"The Force will be with you... always." -- Obi-Wan Konobi
I was talking to other adoptee friends of mine who are in reunion with their birth fathers and realized that birth fathers as a whole are invisible. And once found, if they are decent men, they have a hard time coming out of that invisibility, because they feel guilty for not being there for us in the beginning of our lives. They feel like failures or ashamed for not supporting us financially, emotionally and otherwise.
The media has always glamorized the idea of adoption but alongside that comes the stigma of being a “bastard” for not knowing who your father is and/or being abandoned by your biological father. Society has many ways to band-aid the problem of being a bastard (adoption, step-parents, and mentoring uncles or grandfathers), but the reality is there are many of us walking around as adults still not knowing the men who created us.
I found this conversation from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, when Princess Leia realizes she is Darth Vader’s daughter:
On a footbridge in the Ewoks village:
LEIA Luke, tell me. What's troubling you?
LUKE Vader is here...now, on this moon.
LEIA (alarmed) How do you know?
LUKE I felt his presence. He's come for me. He can feel when I'm near. That's why I have to go. (facing her) As long as I stay, I'm endangering the group and our mission here. (beat) I have to face him.
Leia is distraught, confused.
Luke moves close and his manner is gentle. And very calm.
LUKE He's my father.
LEIA Your father?
LUKE There's more. It won't be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I don't make it back, you're the only hope for the Alliance.
Leia is very disturbed by this. She moves away, as if to deny it.
LEIA Luke, don't talk that way. You have a power I--I don't understand and could never have.
LUKE You're wrong, Leia. You have that power too. In time you'll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it...I have it...and...my sister has it.
Leia stares into his eyes. What she sees there frightens her. But she doesn't draw away. She begins to understand.
LUKE Yes. It's you Leia.
LEIA I know. Somehow...I've always known.
How I watched this series without ever realizing Darth Vader was Leia’s father is a mystery to me; however, I am living with the same predicament. I have been told my father is Darth Vader (no not literally, but figuratively).
I was not “worthy” or “kept” because of who my father was. He was a nobody to my birth mother. Or he was a somebody so big that she cannot speak of it to this day. He was probably handsome, but she describes him in ugly terms. He probably came from a decent family, but she describes him as a criminal. Whoever he is, he is half of me and I am half of him.
I know many people could care less about family trees, “sperm donors” and deadbeat dads because they love the man who was there for them, biology or not. But to me, that is a whole other issue unrelated to WHO the man is. There is a difference between knowledge and relationship.
Why do I want to know who my father is when I had another father?
My human adoptive father failed me as a parent. Even so, I don’t expect my biological parent to replace him. At middle age, I don’t need a father so much as I need to be loved and embraced by “my people”. My people, for the most part, encompass the chosen people in my life that I allow into my circle. I don’t really “need” more people in my circle; however if my father were a good man, and he had a loving family who embraced me, I would embrace them. Otherwise, I would embrace information, knowledge, a culture, food, history and knowing myself in a deeper way.
Why do you want to know somebody who didn’t fight for you or support you?
Because I carry half of his dna. He carries my son’s dark eyes, my heritage that has been lost to me up until this point in my life. He carries stories of his own birth, upbringing and tales of the Depression that many older folks tell. He could potentially fill me in where the Native American ancestors met with those leaving Spain and arriving in America. He has my family medical history. I can learn of the difficulties he experienced as a minority in this society and show me a whole culture I missed out on growing up white. He personally does not need to do any of these things, but knowledge of who he is, will provide me with the opportunity to learn new things about myself and the missing people from my family.
I don’t know he didn’t fight for me. I don’t know that his mother (my grandmother) didn’t want me. I don’t know anything because one person who carried me in her womb, does not want me to know.
I will never stop searching. The Force is with me and always will be.