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Why I Relinquished a Son to Adoption, and Why I Never Would Again - Guest Post

{I first heard Ridghaus on his episode with Haley on Adoptees On, which struck me as I so rarely heard any stories from birth fathers. We later met at the 2018 Indiana Adoptee Network Conference and have remained friends, often comparing our experiences in adoption or in parenting as a whole (you can read parts of my story here and here). In the years since, I still have yet to meet or hear from other biological fathers who are open about their experiences or their feelings. The biological parent perspective is almost exclusively written by mothers, and so I knew I would want to offer a space for fathers during National Adoption Awareness Month}

Why I relinquished a son to adoption, and why I never would again


A recent conversation with a dear friend about National Adoption Awareness Month brought to mind one of the biggest mistakes I ever made: relinquishing my son to an adoptive couple. I would not have words for the feelings surrounding my decision until I experienced more life, had other children, left Evangelicalism, and discovered my own adoption story.

Traveling back in time to May of my 18th year, I broke up with my fiancé Becky and took a job working for a Christian church in a neighboring state. A few weeks passed when I received a phone call from Angie, Becky’s best friend:

"Becky is pregnant."

Growing up in an abusive, alcoholic family, I wanted something better than I had, something more stable. So I left the job and returned to Kansas with hopes of reconciliation and giving our child a chance at the happiness neither of us had. But the break-up bitterness still tainted my perceptions, and despite sincere effort (whatever that means to an 18/19 year old) I couldn’t stay in the relationship, even for the benefit of this unborn child.

After another month back, we broke up again.

I worked three jobs, and any spare time went to sleep. She kept her own busy schedule, and neither of us had family support. We eventually pivoted away from conversations about sharing custody or relying on family when Becky said, “You’ll be paying for this child for the rest of your life.”

Back at my home church, I received a chilly reception, however, the youth pastor’s wife contacted us to say that her sister, Colleen, and husband Brian, were looking to adopt and would like to talk. Colleen brought a hopefulness edged with caution; she'd experienced several miscarriages and a couple of adoption attempts which fell through.

That first meeting and subsequent meetings went well, and we felt moderately comfortable about them raising our child.

The biggest sell for me was that they were two stable Christian adults with regular, steady jobs.The future closed like a camera iris, enabling me to only see what was immediately before me: a couple in crisis and a couple in need. Suddenly, adoption seemed to alleviate the burdens already heavy in my life.

I chose adoption because God could redeem our "sin" as joy for this stable couple.