Guest post written by Darrick Rizzo of TheOpenAdoption.com
My name is Darrick Rizzo and I am a birth father.
It seems like people aren’t used to hearing men like me. I’m not exactly sure why that it is. Maybe it’s because many birth fathers are afraid to try to stay in the lives of their children given up for adoption, convinced by society that the “best” thing for them to do is forget about that child. Some of them might find the effort required to stay a part of their children’s lives is too hard. Others may feel the stigma of being written off as nothing more than a sperm donor. I am here to be the one that encourages other men to persevere in maintaining relationships with their children placed for adoption. I want to emerge as the voice that speaks out for this unheard from and often disrespected population: the involved, dedicated birthfather.
When I was a young college student, I was faced with a dilemma faced by many young men: an unexpected pregnancy. I was ready to put my plans on hold to raise my son but unfortunately was persuaded into placing him. Unhappy with the prospect of never knowing him, I was convinced that an open adoption would be the best-case scenario: a stable, loving family would raise my son and I would still be a part of his life.
My seventeen-year journey with open adoption hasn’t always been easy. My strong faith in God and my unwavering commitment to be a part of my son’s life helped me through the at times dramatic ups and downs of this journey. I have never regretted my choice to stay dedicated to being a part of my son’s life. Just because I made the decision to let another family raise him doesn’t mean I ever wanted to lose him completely.
I’ve noticed that the public seems to love a good adoption story, whether it’s a story of a couple traveling to another country to meet their child or of an adult adoptee reconnecting with their birth family. They read with bated breath the stories told by birthmothers, crying along to stories of heart-wrenching goodbyes or inspiring reunions.
But the birth fathers remain unheard from—until now. My book, The Open Adoption: A Birth Father’s Journey (to be published in 2014) will tell my story in its entirety. It will include a foreword written by Michael Oher, the subject of the inspiring movie “The Blind Side.”
I’m Darrick Rizzo and I am a birth father who is going to be heard.
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