The Father You Didn’t Have To Be

Holt adoptee and child sponsor Sally Feldmann shares a piece she wrote for her dad this year for Father’s Day. 

Sally with her dad, Dan.

Father’s Day is the one day of the year that is solely dedicated to recognizing the love and devotion that fathers around the country show their children. A father’s love is unending and one of the strongest forms that exists. But today, on this national holiday honoring fathers, I want to talk about one type of father in particular. The type of father who made the ultimate selfless and caring choice to step up and be a father for a child who did not have one.

My dad is the most spectacular human being in the world. Okay, I’m biased, but he really is. He is the hardest working and most loyal person you will ever meet. His family is his entire world and he would do anything to ensure our happiness. My father shares exactly zero chromosomes and zero physical characteristics with me. He is a blue-eyed, fair-complected Irishman who burns quicker than anyone I have ever met. I, on the other hand, am a dark-haired, tan-complected woman from South Korea who was dropped off at an orphanage when I was just a few days old. It’s an extraordinary thing that people like my parents exist in this world.

Sally with her dad, Dan, mom, Cathy, and brother, John.

You didn’t have to be a father. You were not a father of circumstance. You were a father by complete and 100% choice. You knew there were millions of children around the world who would call it a miracle to be loved by you. You knew that being a father is so much more than sharing genetics. You knew that a father is someone who commits to being present in their children’s lives. Someone who their children can trust inherently and turn to for guidance. A father is someone who always puts his children before himself and his own wants.

I have heard that many children who are adopted struggle with their adoption at some point during their lives. They wonder if they were placed for adoption because they weren’t good enough or smart enough or fill-in-the-blank. I, however, have been blessed with never having to question that. Ever. I was adopted into the most loving and inclusive family I could have ever hoped for. And I truly believe that my parents love me just as much, if not more, than parents of biological birth.

My parents prayed and waited for my brother and I for many, many years. They sacrificed everyday luxuries to afford adoption fees. They suffered through home visits and background checks and criticisms from others about why they were choosing to build their family in that manner. My parents are two of the strongest and most devoted people I know.

“You knew that being a father is so much more than sharing genetics. You knew that a father is someone who commits to being present in their children’s lives.”

Please don’t take this as an insult. Every good father deserves recognition on this wonderful day. But I would really like to thank my father, and the fathers around the world, who actively chose to be their children’s saving grace. The men who loved so deeply that they welcomed the children with no fathers with open arms and never looked back. This is for you and your unwavering love. It means the world to us.


Your thankful daughter

4 Replies to “The Father You Didn’t Have To Be”

  1. I was also adopted thru Holt sixty years ago. My adoptive parents have passed,
    and sometimes when life throws one of those sneaky curve balls at you or when you get a good case of the blues all I have to do is remember how incredibly lucky and blessed I am to have had the love of those amazing human beings. I will never be able to forget all their sacrifices and hope that I can measure up to their standards. In the end the love you give is the most important thing you leave. God bless all fathers and God bless Holt.

  2. Sally your beautifully written letter in honor of your Dad on Father’s Day made me cry. Your parents sound like amazing people who raised a beautiful and loving daughter. We are in the process of adopting and we will do our best to raise our child the way we were raised. My fiancé & I were also blessed with the best parents in the world! Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing what an amazing dad you have! Best wishes to you and your family!

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