One year ago, I wrote an article about being adopted and expecting a child. Now I am a father. The past half a year has been full of innumerable diapers and bottle feeds and of learning about life, but most of all full of love.
Text: Chris Gullmans, published in Adoptioperheet 4/2022 magazine
I didn’t always dream about becoming a father. In fact, a large part of my life, until not too long ago, has been spent trying to figure out who this little orphan boy in an adult’s body was. Instead, my dreams of ever understanding if I was even supposed to be here were fading with each passing year, and, against my will, I was forced to mirror myself in those whose image wouldn’t fit me. And suddenly, I find myself with a child in my arms; a child so little, so helpless and whom many would have disregarded as worthy of this life, even before this little being had the chance to see the light of day.
When people think about becoming parents, they unintentionally— and maybe unwittingly—start planning out their child’s entire future before even having met them. I know I’m guilty of that. This level of idealising puts a huge amount of pressure not only on your child, but also on yourself, because the expectations are that you will be a parent to a “normal” child, who doesn’t stand out (at least not in a “bad” way), nor require you to let go of your own selfish hopes and dreams. Yet, it can never be written in stone what kind of child you will get, because they’re not you, and they have their own imperfections, strengths, and characteristics.
He’s teaching me every day that you don’t have to fit in or be “normal”
in order to be wanted and loved.
Enter Amadeus, whose chromosome count is likely greater than any of yours. Naturally, I didn’t dream of having a child with Down syndrome, but in many regards, this is exactly what I was meant to have—a child with a 98% probability of being aborted in Denmark.
In many ways, he is the first person in my life I feel that I can mirror myself against, as he’s teaching me every day that you don’t have to fit in or be “normal” in order to be wanted and loved. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t also teach him that he has the right to live and be part of this world.
He is my pride and joy, and not because I by default expect him to reach the stars (not saying he can’t), but because he is a celebration of life itself and all that it can be, with its multitude of happiness that money or fame could never buy. Indeed, this year alone has taught me more about life than all my previous 34 years combined. Factor in that there have also been three deaths (an uncle of mine and both of my wife’s parents) in our families this year, and you start to realise what life is all about: It’s not about whether or not you can become a billionaire, nor if you can scale Mount Everest; it’s about understanding that life is a miracle that can never be taken for granted.
Ultimately, understanding why I’m here unexpectedly came in the form of a very special little boy, who—during his first six months—has taught me that it’s not he (and I) who needs to change, but that it’s the world that needs to adapt. I may not always have dreamt about becoming a father, but in aspiring to make sure that the world will accept and love Amadeus for who he is, I have started dreaming of becoming the daddy he deserves.