Foster Dads – I Salute You!

“So, what’s it like to be a foster dad?” It’s a question that has worked its way into many a casual conversation since my wife and I joined a Foster-to-Adopt program. 

Well, let me help you with this.  Sit back, close your eyes, and imagine the following…

– You send your toddler to “time out” in his room, only to rush back two minutes later to stop him from whacking his window with a 2×4 he pulled off of his bed…

– You wake up at 1:00 am in a cold sweat after hearing strange noises in the kitchen.  You investigate, only to find that your toddler has opened the pantry and has consumed half a two-liter of Dr. Pepper (at least he has good taste) and two bags of chips…

– You congratulate your toddler on finding a lucky penny, only to hear him wailing in horror during nap time.  You ask what happened to his penny, and hear him cry, “I ate it!”

– Your daughter starts screaming that said toddler has gotten into her art set, and you hear “Ta-Da!” from the little one’s room.  You walk in and can’t breathe as you discover he has scribbled letters all over his dresser and windows.  

– You gape in surprise as you discover a $13 T-Bone steak in the fridge, one that you nor your wife ever bought.  Turns out your daughter sneaked it into the buggy in the grocery store, while you and the missus were chasing a screaming toddler who was throwing kicks and punches like Santa Claus throws candy at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

All true stories, by the way, and all but one took place this last week.

Yep…Happy Father’s Day to me!

So how do we handle the constant craziness, the never-ending tantrums?

Well, I’ll tell you how we handled the mysterious T-Bone…we gave the kids PB&J for dinner and then grilled ourselves a juicy $13 steak, complete with Caesar salad, cheddar biscuits, and fresh cherry lemonade! Our disappointment in our daughter’s audacity melted into delight at our unexpected date night!


But in all seriousness, to make it as a foster dad you have to tune out everyone else who swears they know how to “fix” your kid, refuse to blame yourself for the heavy baggage these kids are carrying, and search for bright moments so you can hold onto them for dear life. 

And love the kids in spite of everything they do to hurt you…isn’t that what good fathers do? I could return my son’s aggression with violence of my own, or I can pick him up (clawing, pinching, and screaming) and hold him close.  I try to choose the second option, because my son has already seen violence and anger, and he’ll carry that with him always.  But I want him to also know what love, warmth, and forgiveness feels like.  Trust me – it’s not easy.  But I hope against hope that when he gets older, these loving memories will overpower the negative ones.

If you’re a dad, then let me be the first to applaud you.  Our job has never been harder.  Just remember…

You do have what it takes…

Your kids do love and admire you…

And you do have a Heavenly Father who will coach you through this!
Happy Father’s Day.

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