home. We were able to go with and follow our gut feelings and, like many adoptive parents, felt that the decisions to form our family as we did were bigger than us.

P6130126Mark is an amazing and flexible father. He is present when he’s with his kids and isn’t above being playful – like painting the girls’ toenails, dancing with the kids, or jumping out and scaring them. Devoted and loving, he is also a wise counselor and mentor. I’ve seen him patiently help with homework or explain a concept to them, like the value of “your word”.

Mark’s children are just that, his children. Mark, the father of my children, who feels profoundly blessed and enriched by the rich love and joy that his children bring.


* My story, “Souls Speak”, is featured in A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Families the newly released volume of the national best selling Cup of Comfort series,  available at your local bookseller and on Amazon.

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Filed under Family, International Adoption, Multicultural Families