Welcoming home a fatherless child: Part one
How three dads became interested in fostering and adopting
By Focus on the Family Canada staff
If you’ve never fostered or adopted before, it might be hard to imagine bringing home a child you know was born to another family. There’s no genetic link. Your little girl might not look like you. Your son might not share prominent family traits. How then do you start to love a child who comes to your family through fostering or adoption?
We asked a panel of three Calgary foster and adoptive fathers to join us at a special End the Wait evening in late January. Each one graciously agreed to share his journey of laughter, love, and learning about becoming “Dad” to the fatherless child welcomed into his home. This is part one in the series. Check out part two here and part three here.
How did you get interested in adopting?
“Many people are curious to find out how we got into adoption,” comments Rick, who with his wife adopted their eight-year-old son through the Alberta government’s foster care system. “This is a second marriage for both of us, so we got married a bit later and both were already established in our careers.” When it came time for Rick and his wife to grow their family, adoption seemed to be a possible fit.
Having the opportunity to get to know children in their church made choosing adoption that much more natural for the couple. “We had really great examples in our church – maybe three or four families who were already fostering – and we were seeing a lot of kids coming through.” Getting to know the children who were already in care helped Rick and his wife get past some of the negative images and fears that can hold people back from adopting or fostering.
Mark, a pastor in a southern Calgary church, candidly admits that his reasons for fostering weren’t really clear at first. “Fostering and adopting were never on my radar,” he points out. “It was likely because I wasn’t really exposed to the need. But back when my wife and I were dating, I remember when we started getting serious with our relationship, she said that one of her goals was to foster and adopt children and that would be a condition for marriage if we wanted to keep our relationship moving in that direction."
He recalls with a chuckle, “I said, ‘Sure!’ But I remember thinking, I just want to get married. And once she’s around me all the time, why would she want more children?”
Turns out Mark’s wife, an adoptee herself, was very serious and after a few years of getting established as a married couple, she was ready to start the fostering process. Mark remembered his response from several years earlier, which didn’t leave him many choices: “I did agree to that, didn’t I. I guess we’ll give it a try then!” Twenty-two years later they are still going strong, having welcomed dozens of children into their home, and having adopted several who have found their forever family.
Mark and his wife’s journey has influenced Mike, who has been “Dad” to the more than seventy children whom he and his wife have welcomed into their home through fostering. Mike recalls how they first got interested:
“Our senior pastor [Mark] did a sermon series on what you can do to practically live out your faith. One of the ideas he mentioned was fostering. I can’t say I was overly enthused initially,” he admits. Continuing on, Mike remembers, “My wife probably was more enthused than me, but we pursued it anyway and we started taking the classes.”
As time went on, Mike learned more about the impact they could have as parents to children from tough life journeys. And there have been no regrets whatsoever. Mark states emphatically, “I’m glad we took the plunge because it’s been much more rewarding than I thought. It turned out to be such a good fit for our life.”
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