Dad David Freshwater gives his advice on being the dad to two little girls, how he manages sometimes hectic mornings and what he wants others to know about international adoption.
Name: David Freshwater
Kids: Alexis (3), Evelyn (2.5)
HFM: Tell us about your family.
DF: Leah and I have been married for 10+ years. We met in a calculus class in college (where all love blossoms). However, the early start time of our Calculus class hurt the growth of our love from Leah’s perspective, so we didn’t start dating until a couple years later when we had a summer job together. We got married right after I graduated and lived in a sorority dorm for the first year of marriage. Leah was the hall director while she finished her last year of school, which allowed us a free home with no bills and a little extra cash. That’s right, I got paid to live in a sorority house for my first year of marriage. We also provided strong educational opportunities to those kids. We moved to Houston, so I could attend law school and Leah could work as an engineer after she graduated. 7 years after marriage, we had our first baby girl, Alexis and 2 years later, adopted our daughter, Evelyn from China.
HFM: What made you guys decide to adopt?
DF: My sister had adopted a little boy from Ethiopia, which brought the need to our attention. Plus she did all the heavy lifting with our parents getting them on board with adoption. For me, it was clear after the birth of our own child. Knowing some kids out there didn’t have parents was tough to hear. Alexis had so many needs. How are those needs met for children without parents? I also distinctly recall reading a story of a little girl abandoned on the road in Afghanistan. Luckily, she was found and adopted but many are not so lucky. The story stuck with me and got me passionate about adopting.
HFM: What is it like being the dad of two little girls?
DF: It’s great, albeit a little hectic! There is all the stuff that I just genuinely don’t know how to do when it comes to girls and there is definitely some drama, but it’s been a fun experience. My girls are “all girl,” so there’s dress up and princesses and tea sets, which are all new to me, but can lead to some sweet moments. Just last night my daughters were watching “Beauty and the Beast.” When Belle and Beast danced at the end, Alexis looked at me and asked if I could do that with her, so I attempted to dance with her. The girls have become so close and have many of the same interests and that has been great to watch. I’ve also become well versed in Disney songs and other “girly” things.
HFM: How have you prepared?
DF: I prepared mainly by talking to my wife and then just winging it. I’m still winging it when it comes to things like matching clothes. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I am way off. There are times I take a more proactive approach. I get the girls ready each morning and them off at school each morning so my wife can get to work and get off early, which means I’m in charge of making sure 2 girls look appropriate to the public eye each day. I could NOT do their hair to save my life, so I finally just nipped it in the bud and bought a hair styling dummy to learn how to do ponytails and brush their hair. I’m still a work in progress but I’ve done much better. Still struggling with brushing out tangles though, my poor daughters..
HFM: What do you want other families to know about international adoption… maybe something you wish you would have known before getting started?
DF: It will feel like a lot of waiting. There is a lot of paper work, but even more waiting, and the waiting is harder than you even think it will be. You have some control over the timeline when you’re doing mountains of paper work, but then you just wait to be matched. Then worst of all, you see your child’s face and you know that they’re half a world away without anyone to love on them and you wait for adoption approval travel approval. If you know someone adopting internationally, love them hard during the waiting. If you’re adopting, find support groups for the waiting and for post adoption. I never realized the amount of support we would need and have been lucky to receive.
There’s such an incredible need both domestically and internationally. Don’t stress about where to adopt from. All children need families. Don’t worry about the money either. It will come and there are ways to receive grants and fundraising and tax returns. Your child is worth it all.
HFM: What else would you like us to know about your family?
DF: We are a zany bunch that’s really come together since the adoption. If anyone wants to read about our adoption process and the final trip check our family website: https://afreshfamily.wordpress.com/