I wrote this poem about 2 weeks after I reunited with my father. Unfortunately, the story had a very sad ending. The whole thing is currently published in a memoir on Amazon and it is called Wanted. If you are reading this poem and you are an adoptee, I encourage you to find my book and read it. This poem is only the very beginning of the story.
Walk a Day in My Shoes: A Girl Recounts Her Feelings of Reuniting with Her Father
I watch my daughter stare at her daddy, all cuddled up on the couch...
Would I ever scold her for wanting to stay there forever?
I know she must grow up, but not until she has packed away years of love from the only man in her life.
Even then, she will never be too old for that reassurance.
I watch my daughter put on high heels, a fancy hat, and a necklace...
She comes downstairs and tells my husband she is ready to get married- to him.
Would I ever question that he would say anything other than yes?
I know she must grow up, but not until she is sure that she must find a man of her own thatloves her as deeply as her daddy always will.
I watch my son watch me...
He asks if my tears are because I have missed my dad.
When I say yes, I notice the pain on his face- "you mean you didn't get to see him when you were a child?"
I know the truth will scare him, for the thought of his little life without his own dad, is like the world without air.
He understands. No face has communicated so much empathy as his. He doesn't wonder why I want to see my dad everyday, why no amount of emails or phone calls or visits seem like enough.
He simply wonders why I've waited so long?
I don't have an answer except to say that fear holds us back from all kinds of risks.
No longer a child, I see the what if's, the could be's, the questioning looks, the confused faces.
I fear how others will see my own feelings- the three year old that wants affection, the five year old that wants affirmation, the seven year old that can't imagine a day without Dad.
I imagine how silly that looks on a grown woman, how so few people will be able to understand the unique situation I find myself in.
The questions don't stop- "how is everyone else?"
"Are they ok with this?" Ok? Ok?
Let me ask you, should I ask my little girl if others will be jealous before she goes to crawl on her dad's lap?
Should I question her love for me when she wants to marry my husband?
Should I ask my boy if he thinks he's too intense because he cries when Dad goes away for one night?
Did anyone ask me if I wanted my daddy when I was one, two, three, four, or five?
Did anyone ask him if he was really ok? Your one and only daughter- growing up without you?
Did anyone ask God why He chose my father to be my father?
Did God mess up?
Did He forget to watch over this detail?
So I am here. My past is unchangeable, we can't go back. But my future is ahead.
Can I ask why if there were no questions then, should there be questions now?
Two people cut from same material. Two people, who carry the same food preferences, personality traits, and quirky habits. Two people- who didn't realize the gaping hole wide open in the absence of one another.
Two people who need time. Time can't be brought back, but God in His mercy has given us time now.
So for once and for all, I will silence the questions aching to be asked- the questions I hear in my sleep, or when I walk out of the room, or when I watch a face try to register my painful grief and lovesick joy all bottled up into one.
"Aren't you afraid your new relationship will offend or threaten others?" Sure, I am- but its worth the risk.
I've given my love to the people in my life for thirty years. That won't stop. Love isn't divided into shares that run out. And there is someone now that I love so deeply, I can't even get my words around it.
Does he not deserve the same amount of devotion?
"Why would you need your birth father if you had a great adoptive dad?"
Don't ask me this question unless you've lived thirty years without really knowing your past. How many times are children compared to their parents- this one has mom's eyes, uncle Franky's nose?
"Excuse me mam- any illnesses on either side of your family?" Well, I don't know....
Ask yourself, if you had a choice, to have a great adoptive dad or a great biological dad, both wonderful- which would you choose? It's an unfair question, trust me- I know.
"Why are you acting like a lovesick teenager?" How would you act if your father waited for thirty years to be able to tell you how much he loved you, wanted you, hoped you both would be reunited? How would you feel if you found someone who was just like you, who got your jokes, understood your thoughts, could finish your sentences?
I've been given the gift that near death gives people. When you almost lose someone you love, you learn not to filter your "I love you's", you don't worry about all the attention you are giving them, you thank God you were given a perspective that keeps everything in order.
Relationships are all we take with us.
Fathers- they bring identity and value and worth and love to human beings that nothing else can.
So I'm going to love my dad with every ounce I've got.
I'm not going to flinch when people wonder why I'm going to see him for the 19th time this year.
If I'm not going to question calling my mom every day, or visiting her for lunch, seeing her on Sundays, holidays, vacations; then I'm not going to question it with my dad, especially because he and I are thirty years behind.
Give us thirty years to do what we missed, then you can start monitoring fairness.
Instead I'm going to say- why aren't you telling me to dedicate the next thirty years to knowing, loving, and being with other one that made half of me? That waited for me.
I didn't get to be three with him, or five, or eight, but I can be Julie. The Julie that jumps in with both feet, the Julie that loves with her whole heart, the Julie who doesn't care what anyone else thinks. I lost thirty years, but I won't waste a minute more worrying about what I should do with the next thirty. I know.
And so would you...
if you walked a day in my shoes.
About the Author
Julie DeNeen is a freelance writer who specializes in the area of psychology, relationships, and adoption. She also co-owns the GSA website for adults who are in complicated reunions. She has appeared on ABC and Dr. Drew regarding her personal adoption reunion story.
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Timothy Whitt from New Jersey on September 08, 2020:
I love this poem. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about my own dad when I was a child.
Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 10, 2020:
This is so moving and oh, what courage you have! I adopted my lovely daughter who has spent her life struggling with her own difficult issues. Thank you for sharing your story.
Donna Rayne from Greenwood, In on December 21, 2019:
Thank you for sharing your heart and passion, thank you for inspiration and thoughts of yesterdays, thank you for acceptance and courage of your journey that is like a book, with every page that is turned, there is a chapter to read and to be added!
Beautiful write from your heart!
Jana Oman on June 10, 2019:
Amazing! What a wonderful gift of connection and reunion. Thanks for sharing your story...
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 06, 2019:
This is such a heartfelt piece of work. It flows nicely.
I can feel your anguish and your joy. You have been given a gift. Embrace it.
Good read and nicely penned.
Mark Tulin from Santa Barbara, California on June 06, 2019:
Enjoyed this touching narrative poem.
PoetikalyAnointed on September 22, 2018:
Bless your heart! Thank you for sharing such a soulful piece of you.
I can't even begin to tell you how deeply you plucked my heartstrings with this Hub. I truly appreciate and applaud your honesty and perspective on so many levels.
I'm one who believes that Great father's should be praises and loved on just as much as Great mom's naturally are. I'm very sorry that you and your Father missed all of those "tender years" like that. It's a blessing that you all have had time...don't know how it ended. Hold on to that time you had!
I'm sending globs and globs of love your way.
Lorraine Mocanu on May 20, 2015:
I grew up with a great and wonderful Stepfather from the age of two,
mine is a slightly more complicated story, and I plan to write it someday, however, please accept my deepest thanks as this peace has spoken to me deeply after my Dad and I found each other after 40 years, it is still early days and he lives a world away, But I feel as you do, and ask only that when others think of it they will be understanding
DebK on January 28, 2013:
Wow, this piece has really spoken to me. I am fast approaching the 3rd anniversary of the first time I spoke to my father (at age 40). Until that time, he never knew I even existed. He has since welcomed me into his life with open arms as if I have always been his.
Thank you for so eloquently sharing this. I cannot wait to share this with my dad!
Eiddwen from Wales on October 27, 2012:
A brilliant share and I now look forward to so many more by you.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 26, 2012:
Wow!! Imagine that, what a feeling it must be to reunite with a family member!!! An excellent Hub!!!
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on October 25, 2012:
What an incredibly beautiful piece with so much heart and feeling! I'm glad this came up on my feed since I missed it the first time around. My favorite line is: "Love isn't divided into shares that run out." That pretty much sums up what love should be in any relationship.
My late mother was adopted and reared as an only child. She met her birth father when she was a teenager. (Her own mother died shortly after she was born.) She also met her much older siblings, and they all had good relationships thereafter. While she adored her adoptive parents, she had enough love to go around and include her birth family.
Voted Up, Awesome and Beautiful, and shared
jessay0302 on October 25, 2012:
wow! this is an awesome piece! i've been looking for something that captures how i'm feeling and this is it! i just found out of was adopted last year and i met my biological father this past august for the first time & i'm 26 years old. I love him so much already and this poem explains why. thank you so much for writing this piece and sharing it!!!
Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on June 28, 2012:
Wow...that was such an incredible comment. Thank you so much!
:) You made my night :)
epigramman on June 28, 2012:
I would say in the 2 years plus that I have been writing at the hub and reading too Julie - this has to be one of the most moving pieces I have ever read here and one of the best written as well - I love how you write your poetic narrative and dialogue - very unconventional , well just like the epi-man - great minds must think alike - lol - sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 9:59pm and this one for me Julie is definitely a hubwow!
Shaner on June 26, 2012:
I want to thank you for this. You have summed up what my daughter feels. That we missed 20 years and I make her feel like a little girl all over again, and she makes me feel like a new dad. I tear up every time I read this. Thank you for putting into words those feelings that are so hard to put into words.
Blurter of Indiscretions (author) from Clinton CT on May 29, 2012:
thank you very much!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2012:
I am an adoptee and I have an adopted son. As such I can say this is an excellent piece of work.