In honor of Father’s Day, we asked adoptive dad Chad Williamson to share what being a dad really means to him. Chad shared his story with us of faith and growth as an adoptive father to his two young boys.
Chad and Courtney Williamson decided to look into adopting a child when they read an article from Courtney’s former university advocating adoption. “We thought this could be a good step in a way to be faithful to God,” Chad said. After attending several informational meetings, the Williamsons decided to take a step of faith and go through AGCI’s Ethiopia program. “It was a short list at the time. Tegegn was home within a year,” Chad said.
Chad soon discovered both the joys and the challenges of being a father. “When we went to Ethiopia to bring Tegegn home, it was an emotional experience. My wife and I were excited to meet our son for the first time and hold him tight in our arms. However, in reality he didn’t want much to do with us. Tegegn was running away, crying,” Chad said.
6-year-old Tegegn has now been home for 4 years and together, they have grown so much as a family. “In the beginning, there were a lot of difficulties with sleep and attachment,” Chad said. “But compared to where we are today—he is totally our son.”
The Williamsons brought their second son, Yoseph, home from Ethiopia two years after Tegegn settled in. While Courtney stayed home to care for Tegegn, Chad traveled back to Ethiopia to visit Yoseph for the court appearance. During his stay in Ethiopia, Chad was able to partake in a once in a lifetime experience. “I’m very reserved and not really one to put myself out there. But my wife arranged for me to meet Tegegn’s birth family,” Chad said.
Chad hiked up into this little town where Tegegn was born to meet his birth family. “His grandmother hugged me and I instantly felt like they were my family,” Chad said. While Chad had initial reservations about an open adoption, his fears melted away when he met Tegegn’s birth mother. “Tegegn’s birthmother was shy and seemed embarrassed that she had had to make an adoption plan,” Chad said. “I gave her pictures and letters and she just lit up. She could see that she’d made the right choice for her son. I told them that I will bring Tegegn back to visit and I want them to have a relationship,” Chad said.
Chad feels profoundly changed after becoming a father to both Tegegn and Yoseph. “Being a dad is different from what I thought it would be,” Chad said. “When you have your own child, you may not have to work as hard to build attachment, trust, and love. In addition, it may come more natural to determine what your child is naturally gifted at. With adoption, every day is an adventure and although there are challenges in the beginning, overtime you grow a deep loving relationship that may even be more rooted than if you have your own.”
Chad looks forward to watching both of his sons change and grow. “It’s amazing to see them grow up. Tegegn just finished up kindergarten and he’s thriving socially and academically,” Chad said. “As an adoptive father, it’s amazing to see God’s hand in that.”
Tegegn and Yoseph aren’t the only ones growing: Chad and Courtney have grown too. As Chad has learned, “a dad is one that is loving and encouraging, and tries to provide as much opportunity as possible for them to reach their greatest potential.”
Happy Father’s Day to Chad and to all of the other great dads out there!
For more information on how to begin your adoption journey, visit our How to Get Started page.