Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Magic Number

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.



  1. Thank you for writing and sharing your perspective. Please keep at it.

  2. Well, the two birth fathers that you know are the two that I know about as well. Thanks for coming back every once in a while. I always appreciate your point of view.

  3. As you might suspect, I've searched the net from time to time looking for a father's perspective. I find next to nothing and often wonder why there isn't more men writing. I value what you offer here on your blog and also hope you continue to write. Very much looking forward to reading your interview!

  4. Please keep writing! You have taught me so much and although there may not be other birth fathers writing, I truly believe and hope that many birth fathers are reading. You are leaving a door open and starting conversations that need to be had. I think your blog is so very important and I will continue to read and continue to learn from you. We all need to find better ways to start including birth fathers in this adoption discussion.

  5. It makes me really sad that it's so lonely for first fathers. I think you are a blogging trail blazer, and for the sake of others who will follow you (and for all of us who learn so much from you), I hope you'll keep at it.

  6. Yes, please continue. Where else can I get good statistics? Nowhere but here. As far as I can tell it's a dad thing. Also, consider how much 'louder' your online voice is when compared to the birthmother bloggers out there, by the numbers. Be a force for good. We'll keep reading.

  7. As someone who just discovered your blog, your voice is important. Even if it's a broken record. People don't read closed blogs, going back to the beginning to get the story. I thirst after birth fathers' perspectives. Thanks for standing up.

  8. I dont know the answer. I wish I did. I'm a birthmom, and it is a defining piece of my being. I dont know how my son's birthfather can simply go on without another thought. I know from mutual friends that he is married now with other children, and I often wonder if he thinks about our son, or if he wants to have the kind of open relationship that I was able to forge with his parents. The only contact we've had in the last 7 years or so has been him berating me via email for the fact that I am able to see our son. So he must want it, but he doesnt try. They have not heard from him in close to 5 years, even though he has all their information. I dont know, and I suppose I never will know. I'm so happy I found this blog, and I am so glad you are willing to share your feelings on the subject. Thank you.


What do you think? I'm curious.