Absense of fathers on Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. My adoptive father died 15 years ago, my biological father is still alive, desperately clinging onto his fifth marriage (or long term relationship).

My adoptive father tried at times to make an effort, but more often than not, gladly let me be a sort of substitute husband for my adoptive mother, so he could be left alone in his own world behind the newspaper. My biological father never made an effort at all, he just left, never looking back.

I wonder if, on a day like this, I should honor either of these men. For my biological father the verdict is actually quite simple. He never cared about the offspring he had produced in his first marriage, and to this day has never acknowledged doing anything wrong.

My adoptive father I have some good words for. Sure he was emotionally absent nearly all of the time, except when being angry, but at least he never left. He adopted me and accepted the responsibility, at least in the practical sense of the word.

I guess adoption wouldn't be the issue it was if fewer men were like my biological father and a few more would accept their responsibility at least to the extent my adoptive father did.

An emotionally absent father is not ideal, but it can create a sense of stability. A completely absent father without any sense of responsibility leaves children vulnerable and, as I experienced myself, can eventually lead to unnecessary adoptions.

So my question is, why is it for some men so difficult to accept their responsibility, while others accept it even when they actually don't want to?

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Surrogate Husbands, and Perfect Images

Great post, Niels. 

I was struck by a very common theme I see among (adult) male adoptees.

My adoptive father tried at times to make an effort, but more often than not, gladly let me be a sort of substitute husband for my adoptive mother, so he could be left alone in his own world behind the newspaper. My biological father never made an effort at all, he just left, never looking back.

I don't think enough discussion goes into the sense of abandonment women feel in their relationships/ marriage, (especially after sex), and how that gets passed onto the kids.  Based on many many discussions with adult adoptees (males), the role of "mommy's little man" was really huge... putting all sorts of pressure on the boys to be 'perfect'.

'Perfect', meaning the ideal (man-of-the-house?) will never leave.... her sense of 'normal' will never change, and her all-important role to another will remain the same... she will always and forever be a top priority.

It's fascinating to me how complex it all gets when we dig deeper into not-so-obvious adoption issues.... especially when it relates to man/woman relationships and what happens after the honeymoon, the pregnancy, and the kids.

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