Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the category “Bullying”

Real Dad

A while back, I wrote about a co-worker, someone I had considered at least on friendly terms, who made an unfortunate comment about my decision to adopt my daughters. Because I was adopting internationally, he felt that I was bringing people here to take jobs away from Americans, as opposed to the US sending job overseas.

It is not unusual for people to make ignorant and bigoted comments. Especially when it comes to the world of adoption. Some of the comments can be quite insensitive. But nothing could have lit my fuse more, than a comment made over this past weekend, not to me personally, but came across my news feed.

Because I want this post to be directed as intended, and not something political or any other cause, I am not going to name the person who said it, not even gender. But after reading my post, a simple “google” will tell you who said it. Said what you ask?

“Children are in the greatest danger in America today, because traditional family values are being destroyed, the idea that Mom and Dad together, not fake Mom and fake Dad, but biological Mom and biological Dad, can raise their children together, to do what’s right for their children raising them to be confident in who they are, their identity. Their identity, they’re a child made by God.”

Again, a simple “google” and you can find out who spit out this garbage on their podcast, last Thursday, July 14th on Rumble, and you will find a person who has made racist and bigoted comments in the past. So it is no surprise that this person would have no issue making an ignorant and pompous comment as to imply anyone other than a biological parent, is “fake.”

Now, as some may figure out who this is, may want to run to this person’s defense with “they did not mean that you were a fake Dad. You are taking them out of context.” Am I though? This person clearly said, on the video with their own tongue and voice, available on Twitter, “Mom and Dad together, not fake Mom and fake Dad, but biological Mom and biological Dad,” is quite clear.

If this person wanted to be specific, as I said, being a racist and bigot, they know how to single out a specific type of “fake” parent if they wanted, such as “gay parents” or family’s with trans family members. But they did not, because in the past, this person has had their ass handed to them for the other stupid comments made in the past about race and the LGBTQ community.

No, this person was quite clear, if you did not birth the child, you are a fake parent. If the child does not have your genes, you are a fake parent. So, let’s take a look at the types of “fake” parents this person could be referring to as not having “traditional family values.”

  • step parents
  • single parents
  • gay couples
  • trans families
  • adoptive families

I am going to stop there, because I need to make sure I stay in my lane, in other words, speak only of which I know. Though I have had both a stepmother and a stepfather, I do not credit either with who I am today, so I am not going to refer to them either. I will let everyone else advocate for the groups they support.

But, for me, I am an adoptive parent. I am not “fake” as this person put it. I am a real Dad. And from the moment they were placed in my arms, I have done all that I can, to make sure that they learned my values, which I know are different from this person. After all, who is this person to decide that their values are better than mine? Neither of my daughters have gotten into any trouble, legally or morally. They seem to have done well with the values I have taught them. I have taught them how important it is to be proud of who they are and where they are from, and to learn and respect all of our American history as well as their Asian culture, for that is the only way not to repeat the ugly parts of it. They are law abiding, respectful, polite, and loving. And if you asked either of my daughters, I am definitely their real Dad. And they are definitely confident in who they are.

No, they were not born of my blood. But they were born in my heart. And from the moment they were placed in my arms, I became their real Dad.

I am sure the adoption community will have a field day if they share the outrage and disgust I am experiencing from yet another worthless and pompous self-righteous judgement from someone who really needs to look at themselves before judging others. In fact, it has been a while since I have opened it, but if this person believed in what they spoke, which is clearly written in the Bible I was raised on, Matthew 7:1, Jesus warns that those who condemn others will themselves be condemned (also loosely translated, “judge not, lest ye be judged”. Someone needs to practice what they preach.

Not Playing Favorites

When it comes to taking photos with my daughters, nearly all of the time, you will see one on each side of me. Much like a scale, to me, this particular pose, shows balance, equal. And that is the relationship that I want with my daughters. I do not favor one over the other.

Adopted roughly two years apart, that is the only advantage that one daughter has over the other, time. I pretty much nipped any kind of “competition” or sibling rivalry in the bud at the first sign when my older daughter asked following a karate demonstration, “who did it better?” referring to her sister’s execution versus hers.

Up until their high school years, I gave them constant reminders, anytime I heard any hint of one having an edge over the other in anything particular. That it was okay if something came easier for one than the other. That each would have their own methods to get from point A to point B, and both could be correct. But that did not mean that one way was better than the other.

In the theory of nature versus nurture, both daughters were raised to have the same values and virtues. That I expect of both of them. In that regard, they are both equal, and I could not be more proud.

But as they grew, they each developed their own interests and likes. They each got stronger in certain skills. Both have their own study habits. Both of my daughters have their own paths to get from point A to point B, and both, will get there.

As I mentioned, time is the only difference between the love I have shared equally with them. I have a year and a half more photos and memories. But that is all.

Now, as my daughters reach adulthood, there is a shift. I will have one daughter going off to college. And just like the song “Cats In The Cradle,” I expect difficulty in time to get to spend with her. And while my younger daughter graduates the following year, I will continue the frequency in visits with her, until she moves on as well. But time, is the only advantage one has over the other. That is not me favoring one over the other.

In their elementary and middle school years, it was a lot easier to maintain this balance. But in high school, as future goals and decisions needed to be made, I do my best to maintain that balance, making sure not to ignore one daughter over the other. Both of them have important things going on in their lives, again, just the timing of one year between them making the difference. They both need my attention. I love each of them the same.

Science And Numbers Have Not Lied

First, looking at this picture, do not be distracted by what I am listening to. I actually do like Nickelback. Don’t judge me. LOL.

Obviously, it was that time again for me to get bloodwork done. And for one of the few times, this was a blood test that I was looking forward to. For one, I keep getting the same phlebotomist who performs the draw flawlessly, painless, and quick. The other reason, the test would provide information in regard to my vaccine status and overall Covid exposure.

But before I go any further, I will save anyone time. If you do not believe in science, and/or allow that it can be flawed at times, skip this post. I am not going to get into anything political about this.

From the beginning of the pandemic, science, at least the CDC, NIH, and FDA, had been concentrating on the more susceptible with their studies. The Leukemia Lymphoma Society, recognizing that it was not likely, that studies would be done on those of us who are immuno-compromised, decided to organize their own study, using patients how have or had dealt with blood cancers, such as leukemia and my cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

I am not going to get lost in the weeds with all kinds of details, but here is the summary. In my particular case, I made a conscious decision to hold off on being vaccinated, until I knew that a 3rd dose would be approved. I had more than a strong hunch, that two doses would not be enough to protect me based on prior vaccines. For me to have gotten the vaccines when they became available, would not have allowed me the full benefit I needed from a third dose. Here is my proof.

Following my first dose, my blood showed no traces of antibodies, either from the vaccine, or from a Covid exposure. This was done two weeks after my dose.

My second dose was given 28 days after the first dose, with bloodwork following two weeks again. This time, there was a slight appearance of antibodies from the vaccine, nowhere near what I needed for protection. But the good news was, I also was not exposed to Covid.

Because of the choice I made, unlike others who got their vaccines as they were originally available, and their 3rd vaccine, 5-6 months after their 2nd, I received my 3rd dose, just 28 days after my 2nd dose. As I expected, the 3rd dose was a homerun, producing a robust amount of antibodies, and confirmed, still no exposure.

All I had to do was wait. I knew that I would have more bloodwork, to see if I still had coverage, but I was already anticipating a 4th dose being necessary. The lead doctor of the study, had already hinted at the likelihood. But now, as the fourth dose had not been approved yet, I am now in the position, where I needed to wait five months, to get that fourth jab. But before that, yep, more bloodwork.

This bloodwork would confirm what my levels were like after five months from the 3rd dose. The 4th dose had already been expected in my mind. I anticipated a drop in my antibodies, but not as badly as they had, an 82% decline over the five months. I am as close to no longer being protected again as I was back in the beginning of this. The 4th dose is now scheduled. More bloodwork to come. But will there be a 5th dose or some other plan? Clearly, Covid will be a lifetime risk for me.

There was some good news with this latest blood test. To be clear, I have followed every recommendation from the CDC, regardless of the “keystone cop” approach with communications, the message did not change, “use the caution we recommend”. Masks. Wash hands (really cannot believe people needed to be told that). Avoid indoor crowds. For well over two years, I have done it willingly, without the false trope of “losing freedom” or any of the other false claims that these precautions actually did do. I have faced several exposure risks, from having to be in the hospital for three surgeries during Covid times, people around me discovered to have had Covid and remained silent instead of being concerned for my vulnerabilities, and as shown in the photo below, a crowded airport as I waited to check my daughters bag for their flight home (the mask mandate was still in place, yet 75% of the people were unmasked, and the wait was well over an hour and a half, packed together, indoors). The blood test confirmed, as with the others, “no infection.” Yes, I was still following all those recommendations from the CDC that so many complained about as flawed. The fact is, they work. Need proof?

Of my sibling and I, it is me that has all the vulnerabilities. My sibling was (spoiler alert, I did write “was”) younger, and given all of my complicated survivorship issues, expected to easily outlive me. But there was a problem. My sibling followed the chain of false information and reasoning, from “Covid is a hoax” to “Covid is an attack on Trump,” to “I don’t trust the vaccines,” to “I put my faith in God to protect me,” to “I put my faith in God to cure me.” As I said, “spoiler alert”. I am the one writing this post, not my sibling. My younger sibling died because of all of the anti this and anti that.

The mandates are gone and as expected, all those who were “forced” to protect themselves have now made their choices to throw all precautions to the wind. Many have been infected multiple times, emboldened that they have survived each time, and therefore, will not go to any lengths to protect themselves or anyone else. As one of my friends mistakenly offered his opinion, “herd immunity is what is needed. Which I have always said, herd immunity would come at such a high cost, millions of lives, to which this person responded, “all for the cause. It is the patriotic thing to do.” I was speechless at the thought that someone claimed to have strong religious faith, was okay with sacrificing lives for the cause of the country, as opposed to following simple recommendations. And this sentiment still continues over two years later.

My goal as a long term cancer survivor, as a parent, was to see my daughters grow, become adults, start their lives. As hard as it is, and the odds that are against me doing that, Covid was not something I needed thrown in front of me, making these wishes even more challenging. Yet here I am. I need to avoid Covid so that I can be there for my daughter’s graduation just next month, fortunately, will be an outside event.

So, I must continue to mask. I always wash my hands. I avoid crowds (in full transparency, have always hated crowds anyway). I do go places, but at “lighter” times of day when not as busy. I have just begun eating out, but only if outdoor seating available, or just do take out as I have during the whole pandemic. I have no interest in overpriced boring movies in theaters or concerts. I am pretty much doing all the things I want to do, with all the precautions. I am still free. I am still alive. That is science. Those are the facts.

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