I met my oldest daughter when she was three years old.
She and her Mum lived across the hall from me in our apartment building. Walking up the stairs behind them one day, she introduced herself and her Mum, “Hi, my name’s Melissa, and this is my Mummy, Lise.”
I was smitten, mostly by her, but her Mum was pretty, and I introduced myself. I was single; after all, so meeting a pretty lady was great.
I found out she was a single mum and lived with a male roommate who I had thought was her husband. I quickly became friends with Melissa and her Mum and I decided I wanted to ask Lise out.
Later that evening, I knocked on her door and asked her if she and Melissa wanted to go on a picnic. She said yes.
Turned out I said the magic words. I asked her and Melissa out. My roommate also asked her out, but he didn’t get a date. He had asked her out. Just her, not her daughter.
We had a great time and a relationship was built and I eventually proposed to Lise.
I tried to connect with Melissa’s father to ensure him that I would do my best to help him develop a close relationship with Melissa. There had been some tension for the first years of Melissa’s life with him and Melissa’s mother.
I had come from a broken home myself and wanted to make sure she had every opportunity to grow up with her father. My father had left before I was born, and even after connecting when I was about eight, he eventually did some things that broke off our relationship, but that’s for another story.
I did my best to be a great father. I supported Melissa in everything she did. We had a great relationship growing up. I was extremely happy when she started calling me “Dad,” out of the blue.
He birth father had very little to do with her as she was growing up. His weekend visitations twice a month rarely happened. He lived out of state and we would drive half way to meet up and drop Melissa off. The visits became less frequent and often didn’t happen for a years at a time.
Watch TV and radio presenter, Ben Fordham, talk to Mia Freedman on being a dad. (Post continues after video.)
Melissa and I became very close, and I loved her like my own daughter. We had a second daughter when Melissa was six. I wanted to adopt Melissa, then.
I had already adopted her mentally but wanted it to be legal. We didn’t think her father would allow it, so we waited until Melissa was in middle school, which made her old enough to make the decision to be adopted if she wanted.