In 2012, I paid a lawyer $1,500 for my daughter’s biological father to terminate his rights.
I paid $1,500 for him to never have to pay child support again.
And I have no regrets.
I was 23 years old, single and had just welcomed my beautiful baby girl into the world, surrounded by my friends and family — everyone but her biological father. Some may think that sounds sad, and I guess in some regard, it was, but when they laid that baby on my chest, sadness was on the other end of the spectrum of what I was feeling.
I knew from the moment that I realized that I was pregnant, that he wouldn’t be involved and I was okay with that. I may have been foolish in my decision to get involved with him, but once I got his number — I was done. There wasn’t even the slightest desire to reconcile.
I knew that he didn’t want a baby. I knew that he wouldn’t want to help, and I was not about to force him to do so. So, I went about my life and pregnancy, and gave birth with my best friend in the delivery room.
When she was a month old, he reached out to me; he told me that she needed a dad — that he wanted to be in her life. I cooperated fully during the entire week that he “wanted to be a dad” and at the end of the week, when he asked me, “What does she need $75 a week for right now, anyway?” I didn’t argue with him.
I cooperated fully when he told me he wanted to sign his rights away the next day.
The decision to do so, was met with some opposition from my family, and understandably so. As a young, single mom, was it really in the best interest for my baby?
I thought so.
My gut thought so.
My heart thought so.
The court system thought so, too.
To me, being a parent is clear. You’re either in, or you’re out. You do not get to stand in the doorway. You do not get to be flaky or unreliable or indecisive. You do not put yourself or a new love interest first. You do not compare dollars to the worthiness of being a father.
I told myself that, if he can make the decision to walk away, with no hesitation, then I will let him. It was always my argument that if he was capable of not just signing those papers, then he did not need to be in my daughter’s life.
After he signed, he had 20 days to change his mind. And he didn’t.
I took a leap of faith when I signed those papers.
I made a promise to her that I would do better; that I wouldn’t be the gullible pushover that I had previously become; that I would take on the role as both mom and dad, in hopes that, someday, someone amazing would come along.
Because he was simply not good enough for her.
My daughter deserves better.
My daughter deserves a father who wants to be in her life; a father who doesn’t mind spending his money on her; a father who will show her what it means to be a man and how a man treats someone he loves.
And because her biological father walked away, she got that and so much more.
She got a father who chose to love her as his own; a father who paid $1,500 to adopt her, so that she would grow up with the same last name as our other children; a father who plays with her, buys her 4-wheelers and dirt bikes; a father who gave her his last name, lots of his hard-earned dollars and even more of his time.
This summer, he taught her how to ride a bike and a 4-wheeler and he taught her all about our garden. Every morning, they would go out and pick the garden together. She was so delighted to show me their haul every day.
Her daddy is a funny, 6’8” jungle gym. She loves for him to pick her up and let her touch the ceiling. It’s not unusual for me to find her tucked away on top of our kitchen cabinets “hiding” after daddy gave her a boost.
I watch them play. I watch her laugh. I watch her as she’s inherited some of his mannerisms and it makes my heart so full, because this is not a sad story.
It’s a story about having faith; it’s a story about trusting God; it’s a story about finding, “the one.”
“Whose girl are you?” He’ll say.
And she always responds with “Daddy’s!!!”
And that, my friends, sits well with my soul.