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  • One of the reasons my birth mother chose to give me up for adoption was that she wanted me to have not just one parent but two.

    It's hard to talk about my experience as an adoptee without mentioning the immense role that my dad has played in my life. He's the kind of man that's a rock - always there when you need him and happy to lend a helping hand. He's the one who always talked of me going to college and having a career of my own. The one who always dreamed big for my life.

    He has always told me that when I was born I was the apple of his eye, the center of his universe. You can see in the early pictures how excited he was to suddenly be a new dad. With him, I would always have meaning, I would always be loved. He makes me feel safe.

    He has always made sacrifices for my mom and I - commuting an hour or more every day for work and taking every hour of overtime that he could. He works at a job where he rarely receives the credit he deserves; one that can be grueling after waking up at 4:30am every day. Because of his daily sacrifice and service, I have never doubted how much he loves me.

    Lisa also has a father like this. Her father worked many different jobs over the years and moved his family around a lot, trying to make their lives better. For many years he owned an auto detailing business, where he worked tirelessly. Today, he is fighting his way through prostate cancer that has metastasized to his spine and other parts of his body. Lisa and her mother believe the cancer may have been caused by the cleaning chemicals he was exposed to while working the garage.

    I was so glad to be able to meet Gene when I visited, because it was about a month after the diagnosis and the prognosis was not good. Out of the many family members I met while I was there, I felt an inherent connection to Gene. Lisa says that he was always asking about me - asking when she was going to get in touch and when he would get to meet me. It was a big moment, to say the least. I was almost taken aback by how comfortable I felt around him. Both my parents lost their dads before I was born, so the concept of a grandfather figure was a new experience for me. It's amazing to see how he is the cornerstone of the family.

    I don't think Lisa or I would be who we are today if it weren't for our fathers.
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