It’s less important for a daughter to know her father than it is for a son. That is not true.
Research suggests that fathers are enormously important to a young woman’s development and when the father is missing, for whatever the reason, women suffer in their relationships with men.
All too often women are not even aware that not having a loving relationship with their own father is affecting them in any way. You’re smart, you get good grades in school, you’re an achiever, you’re well-behaved, you’re a nice girl. You have a nice family—a stepdad whom you call “dad.” Nobody sees this as a problem—you don’t see it’s a problem.
Or maybe you’re adopted and the only family you’ve known is your loving, Christian adopted family. Only there’s a slightly nagging feeling, in spite of loving people trying to reassure you otherwise, that “you’re not good enough—you were a mistake.”
There was a storyline on the first season of the daytime television show, Starting Over, where a woman in her 30s was searching for the father she had never met. During the second season, another woman, barely 20, arrived in a state of denial that her biological father was anybody she needed to know. Both women ended up meeting their father and starting some sort of relationship with him. It was interesting that the one who had denied the most had also gained the most. In addition to these 2 women, most of the women in the house were having problems because they didn’t know their father or had other father issues.
Since I had just met my father in 2002, their stories and other stories of adopted children seeking their birth mother or father really hit home and I realized I was not alone. Because once I met my biological father, I knew then just how important it was to know him. And it changed my life. Because the biggest loss of not knowing my father was not knowing myself and only when I finally met my father was I able to put some of the pieces together. And that was key to starting me on the path to following my childhood dream of pursuing a fiction writing career.
The wide range of emotions I felt prompted me to write Sherry Boyd’s story in Lies! Camera! Action! [note: this was my second manuscript and will never be published.] 🙂
In this story, Sherry doesn’t realize why she is having so many problems in her life, not only professionally but most importantly personally, with men. Only when she confronts her repressed feelings to look for her father, is she able to turn her life around.
In my next novel, Real Women Wear Red, Sandy Brown is forced to confront her feelings over being adopted and how not knowing either her birth mother or birth father affected her life. And then she has to make a choice: to accept or reject her birth mother. And what that feels like from the birth mother’s point of view.
In my work in progress, the story showcases 3 women and how not knowing their father affects them in 3 different ways: the serial monogamist, the commitment-phobe (3 broken engagements), and the one who avoids men altogether and finds comfort in women instead.
While I can’t prevent one more child from being separated from their birth mother or father, I can raise the awareness of what it means to a woman to not know her father, and, hopefully, encourage her to take a step towards finding and meeting him, if possible. It took me over 40 years to do it and my only regret is that I waited so long.