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A True Love Story for Valentine’s Day: How a Child Changes Everything

Dr. Michael King (M.S. King) is a well-respected dentist in Manhattan, a standup comedian, and author of the book Dad Spelled Backward: A Journey Through the Maze of Love, Marriage, and Adoption. Because February is known for being a month dedicated to and all about love, we caught up with King to discuss his love relationship and adoption of his baby girl.

Amara Foster:  When and where did you and your wife meet?

Michael King: At a French restaurant in Manhattan on Tango Night. Neither of us tango, just went with friends.

Foster: Why did you decide to adopt a baby?

Mike King:  Nothing else was working, and we weren’t ready for a dog or cat.

Foster: How do you prepare yourself for dealing with the excitement and euphoria when on an adoption search?

Mike King:  Since it was all new, we didn’t know what to expect. The adoption lawyer and the adoption facilitator lay it on the line for us from the highs, to the lows, and everything in between. It’s one of those things that, unless it happens, you don’t know how you’ll react. It all starts when you get that first phone call. My wife, Gaby, and I had different levels of responding. She was always excited, and I “fake smiled” a lot.

Foster: Did anyone prepare you for the potential disappointments? Could anyone prepare you for this?

Mike King:  No one can prepare you for that kind of disappointment, and if people really could describe the extreme feeling of loss, who would want to put themselves voluntarily through that? Sometimes it is better not to know in advance. 

Foster: How did you and Gaby help one another through those kinds of difficult experiences?

Mike King: We helped each other with a lot of hugging, hand-holding, and reminding ourselves we were great together even before we started the entire adoption process. It wasn’t that we decided to adopt a baby to make our life better, but rather to make it more “fuller,” maybe more meaningful. I wouldn’t recommend going through the whole process unless you have a really strong relationship to begin with. It’s not a solution to relationship problems; it’s a way of further defining your love for each other. The two of us are more connected to each other because we are more connected to our daughter. If that makes sense. Like the triangle of love–but I don’t mean that “love” triangle thing—then again, maybe it’s a bad way to describe it because if you have two kids, it becomes a box. In any case, the lines are connected, making the whole stronger than the parts. I don’t mean to ramble…On to the next question…

Foster: Did your love deepen through the process?

Mike King. Yes, It did. Absolutely. It makes you more understanding of each other, and you become even closer since you experienced this together as the main players. It’s like doing standup comedy. Only another standup comedian can understand how it feels to be up there, cracking jokes in front of a whole group of people. Right away, there’s a deeper bond with that person.

Foster: How about when you finally received your baby girl? Was your love for one another different, and if so, how?

Mike King:  As above, it made us even closer, like a triangle that is not complete until all the points are joined. Family is the only way to describe it. We felt like we were a family. Are families defined as more than two? Do pets count? I’m not sure.

Foster: What did you learn through this that might be helpful to other hopeful parents?

Mike King:  If you are thinking about having a child, whether the natural way or through adoption, fostering, borrowing, etc., and you’re wondering how it will change your life, well, it will in so many ways. I tell my friends without kids or who say they never want kids, that that is fine. Without having one, you will be fine; life will still be great. However, you simply won’t know what it’s really like. But once you have a child, there is no going back. You will wonder how you ever thought of going through life without this feeling of this kind of love. 

Before we had our girl, I remember sitting on the couch with my wife in our beautiful apartment, looking around at how nice everything was. Uncluttered is the word I’m looking for. This was when we were getting ready to start the process, and I was thinking, “There’s going to be a lot of baby crap all over this room, everywhere. It’s going to look like a sh**-storm hit the place. Do I really need this?” And then you get the child, and you realize this sh**-storm is one of the best things that ever happened to me. In fact, for me, the more sh** of hers that was around, the more connected I felt. I think it boils down to the fact that you get a different perspective of yourself when you have a child. Your perspective is much broader and more accepting than it was previously. I think, in many ways, we are here for our children. Not only our biological children, but for all children, including non-biological, nieces, nephews, cousins, and children of friends. In fact, for any child you can form a lasting connection with. Helping them to grow, to become better people, to be kinder and more generous of themselves; this is how we can all make the world a better place.

About M.S. King

Mike King had never thought much about getting married and becoming a father, but all that changed when, in his fifties, he met Gabriella, his lovely (and much younger) French wife. Together they decide to try to become parents. He writes all about it, the funny, the sad, the disappointment, to the joyful in his new book, Dad Spelled Backward: A Journey Through the Maze of Love, Marriage, and Adoption.


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