“I do not have a traditional story. My mom married right out of high school and had me the day after her 20th birthday. They divorced when I was just over a year old.
The man I know as ‘Dad’ found my mom and me when he was only 19 years old.
We are of the LDS faith. In our culture, young men and women serve religious missions. You may have seen them in suits and ties and black name tags. When I was three, almost four, a young missionary and his companion came to my grandparents’ home to eat as is sometimes done with members of the congregation. I was there while my mom worked. These two young men kept coming from time to time and eventually Elder Smith met my mom. Upon meeting her, he said something along the lines of, ‘I’ve already fallen in love with your daughter, now it’s your turn.’
Six months into his two-year mission, his new companion told their mission president about my mom, and my dad had to leave the blizzard in Utah to serve out the remainder of his mission in warm and beautiful Hawaii. They never even went on a formal date, but they got married as soon as he returned home.
He later adopted me and I took his last name, but he’s always been Dad to me.
Every September 7th, we celebrate the day he adopted me (Smith Day, as we call it). I have never felt like his stepchild. When he speaks of me, I know he loves me in his own way. He was once asked to describe me in three words. He said, ‘stubborn, hard headed, independent.’ From my dad, these are high compliments because they are how I’d describe him. He now loves on my children like a good papa should and I enjoy seeing this new character of his appear when they talk to and love on him.
I’m grateful for my dad. I’m grateful for the sacrifices he made to become my dad.”
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