Who is fatherless? My definition is anybody with a missing dad, a step dad, an adopted dad, an unavailable dad, an abusive dad, or a deceased dad. And while I was in the category of being raised by a step dad and not meeting my father until I was in my 40s, my experience may help others, too.

So why didn’t I meet my father until I was in my 40s? Not only did all those involved decide I didn’t need to know my father, I also denied the importance of knowing him. After all, I had a family, including a mother, step dad, a brother and sister. While they were half-siblings, we all functioned as a family. But when I did acknowledge the rumblings of desire to find my father, I was afraid to upset the only family I had. Fear then ruled my life – until I turned 40.

Since then I not only found and met my father, but I have developed a loving relationship with him. So, what did I learn along the way? I learned there are a lot of myths that society accepts about the importance of fathers. And while my main pursuit was to pursue publication as a novelist, I felt compelled to write a nonfiction book about what I learned after I met my father. My book, Myths of the Fatherless, is the result.

I want to share with you 5 things I learned about the steps to healing I discovered along the way. Some of these steps may also help those who are adopted but instead of just needing to know your father, you also need to apply it to needing to know your mother, too. Here are the 5 steps to healing:

  1. Admitting that somewhere deep inside you is a need to know your father and/or mother.
    Truth has a way of making itself known and when you don’t honor it consciously, it’ll show up in your life in an unattractive, detrimental way.
  1. Learning about other people’s stories.
    There’s a real power in knowing that you’re not alone, that others have experienced the same thing, and to know how they dealt with it. Search for “fatherless” on the internet and you will find web sites, articles, blogs, books, and yahoo groups. In addition to hearing other people’s stories, you need to tell your story, too.
  1. Finding people who will support you in your search.
    You may be surprised to discover who is not supporting you in your search. You need to determine if it’s just out of their fear of losing you or something more. If it’s out of fear, you can take steps to reassure them. But some people do not have your best interests at heart, and you can’t allow them to deter you.
  1. Taking steps to begin your search.
    Here again, you should research your options. Can you do your own search – on the internet perhaps – or do you need a professional? I talk about my choice and the reason behind it in my book.
  1. Seeking to understand some of the pitfalls of searching for and reuniting with a missing father and/or mother.
    I almost messed it all up out of a lack of available knowledge, and I encourage you to tread carefully when you do proceed. Here again, you can do some research on the internet.

Recommended Reading

Myths of the Fatherless by Kathy Holmes

Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl? The Impact on Fatherlessness in the Black Community by Jonetta Rose Barras

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge