As I sit here, thinking about Father’s Day BBQs and get-togethers with my Dad and family, I find myself amazed at how fast life truly passes. With a neverending corporate work schedule and lifestyle, it feels like I’ve spent my whole life looking for something BIG, when after all that time searching, something LITTLE actually found me.

It was October 3, 2015 when my wife and I got the unforgettable call from Dawn about the birth of a baby girl, and a birth mother who wanted to meet us. It was like a moment frozen in time. We arrived at the hospital — after driving through the night — with anticipation, nerves, hope and an indelible feeling of comfort and peace as we made our way to the maternity ward to meet this brave young mother. After a short, emotional meeting, and what seemed like an instant connection — which we still have today — she said these simple words, which I will never forget: “Would you like to meet your daughter?” It was those couple of words, and after an introduction to the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen, my life was changed forever. It was at that moment that I looked back at everything I had worked so hard for, and all the things in life that I thought were important, that I realized for the first time that I needed to stop trying to “change the world” and for once just let the world change me — and it did. I never would‘ve guessed that an 8lb 10oz beauty named Clara Rose could have made such an impact on our lives, and how much her presence would strengthen our Family, Faith and our Future.

Turn ahead a few chapters in our “Family Story”. After recovering from an action-packed Christmas and New Year’s, on January 4,  2018, we got another surprise call from Dawn about a baby boy in the NICU who really needed a loving family and home. As with Clara Rose, we rushed home from work, gathered our thoughts and a few things and immediately made the journey to the hospital to meet this little fighter. After making some “remarkable” progress in the NICU, we left the Southern California hospital just a few days later with our first baby boy named Colton Gabriel.

It has been close to four years since we received that first call from Dawn, and as hectic as we thought life was before, that was nothing compared to life these days. I learn from my children every day. They teach me about the simple pleasures in life — about enjoying every experience (no matter how small), about love and remembering to laugh, about forgiveness and Faith, about wanting to be a better Dad, Husband, Son and Man, and to truly appreciate the Blessings that we have been given. Having them in my life has given me a sense of purpose and responsibility that I had never experienced, and they continue to show me (in their own ways) unconditional love and support and remind me that it is never about making mistakes, doing the wrong thing or about falling, but more about learning, growing and how to get back up again.

Now I can truly look back at all the Father’s Days in the past and finally understand that it was never about the hot dogs, tri tips, camping and baseball games. It was all about being a Family, spending time surrounded by the ones you love, and most importantly, just being Dad.

I get asked sometimes how it feels to be a dad, and if it feels “different” being an adopted father. All I can say is that being a dad to these two is the best feeling in the world, and I would never trade any of the memories that this experience has brought me. And as far as if it feels different…Yes, in a way. . It doesn’t take biology to make me a father, and I couldn’t, and wouldn’t love my children anymore (or any less) if they were “biologically” mine. I am honored to be part of an adoptive family, and I’m proud to share our family story. Thanks to Little Angel, adoption has helped complete and enrich our lives, and the lives of our friends and extended family.

I wish all the many amazing fathers (like my own) out there a Happy Father’s Day!