Celebrating Father's Day With Non-Biological Dads

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."
- Anne Sexton

On Father's Day, we honor the men who mean the most to us. In many cases, that's Dad, but it could also be an uncle or grandfather who has influenced our lives. For some families, the man of the hour may be an adoptive father, two dads or another strong male role model. Father's Day is the best time to thank the men in your life for their love and support, whether through Father's Day gifts or a heartfelt gesture of gratitude.

Adoptive families

Kids with adoptive fathers usually spend Father's Day just like anyone else - spending time hanging out with Dad and giving him Father's Day gifts that probably include something handmade, or the traditional tie. Sometimes we forget that becoming an adoptive father is a significant emotional experience for a man. On Father's Day, take some time to thank Dad for giving you a safe and loving home and helping you become the person you are.

Father's Day may also be a time for people with adoptive fathers to think about their birth families. If you have an open relationship with your birth father, it could be awkward choosing who to spend the day with. If you're looking for Father's Day ideas, consider keeping the traditional day for your adoptive father and having your own Birth Father's Day the second or fourth Sunday in June. Look for Father's Day gifts that reflect the bond you share with both your dads.

Those who don't have relationships with their birth fathers can take this time to reflect. Growing up not knowing about your birth father can take a toll on you emotionally. On Father's Day, take a quiet moment to write out all the questions you have about your birth father. Address your feelings and let yourself be angry, sad or indifferent that he's not involved in your life. Then, focus on the positive. Reflect on the wonderful things your adoptive father has done for you and think about the "what dids" instead of the "what ifs."

Gay families

Gay men who decide to start a family together face major challenges. Depending on where they live, it can be next to impossible to gain custody of a child. On Father's Day, be sure to thank your dads for their courage in building your family. Talk about the challenges they faced and the things you can do as a family to make it easier for other dads to adopt or get custody of their children.

For a fun Father's Day idea why not to invite other families like yours to celebrate Father's Day together? Throw a big celebration at a picnic site or have everyone over to your home to share their stories and triumphs. Some gay and lesbian families choose to celebrate Family Day instead of the traditional Father's or Mother's Day. Family Day is an unofficial holiday that celebrates non-traditional families. Different cities hold Family Day at different times of the year, so check with local groups to find out when your local celebration is - or to start one yourself!

Other father figures

On Father's Day, why not celebrate all of the father figures in your life? Your Father's Day ideas can encompass uncles, grandfathers, foster fathers and any other men who have had a major influence on your life. Sometimes, sharing our emotions with the men in our lives can be awkward for both them and us. If you want to tell the man in your life how much you appreciate everything he's done, don't just rely on humor to make it more comfortable. Send a handwritten letter that explains how important he is to you. It's something he's sure to appreciate.

No two families are the same and each one has its own unique set of challenges. When you're looking for Father's Day ideas, focus on your relationship with your dad and find a personal way to thank him for everything he's done. Father's Day is the best time to recognize any important man in your life.

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