Last night, I went to the local mall in search of Father’s Day cards. I found the card for my adoptive dad with ease. And then came the struggle. Finding a card for my natural dad.
Before you jump to conclusions, let me swiftly say that my relationship with my natural dad is progressing as expected. Not too fast, not too slow. Definitely not like my relationship with my natural mom, but that’s because she overwhelms my natural reservation about becoming attached to people.
No, the issue with finding a card for my natural dad isn’t because I’m dissatisfied with the relationship. It’s because the greeting card industry doesn’t think about situations like mine. So, when the very nice lady at the store asked, “Are you finding everything you need,” I found myself responding (very honestly) “Hallmark doesn’t make what I need.”
Because I can’t talk about how he’s always been there. And I can’t talk about memories from when I was a little girl. And I can’t say how lucky I am that he raised me. And I can’t say he’s always been my hero.
The cold, hard facts are that I don’t know him very well, though every discovery points to the fact that we are very similar. And I have approximately 8 hours of memories with him, not years and years worth. But that doesn’t change the other cold, hard fact – he’s my dad and I love him.
It’s not just difficult buying cards for him. I struggle every time I look for a card for my natural mom, my natural brothers, etc. etc. Despite living in a world where thousands upon thousands of people are adopted, the greeting card industry has yet to figure out that we need cards designed for our situations too. Perhaps that will be my next career – writing cards for adopted kids to give their natural family upon reuniting.
In the interim, I will search (and search) for cards that say something, without saying too much. And then I’ll write my own words to try to explain why the sentiment on the card is appropriate and legitimate.
Oh, and just so you know, I did find a good card – well, it’s good after my additions!
5 thoughts on “Adoption and the Greeting Card Industry”
You are right. Some of the most memorable and heartfelt cards I have ever received were homemade.
So right, I’m adopted and it’s the little idioms that really hit home. I totally understand where you’re coming from, things that folks with ‘normal’ parents just don’t realise!
Billy, have you reunited with your natural family?
I know what you mean. It’s so hard to find the right card, I usually buy a blank one and write my own message.
I totally agree. A card may come close but then mention growing up together or years or memories shared. They need to have at least a small section for appropriate cards for our new found parents, siblings ( sisters are the hardest 😀 ) Aunts and all.