Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adoptive Fathers

Today we celebrate Father's Day.
I was struck today by the number of adopted fathers we have at our church.  Fathers whose children do not resemble them in any physical way (and not because said children look like their mom).  These fathers don't get to announce at work that their wives are pregnant and get the reassuring back slaps and comments about their manhood (it's weird, I know, but you have seen and heard it too).  They may announce they are adopting, and get dissapproving glances and the stories that begin with, "ooo-thats rough, I know this guy who" and the story ends with something tragic like "and it didn't work out".  Fathers who see their biological bloodlines come to an end and their heritage as an adoptive dad begin.  We have three children who will never know their biological fathers.  What they get instead is an adoptive dad.  A dad God chose for them from the beginning of time.  Not to share genes with, or to share a physical likeness.  God chose to have another man lend the genetic material, and for the adoptive dad to do everything else.  We are constantly reminded that adoptive parenting is so different than biological parenting.  As an adoptive parent, you cannot control where and who your children come from.  You have no idea what happened to them before they came into your care, or how those experiences will effect them as they grow.  So we are extra careful.  We research and then ask advise and then research some more.  We cannot simply put our kids on a schedule to eat and sleep, we have to attend to their every need just to get them to trust us.  We are forever mistaken as the baby sitters, or the step parent or second marriage.  We cannot discipline the same way as biological parents because we don't often have a blank slate of a kid, we have a kid with baggage.  We have social workers checking in on us making sure we are doing the right things and saying the right things.  We are even called adoptive families, not just families, but adoptive families.  We wear the badge proudly as we know this is how God has made our family to be.  But sometimes, we just want to be families.  We want to forget the underlying tension of having children with an unknown past.  We want to not have people look twice at the grocery store.  We want to go to a "Home Depot Build It Day" with other adoptive dads and not have everyone assume we are a gay couple because our kids don't look like us.  So today, on Father's Day we recognize those dads.  Dads who recognize more quickly than most that our children are not really ours.  They belong to God and are a gift from Him.  Adoptive dads, who for just one day get to be just plain dads.  Happy Father's Day Dads!

1 comment:

  1. never have I seen you and Bill as "adoptive parents"! Those babies were yours long before you knew about them!! They are MY family and I love them and you like crazy!!