I'm often tempted to stop writing all together. I often feel I don't have much left to say. Naturally I haven't said everything there is that can be said about adoption, first families, male roles in adoption, et cetera. There will always be more to add, just as there are new birth fathers every day. The story doesn't stop until humanity does.
But one can encounter a point of diminishing returns. After a while it seems there is only so much I have left to say. Other men have their own stories to tell, their own perspectives to help illuminate the shadowy corridors wherein first fathers so often disappear. When I stop these men will continue the good fight and keep talking about their experiences. The torch will be passed.
Except that it won't. When I stop writing, no one is writing. When I stop telling my story, sharing my perspective, silence is left, ignorance flourishes.
What's a man to do but continue to slog forward?
As you've probably noticed, I'm participating in the 2011 Adoption Interview Project. I have learned from Heather, the wonderful woman organizing it, that I'm the only birthfather participating. There are over 120 bloggers signed up. That's where I found the inspiration to continue, to take this a bit more seriously again. That's where I came across the magic number.
Among a community built around open adoption, sharing our stories, finding commonality, and demystifying adoption I represent 0.83% of the Adoption Interview participants. Taken to a larger context it gets downright silly. To the best of my knowledge I am one of two English speaking birthfathers to have publicly written about that experience. As far as I know I'm the only one keeping an (admittedly sporadic) active blog. Let's be generous and only look at the USA. If I am, in fact, the only English first father blogger in the United states, that means I'm one in approximately 512 million.
0.00000000319% of the population.
Keep in mind that there is a birthfather for every child placed in an adoption.
There were 57,466 adoptions in the United States in 2009 that involved public agencies. That number does not reflect private adoption agencies nor adoptions that took place without agency aid.
Let us assume that some of these children are born to the same men, and also that some men's children are not accounted for in that number. For the sake of argument let's call it 55,000 babies were born to new birthfathers in 2009. I have a hunch that's a very low number, but I'm hedging my bets here to avoid sounding inflammatory. If this math actually works out it leaves me with one question, a question that only gets more staggering the longer I think about it:
Where are the other 54,999 men of 2009? Where are the 55,000 men from 2010? Where are the half million men from the early 2000s?
Over the course of generations we're looking at the strong possibility of several million birthfathers in America. I know I'm not the only one.