Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

My Wish For My Daughter

She has come a long way, literally and figuratively. A blessing from China, when the option of becoming a father was not possible any other way, my daughter is taking her next steps, into her direction of life, that is by her own will. And it is a strong will that she has.

The term “matching” was used during the adoption process. The Chinese Center of Adoption Affairs takes the information of the parents from their biography, and “matches” that to a child. A family is created through the process of international adoption.

Being a cancer survivor and unable to have biological children, China gave me the opportunity I did not have in the United States, becoming a father.

The oldest of my two daughters, she is a role model for her younger sister, who is just a year behind graduation. Together, they have made a great team who liked to help, laugh, and love. Each has their own personalities, their own interests, and their own ways to get to this day.

For my older daughter, there is a natural progression to her, a gift if you will. She is easily frustrated with practice as she is a quick study, even with something she has never been taught as was pointed out by her karate sensei handling and using a weapon, a staff, which she had never been shown before, for reasons of her age group not qualified for weapons. She was flawless.

Or dance class, just wanting to dance, not wanting to wait for it to be her turn. One demonstration was all it took for her to learn a routine.

Out of nowhere, almost ten years ago, she picked up a pencil, and started drawing faces. This was not elementary school drawings of circles inside of circles and a curved line for a smile. These were completely recognizable faces in the style of “manga.” Again, this is just something she picked up, and to say she developed is an understatement. I am not allowed to show any of these samples, which are quite good, but it is her artwork. And she is her own worst critic. So she says “no.”

Toward the end of her middle school years, she was given an opportunity to attend a technical school which would advance and challenge her imagination and eventually give her the direction she would choose in life. Again, I am prevented by her from sharing these drawings (she is critical of herself, I say she has established herself as a “diva”), but I have no doubt, as she completes the next level of her education, and establishes herself in the world of “advertising design,” she will establish herself as one of the best, unable to hide a gift that she was clearly born with.

Maddie, you were the first to call me “Daddy.” You taught me how to care for someone and be responsible for someone, not old enough or able to do so on her own. You made me care about my decisions that I made in life, as they would not only affect me, but you, and your sister as well. You taught me to pay attention to others needs, sometimes without the availability of words. You challenged me to make decisions that would seem to go against the rules, but we would make memories out of them to last forever.

You brought a tear to my eye as you reached my height. After being a not-so-gentlemanly teenager myself, I became hyper aware once I heard a boy’s name mentioned from you. And then, getting to meet one of them. Talk about feeling out of sorts in how I was supposed to act. I had no intention of embarrassing you, as you clearly liked the boy, but by the same token, I had no idea how I was supposed to act either, a new experience for me.

Your confidence really has no limit. It is too bad you still have not recognized that. But you have every reason to be confident in what you have done, and what you will do. I will always be proud of you. I will always stand behind you and your efforts. And I will always, definitely be there for you as you begin this thing called “life.”

Congratulations on your graduation! I am so proud of you.

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