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Father and Parent: Often Two Very Different Things

Copy (1) of Dad and Regina 11-05

I have two fathers. One was my biological father who got my 13 year old mother pregnant. She gave me up for adoption then out of guilt married him and they had four more children.  I met him once along with my biological mother, brothers and sisters.  It was not a pleasant experience. He was a gruff man who I later learned frequently threatened the children with a gun and was often physical and verbally violent.

My other father is the man who raised me. Jean and Reagan Cates could not have biological children but they badly wanted little ones to share life with. So they adopted my sister, Rachel, and me.

I remember when mom told me. I was about five years old and we were sitting on the kitchen floor in our little house on Mistletoe Street in Victoria, Texas. She said I was deeply wanted and loved. So much so that she flew all the way from Victoria to Plainview, Texas to get me. I don’t think there was a time in life when I did not feel like their child just because we lacked a biological connection. LOVE is not conditional. That is a lesson Jean and Reagan began teaching me at three days old when they gave me a home.

Very early in life I learned anyone can father a child. But not everyone can parent to raise a child so they feel loved, appreciated, respected and worthy as an individual and as a woman.

Although my dad, Reagan, is far from perfect just as I am not, he was and remains at the age of 94 a man who chose to learn how to be an excellent father.  I am honored to have been adopted by him and I am honored he is still alive for me to tell him how much I appreciate him.