Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the category “Adoption”

“Paul’s Heart” – 50,000 Views Strong!!!

Typically, people dread Mondays.  While I do not dread them, Mondays are not my favorite day of the week.  HOWEVER, today is a great Monday!  As the counter states, “Paul’s Heart” has had over 50,000 views officially this past weekend.  Among some of the other stats that I have completely not remembered, I have published 764 posts (765 including this one).  There are 252 more posts in draft form, and hundreds that are just prompts.  And then there are more than a dozen published stories and articles that I have share on this site.  So many readers have either commented or written me with questions, situations, seeking advice, or simply just to say, “yeah, I totally get that.”

Just some of the topics that I cover regularly:

  • cancer and survivorship
  • adoption
  • parenting
  • healthcare
  • discrimination
  • parental alienation
  • education
  • bullying

I am driven by the expression, “those who cannot do, teach.”  Because I am a cancer survivor, I cannot donate blood or organs.  Because of cancer treatments, I discovered the world of adoption.  I have taken on discrimination and won.  I do not tolerate bullying at all.

But my one goal with “Paul’s Heart” has not been met yet.  Actually writing a book.  I have begun the process many times, each with a different concept or approach.  The only conclusion that I can reach as to why, is that I have not experienced yet, that one key moment that will either be the beginning, the focus, or the conclusion of such an endeavor.

In the meantime, I will keep writing about things I cannot do, but can help.  I will continue to be a voice for those that do not have the ability or confidence.  I will research and find answers, point in directions where to find answers.

I will also keep looking for, and printing guest stories from you, the readers.

From the bottom of my most grateful heart, thank you to all of you who have read, shared, and appreciated “Paul’s Heart” over the years.



Happy Father’s Day Weekend

My favorite time of year.  Father’s Day weekend.  It is a weekend filled with lots of emotions.  On one hand, I get to spend the weekend with my daughters who simply put, are my reason for being.  On the other hand, I miss my father, who passed away just over five years ago.  So, it is a bittersweet time of year.  And as I look through all of the photos that I have taken over the last fifteen years of my life, I am reminded just how important the title of “Dad” really is.  And as the collage demonstrates, my parenthood is careening towards having young adults.

Gone are the tea parties and pretend play.  No more animated movies.  In fact, my older daughter has already stated her disapproval for the computer generated reboots of Disney classic animated movies that she grew up watching.  I really have my fingers crossed that she will at least let me watch “The Lion King.”  But on the plus side, they now enjoy watching more topical movies, biopics especially.  One of the coolest moments came for me, watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my daughters.  And they continue to realize the impact that Queen had in the entertainment world.  I have already begun to prep them both for “Rocketman”, yes, by encouraging them that the soundtrack for the movie “The Lion King” was written by the Rocketman, Elton John.  Their curiosity has been elevated.

Gone are the coloring books, alphabet homework assignments, and learning multiplication tables.  I am now looking at full blown essays and interpretations and insight reviewing fiction stories, or research on current events.  As I writer, this is definitely one aspect that I really enjoying, and if I do say so, I expect both to exceed  what I do.

After changing their minds on what they want to be several times while growing up, there seems to be a direction that both are heading, and they are making decision on course selections based on those directions.

Did I say I was lucky to be seeing these transformations?  Healthwise, absolutely.  My health scares over the years, yes, I am very lucky to be seeing all of these events.  And in divorce, I am also lucky to be seeing my daughters.

Sadly, I know too many fathers, and have read hundreds more stories sent to me of fathers, unable to see their children for any number of reasons.  To be fair, there are also fathers out there who have turned their backs on their children, either out of frustration for a system, or denial.

Being a father, missing my daughters, loving my daughters as much as I do, I cannot fathom what would make a father make the decision to turn his back on his child(ren).  Did they never want the responsibility of being a father?  Did the child not provide any “familial currency”, purpose, or value to the father?  Was the father frustrated by constant attempts to interfere with the relationship with his child(ren)?  Quite possibly with the assistance of the law and statutes that allow so?

Could it be someone else’s decision that a father is not getting time to spend with his child(ren)?  A bitter former spouse using the child(ren) as pawns to exact revenge by refusing to allow the father to see his child(ren)?  Does the father even know that he might have children?

Then there is the unimaginable loss every year this weekend comes around.  Is the father faced with the loss of a child due to tragedy.  We have all heard that a parent should never have to bury their child.  But it happens.  And then there are those of us, many of us, who have lost our own fathers.  As I am now in the second half of my century, many of my school age friends, mourn the loss of the parents, many quite recently.

I miss my Dad.  I love my children.  I consider myself lucky to have been my Dad’s son.  And I am not only proud of my daughters, but I am quite lucky.  Lucky to have had both blessings in my life.  And to those who face struggles in their lives, with the relationship between father and children, you are in my thoughts, hopes that someday, your situation will resolve positively.

My Two Dads

It was a story that captured the nation and social media, especially in the realm of separated or divorced families.  A picture of a little girl, and two “dads”, attending an event dedicated to fathers and their daughters, a father/daughter dance.  For years, when I lived in Pennsylvania, I was the disc jockey for an event like this, annually, for eleven years.  What became quite clear over those years, there were so many different situations at this dance, especially who escorted the young ladies.  While a majority of the parents that were there, were biological or legal (adopted) fathers, there were also uncles, friends, mothers, and step-fathers.  And there were any number of reasons, if a child was not there with their own father.

The two men in the photo have very important roles to the little girl.  One of the men is her father, divorced from her mother.  The other man is currently engaged to her mother.  When they get married, he will carry the title, “stepfather.”

Decades ago, the “step” along with either mother or father often carried a negative connotation to it, thanks probably to Cinderella, and the way her stepmother treated her, as did her stepsisters, in the fairy tale.  Often times, step children were often portrayed as being sub-family, of little value to the step parent, treated as not one of their own.

There were television sitcoms along the way that would help to disprove the myth of the dynamic of the stepfamily, most famously, the Brady Bunch.

The focus of this television show, featured a widower father, and a mother who is believed to have been divorced, though it was never formally televised because back in the 1970’s divorce was still pretty much a taboo subject.  So it was never really addressed why Mrs. Brady was single.  But together, along with their housekeeper, the Brady’s functioned as a unified unit, never really having to deal with the fact that other than the pilot episode, the show never really dealt with the issues of a stepfamily, rather just appearing a regular family.

But the dynamic of a step-parent has taken a much different direction these days.

In this photo, both men appear to be having a great time, all for the benefit of the little girl.  And it is not that because the men are best of friends.  Quite the contrary, in the beginning, they were adversaries.  But as this story was printed, they realized that the situation, the Daddy/Daughter Dance was not about them, it was about their daughter/soon-to-be stepdaughter and the memories that she was going to have of that event.  The men admit that there were difficulties in getting along in the beginning, most likely due to the emotions spurred by the divorce between the girl’s original parents.  The future “step-father” is only naturally going to to be an ally to the mother, and adopt any hostilities toward the father of the child.

But these two men realize what is at stake.  The girl is young.  But she is going to remember this moment for her lifetime.

As a child, I had both a step-father and a step-mother.  While my biological parents may have had their adversarial relationship, I can honestly say that both of my step-parents stayed in their lanes.  Neither tried to exert any kind of parental power over me and at no time did either attempt to replace their biological equal.  And when it came to special events, like graduations, weddings, baptisms, etc., it was always made clear, they would not make that special day in my life, or my children’s lives, about them and their issues with my other parent.

The story does not address the emotions of the girl’s mother, nor does it tell of any confrontations, negative issues, allegations, of the family as it legally separated and divorced.  But what is clear, this father, and the step-father-to-be have done what so many strive to do, keep the divorce limited to the husband and wife, and not the mother and father.  A divorce is between a husband and wife.  A mother and father cannot get divorced.  And no matter the feelings that one spouse has for the other, those feelings should never be taken out on the children at their expense, especially to make the other parent “suffer.”

Children of all ages, will always remember what they have seen, and what they have been told.  And if it has been lies, coming at the expense of the other parent, costing time and the relationship, the hurt and resentment will take a long time to forgive, if possible, and even to forget.  Children know what to expect of their parents because they have spent most of their early lives with them.  They know what is possible, and what is not.  As the two men above demonstrated, when it comes to the children, keep the relationship with the children, about the children.  It can be done.

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