The Last Place I Ever Expected To Find My Daughter
I thought we were so special.
No one else had a story like ours when it came to becoming a family.
This kind of story of adoption.
And there are a lot of great stories.
We have cousins just back from Ethiopia with the son they worked two years to adopt.
I found my daughter in the funnel cake line.
Yep, funnel cakes.
Truth is, I actually didn’t find her.
My friend, Craig, did.
One hot, sticky early summer day, he ran into a fellow dad and his daughter in line for funnel cakes at a neighborhood festival. A girl in the same grade as his son.
“Come on over and join us,” he gestured pointing over to a nearby field. “A bunch of us are sitting over there eating.”
“The bunch,” meaning, Craig’s husband, their son, and forever, woefully single me.
Dad and daughter took him up on the offer.
That’s where we were introduced as this sweet little girl munched away on that funnel cake.
Two years later, that man, my Mr. SummerFest, and I were married.
A few months after that, Daughter and I finalized our adoption.
I reflected on funnel cakes this week while reading that November is “National Adoption Month.”
It has me thinking of all the incredible ways people become a family.
Turns out, the most common form of adoption in the US is step-parent adoption.
Apparently, that includes us, though, we have never used that term in our house. There are no “step, half, kinda sorta” anything.
Just family, a dad and two moms who got different shifts in our child’s life.
Still, the statistics say we are common.
This must mean there are a lot of families where one of the bio parents isn’t around.
In my daughter’s case, her first mom passed away when she was 8-years-old.
That meant by the time her dad and she were standing in that funnel cake line there was a job opening of sorts.
For a mom.
I think this kind of adoption is life’s way of saying to a parent, “Maybe you didn’t dream big enough when you thought about having kids.”
And to the kids, maybe it’s a sliver of hope. No one replaces the person who didn’t show up or left too early. But maybe, just maybe, there’s more love in this world for you than you could’ve imagined.
Frankly, the more years I get into this parenthood thing, the more I realize, how little it matters how you got to the dance.
Through Ethiopia, through the funnel cake line, or even popped out a few bio kids of your own.
We all have the same carpools to drive, the same crazy college tuitions to save for, the same messy rooms that have us wondering how much toxic waste might be growing under those piles of clothes.
Not so different after all.
Please find my weekly newspaper column in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.