I’m From Old Orchard Beach, ME.

by brian tessier

There are only two things I ever wanted to be in this life, a husband and a father. Now, imagine watching men run for the next county when you tell them. To shorten a very long story, I decided to become a father as becoming a husband was proving much more difficult. I was beginning to think I had a better chance at pregnancy. So after a period of interviews and navigation through the complex legal and emotional process I got a call on the day before Thanksgiving 2004, telling me that there was a little boy who was two years old.

So begins the saga: In the initial visit with my son, I witnessed a child who was bright, smiled, yelled, stomped his feet and screamed. It was not that he could not talk, he would not talk. He had his own language, created in his mind to get his needs satisfied as a result of them not being met prior. I was told that he could only say 7 words, all in Spanish. I went to a corner on this initial visit and sat there with a book and a stuffed bear and waited. Ever so slowly, he approached me, would touch me and run away and giggle. Eventually, he sat in my lap and looked at me for a while, with his social worker, the foster mother and my adoption worker looking on he put his hand on my face and said “daddy.” This was not one of the words that he knew and it was not in Spanish…so it began.

We finalized the adoption in July of 2005, after paternity leave, teaching him to speak, potty training (I would gladly take any bar exam again to never have to potty train again) where he would sit on the toilet and sing and practice his words when he thought I was out of ear shot. I sat around the corner from the bathroom and cried as I listened to his words, imagination and person come alive. Now, we are deep in the threes and he talks constantly, questions everything and wakes each morning with “Love you, Daddy” and leaves me each night with what we call a “forever” hug, as he knows I will be his daddy forever. Every night my son picks a book to read. Recently he asked for a book with a mommy in it. You are never quite prepared to answer certain questions and despite all my best efforts to be as prepared as possible to counter the mind of a toddler, I am inevitably stumped at times.

We found a book with a mommy in it and climbed into his big boy bed to read. Once in bed, he asked me if he would have a mommy. With a lump in my throat and holding back tears, I stated that there are families out there who have mommies, daddies, and all various combinations but a family is about all the people who love you. My son started to recite all of the people who are in and who touch both his and my life…the list is rather long but I let him go on. He finished with, “All people.”

“Yes, all people,” I said. “Love me,” he said. “My family,” he stated. I held my son against my chest and he gave me a forever hug. I cried as I heard, “Love you daddy.”

I am sure this is not the last time I will be asked about this issue, but never did I think I would be asked about it at three. Knowing my son, had I not satisfied his need for an answer he would have pressed me for a better answer. However, in his mind his family is all the people who love him. There is much to be learned from children, I learn daily and for that I am thankful.

6 Comments:

  1. This made me weep. Thank you, and congratulations on finding each other.

  2. I applaud you for becoming a parent, congratulations. This was such a beautiful story; it brought tears to my eyes. I have printed this out to share with my daughter who is 9 years old and I know she will share this lovely story with her younger sister, too.

  3. Wow, your story is so inspiring for all those same sex couples who would like to have children too. You make it sound like a true completion of life to have somebody like your son close to your heart in such a profound and emotionally climatic way. And I know how lucky your son is by having at his side “forever” :). And though he may question his specific family dynamic, it seems to me that most three year olds question everything, but even though his family isn’t conventional I do not doubt that you are truly the best thing for him. And no doubt him for you. Starting a family isn’t easy but i think you have definitely allowed me to consider the possibility for myself for one day in the future. Thank you for the inspiration. love simeon. :)

  4. John W. McLaughlin

    Thank you for this, Brian. I find both you and your son beyond inspiring. It brings tears of joy knowing your son will never have to make up his own language ever again to get his needs met. He is clearly surrounded by the abundant love of a real family. I send a big forever hug to both of you.

    (I am originally from Northern Maine and was immediately compelled to read your story, simply based on the fact that you are from Maine. :)

  5. Wow….cut from the same cloth, we are. Your story brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes…..Isn’t that all a daddy ever wants to hear, “Love you, daddy”?

  6. Thanks for the comments, I am so happy to see this posted here. The one additional thing to add is that No person should ever be denied the right to create a family, to have a child and to be a parent if that is what they truly want!

    Brian J. Tessier
    Old Orchard Beach Maine
    President-www.wehearthechildren.org

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