Adoptive Dad Dreamed A Dream That Brought Him A Son
In 1998, John Curtis and David Wikiera adopted a son from Vietnam and named him John Wikiera.
"I had always wanted to be a parent," Curtis tells his now 11-year-old son during a visit to StoryCorps in Rochester, N.Y. "So it was a dream I had, but I never dreamed would come true because Papa and I are gay. But we had some friends who started thinking about adoption and that got us thinking.
"So, we started into the process," he continues. "And one day, a FedEx truck came down the driveway. And they ... had a little picture of you, and I knew that I was going to get to be your dad. And it was wonderful."
John — who wants to be an astronaut and go to Mars or maybe a video-game tester — asks how parenting changed his dad.
"Oh, it changes everything," Curtis says. When asked whether he thinks about having a family of his own one day, the pre-teen says "sometimes."
"And like when I have kids, you will get to meet them," John tells his dad.
"That's my dream, too. I love you very much," Curtis says. "We were always meant to be together."
Curtis married his partner in 2011 in Rochester after 22 years together. Both their sons — John and Joseph, who was adopted from Guatemala — participated in the ceremony.
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
On Friday mornings, we hear from StoryCorps, capturing conversations between loved ones across the country. Today's interview comes from Rochester, New York. That's were John Curtis sat down with his 11-year-old son, John Wikeira, who was adopted as a baby from Vietnam.
JOHN CURTIS: So what are some of your dreams?
JOHN WIKEIRA: Well, I kind of want to go to Mars and be an astronaut.
CURTIS: What do you think it's going to be like on Mars?
WIKEIRA: Red. Yeah.
CURTIS: If you don't go to Mars, what else do you think you might want to do?
WIKEIRA: Maybe a video game-tester.
CURTIS: A video game-tester.
WIKEIRA: Even though a video game-tester might be very exclusive.
CURTIS: It might be tough. I don't know how many of those job positions there are.
WIKEIRA: So do you remember what was going through your head when you first saw me?
I thought you were so - can I say beautiful, or do I have to say handsome?
It doesn't matter.
CURTIS: Well, you were both. I had always wanted to be a parent. So it was a dream I had that I never dreamed would come true, because Papa and I are gay. But we had some friends who started thinking about adoption, and that got us thinking. So we started into the process, and one day, a FedEx truck came down the driveway.
And they had a little picture of you, and I knew that I was going to get to be your dad. And it was wonderful. And the first time I ever got to hold you, when I got to feed you your first bottle, I guess in a way, I was concerned that you might be scared or nervous with these new people. But holding you up against my chest, it was just like you fit, like we fit.
WIKEIRA: How has being a parent changed you?
CURTIS: Oh, it changes everything. Do you think about having a family of your own?
WIKEIRA: Yeah, sometimes. And, like, when I have kids, you will get to meet them.
CURTIS: That's my dream, too. I love you very much.
WIKEIRA: I love you, too.
CURTIS: We were always meant to be together.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GREENE: That's John Curtis with his son, John Wikeira. John Curtis and his partner were married in 2011, and they have adopted a second child. This interview will be archived at the library of Congress, and you can get the StoryCorps podcast at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.