Jon is a brand new dad! He and his beautiful wife, Valery, just adopted their adorable son from Ethiopia! Jon loves sports, he is a marketing genius, and when spending time with him you can see just how much he loves his son. I’m so excited that he is sharing with us what his journey as a dad has been like so far!
What is your favorite thing about being a dad?
When Bronson just sits there, with his sweet glassy-eyed grin and I just know he’s taking me in and loving me. It’s overwhelming to feel such love from a child and at the same time, feel the same way toward him. Or, when I come home from work and he starts kicking and laughing, smiling and yelling Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! I can’t get enough!
What have you learned from your Dad that you want to teach your own kids?
The importance of putting family first and how he always made me feel valued, loved and important because he spent so much time with me. One of my favorite memories of growing up was when we had absolutely no money, but Dad and I had this tradition where we would go to Wendy’s and split a small, chocolate Frosty. I loved it so much and always looked forward to it. Only later in life did I realize that the reason we split a small was because of our financial situation. But, he still figured out how to make a small thing feel so big and special. If I can instill one thing from my Dad to my kids, it’s that spending quality time with the ones you love always come before money and career.
What is one of your funniest dad moments?
We’re still pretty new at this whole thing (only 3 months into it), but one of my funniest dad moments was in Ethiopia, and in the living room of the house that we were renting was this cool coffee table. I would crouch down on one side and hide from him (who was on the other side) and then slowly crawl around and then jump out and yell ‘Bronson!’. He would squeal and giggle and laugh so hard and go running to the couch that mommy was on and bury his head into the cushion… laughing the whole time. We’d repeat this time after time until he got tired, but daddy just couldn’t get enough. It was shortly after we had taken him from the care center, so to see him opening up like that and starting to show his personality was a priceless gift!
What words of advice would you give to parents considering adoption?
To go for it! Don’t let the concerns that creep in steer you away. Worrying about whether you’ll love them like your biological children, or whether they will have health or developmental issues, or thinking that they might not bond to you all fade away when you make the transition from being stranger to being father, in the truest and deepest sense. I simply can’t imagine loving another child more than I love Bronson. Just like with all multiple child families… the love for each child is not more or less, it’s just different. Adoption is no exception.
The journey is different than the biological journey, but each have their own unique story, both of which are equally amazing. I look at Bronson as he goes about his day and I feel like he’s always been mine and I’ve always been his. My world has become his world, and the bond we have is something that I will never be able to duplicate because it is ours. Adoption is a challenge, sure, but it’s such a blessing. So many children are out there with no family and no hope of a future. Adoption is truly the greatest thing that you can do for another person… and I believe the greatest thing that another person can do for you.
And for those who are planning their family who may possibly not be considering adoption, I challenge them to at least consider it. Do some research. Talk to other adoptive parents and see if it’s right for you. If not, that’s totally fair… just at least give it some serious thought because the need is real and the blessings you receive as a result are abundant!
What have you learned from Bronson?
Patience… well, I am trying to learn it, but some times are more difficult than others. But, when you see this little person, who is so full of life and joy and needs to be taught and guided into the man you want him to be, you learn that it won’t come immediately, but over time, he’ll learn how to live through you… it just takes time. Through Bronson, I’ve learned to let things slide, to relax and let a situation play out. Times when he’s most challenging are often the same times when something amazing is going to happen, if I learn to just breathe, relax and wait for the amazing moment to come. I think a lot of life is that way, and I see the parallels daily.
Have you or a friend adopted? Adoption is such a beautiful thing!