Happy Father’s Day to my Dad. Thanks for locking the doors. #adoptionisbeautiful


I was adopted when I was 6 weeks old. I don’t have a frame of reference of life without my adoptive parents. I spent my first 6 weeks in foster care, which is like the prologue to the story of my life. A prologue sets the story, gives the background. It’s not THE story, but explains WHY the story occurred. Mine’s a little vague. It’s strange to think I started my life off with strangers. That people who I don’t even know, were the first ones to care for me as a helpless baby. It’s a mysterious start but one that I am incredibly grateful for. I like to think I was the most beautiful baby that foster family had ever seen, and that they still talk fondly about me, “Remember that one sweet baby all those years ago? Wasn’t she the most adorable child we ever had in our home?” (Adoptive children have wonderful imaginations!)

When you are adopted, in the absence of your birth story, which you don’t really know – your adoption story becomes really significant.  You want to hear it over and over again. Those chapters become really important and they form your identity, in a world where you are not really sure what your identity should be. My favourite story is one that my dad tells about the day that I came into their family. After he and my mom picked me up at the hospital, they took me out to the car. They got in and he said to my mom, “Lock the doors, no one is going to take her away.” As I write that, it gives me tears in my eyes.  I can imagine my wonderful parents, so young starting their family. Driving to the hospital with nervous anticipation and excitement. Then they saw me. They picked me up in their arms. And right away they declared I was theirs.

“No one is going to take her away”

Prologue ends, Chapter One begins. I feel like those words set the tone of my relationship with my dad. Those words have brought healing to my heart that has struggled so often with being given away.

It’s Father’s Day weekend, and all week I was trying to write a perfect Father’s Day blog. I was struggling. I didn’t want to write about ties or gifts that you could get your dad. I started to think about how I could describe my relationship with my dad and I remembered those words that he said, in the early chapters of my life. And I thought about how over the years,  he has always been there for me in so many way.

I had a biological father who walked away. But God gave me an earthly father to redeem what was lost.

My dad told the “car-lock” story on my wedding day, as he blessed my marriage – and “gave me away.” But, I’m still my dad’s girl.

When you are an adopted child you struggle with belonging. You long to know, even as an adult that you are part of the family. That you are significant. That you are valued liked everyone else. No matter how much you are loved, the emotions run deep.  Feelings of rejection can rise quickly, no matter how much you have grown and how much you have healed.

I can still say, I know my dad loves me now as much as he did the day he locked the doors on that car. I’m a grown up, happily married, mother of 2 teenagers yet I need my dad’s love now as much as I did the day he and my mom picked me up from the hospital.

“No one is going to take her away”

Today as I write this, my dad is at my house. For the 3rd day in the last week. He’s there putting in a deck in our backyard and it’s just another example of how he has given so much to me over my life. It would take me pages to write about all the ways he has supported me and encouraged me. He’s not an over-emotional man, but he shows his love by the way he serves his family. And he serves us all so well.

Happy Father’s Day Dad

I love you!

Thank you for locking those doors.

Thanks for choosing me.

Thanks for letting me go.

But never letting me go.

And for being a main character in the story of my life.




12 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day to my Dad. Thanks for locking the doors. #adoptionisbeautiful”

  1. Even though I know this story….still choked me up! I agree, your dad is amazing and loving and accepting and generous. He has proven to be a great example to me of what an earthly father & husband should be, not having had a very positive example in the early chapters of my life. I am blessed to be part of your family….to call YOU family and especially to have your influence in my kids’ lives.
    Love you lots,


  2. Hi Shelly…I had to make a few attempts at reading your blog “Thanks for Locking the Doors” before I could finally reach the end. That was because a flood of tears kept blurring my vision; however, Shelly, my vision of you is distinctively clear. The day that your Mom and Dad brought the newest member of the Smith family to visit for the very first time is imprinted vividly in my mind. Your Dad managed to unlock the car door at our house, because he knew you were in good hands and that you were part of a wonderful family! The first time I saw you, I fell completely in love with you and your beautiful face and big bright eyes.

    I started my working career at the Come By Chance Refinery around the time that you were born. I made a little piggy bank, and I saved all my loose change in that bank for the very special little girlie who had been brought into our lives! Of all the places I could have travelled in this world for my very first work vacation, (and I might add – my very first plane ride) was to Churchill Falls to see my little Shelly! My home made piggy bank travelled with me on its way to its new owner! Memories are so special!

    A few years later came my wedding day, and I was privileged with the most beautiful Flower Girl in the whole wide world! Shelly, during the ceremony, you were standing next to me dressed in your beautiful attire and holding your flower basket. When I looked down at you, tears were flowing down your sweet little face, yet you weren’t making a sound. I immediately paused for a moment and gave you a gentle hug and asked you why you were crying. Do you remember what you told me? You said you were sad that I was leaving Gramma Smith’s house, and that she would be lonely. It wasn’t until you were all grown that you told me the real reason you were so sad. You finally admitted that you wanted to carry the rings and not the flower basket…if I had only known!

    Moving on – years later – Gramma Smith and I boarded a plane headed for Ontario to celebrate your wedding day with you. I just had to see my little flower girl beautifully adorned in her very own wedding dress! To witness the outpouring of love and adoration to you by all your family and friends on your wedding day was wondrous!

    Well, that’s my walk down memory lane today, and I just want to thank you for being you. You are a true inspiration!

    I am including a few very powerful words as follows:

    …”Both those who adopt and those who are adopted are receiving a tremendous blessing, a privilege exemplified by our adoption into God’s family.”

    I Love You, Shelly!


    1. Oh now you made me cry with all the beautiful things you said. I love you so much – so many precious memories of my childhood, so glad God gave me to such a wonderful family! xoxoxo Flower girl/Bride bond is forever!


  3. Shelly, what a story so beautifully written. I believe I first saw you when you were five years old – you were then, and always have been – a very special person. God saw you before you were born and formed you perfectly. He ordained that you be here and belong to your very special parents … they were waiting for you. One day in heaven, everything we wondered about will actually not matter anymore, Jesus Himself will be our focus for all of eternity. Until then, keep laying up treasures in heaven. You are loved …


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