This past week a good friend of mine asked me to write a short story about adoption and all that adoption means to me and my family. Please view her blog at http://shortstorycollections.net/my-fathers-son/ you can buy cool art and fashion accessories and all things that will make you or your loved one happy. Read the other posts, there are some amazing stories to brighten and encourge your hearts. enjoy! below is the story I wrote:
As I sit and think back to my own childhood up until now, I can’t help but let my mind wander back to the fall of October 1968. I wasn’t there, but from the stories I’ve heard I can just about imagine: a grand wedding ceremony of 2 people in love, the new husband missing the opening day of duck hunting, the honeymoon drive from Wisconsin through Nebraska to Denver to Colorado Springs to little obscure and memorable places. I can imagine the laughter in the car, the excitement in their voices and the building of what has become a 44 year friendship that surpasses all rationale, which can only be summed up by the word Love.
Because I’ve had this conversation with these 2 great people, I know what they wanted most was to be happy together and share their life with a family, some kids in their quiver! For the next decade their efforts proved fruitless, not for the lack of trying, but out of the many complications. After 3 miscarriages and a ‘scary’ last try moment, this great couple decided to investigate the idea of adoption.
Fast forward to 1977 (a great year I might add). The couple is living in a western Wisconsin town; the wife working a modest job at a large corporation, the husband is on strike with the local telephone company working some odd jobs. As the story is told to me, the husband is helping a friend roof their house, when the wife shows up and says ‘Harry its time!” The hammer in hand goes flying, no memory of actually getting off the roof, and the excited couple get in the car to take the 2 hour drive to Eau Clare, Wisconsin.
In another scenario, a 16-year-old girl gives birth to a little boy. In an amazing, wise and powerful decision, the young girl gives her boy to a couple desiring a family. But that’s the part of the story we don’t see.
Kevin around 6 months old
Can you imagine for a moment what is going thru the minds of these two people: 10 years of trying to have biological children, the complications, the tears and questions and now a tiny little baby in the arms of the 2 greatest people so excited to start the next chapter of life.
Let’s go forward 6 or 7 years. The boy and his dad are sitting in an aluminum boat in the middle of Big Round Lake in Hayward, Wisconsin. Dad wearing his fishing hat, baiting the hook for the little boy, the boy I’m sure messing around playing with the water or letting the leaches stick to his fingers. The dad looks at the boy and begins serious yet easy conversation about birth: Dad: ‘Kevin, your mom and I love you so much, but mom did not actually give birth to you, we adopted you when you were one month old.’ The boy: ‘ok dad, you’re still my mom and dad right?’
That moment on the boat back in the early 80’s was a pivotal moment. A much-needed moment and as I look back on that one memory, it was the easiest conversation about adoption I ever had. I knew I was loved, cared for and cherished. At that moment I knew I was my father’s son.
Moving forward again to September of 1994, I was driving from my town of Wisconsin Rapids to Appleton with a good friend to get the oil changed in her car. (yes a small detail that didn’t make sense to me even then). As my friend and I drove all the back roads, I began to notice all the huge trees across the central Wisconsin landscape. I remember thinking that these trees are like old farm-house trees, which made me think of my mom. My mom, who grew up on a 3rd generation family farm in eastern Minnesota, has a blood line that is deep in tradition, family and togetherness. I realized at that moment that all these trees are part of her heritage but they were not part of my blood. It was the first time I had ever realized that my blood was different from my parents. As my friend and I drove through the country side, huge hot tears began to soak my cheeks and shirt. For the first time I really began to think about adoption, put together the pieces ask some tough questions and look my mom and dad in the eyes and figure out who they really were.
That was 18 years ago.
As I sit here typing and thinking, the big hot tears rolling down my cheeks, I can’t help imagine that day on October 12, 1968 when 2 great people started a life journey together, looking forward to building their family, little did they know what part adoption would play in their life and life with me, who now bares their name.
Kevin and his daughter
Adoption plays out so differently in many of the people I’ve talked to, but I’ve realized something too…blood doesn’t always mean family, I am safe in my family, my family gives me my name, I am free to doubt my parents love, I am free to ask questions, I’m free to wonder if I have other blood siblings (of whom I am still the older brother), and most of all I am free to embrace who I am, my name, my heritage, my lineage, my mom and dad. Growing up everyone used to tell me that I look just like my mom or “you look like your dad.” When people would say that, we would just look at each other and smile. The truth is, I am the son of Harry and Kathy Troyanek. We look-alike because I have taken on their characteristics, why because I’m their son, because they’re my parents.