What does Father’s Day mean to me, especially since we were just warned a week ago by our social worker that our foster son might be reunified with his biological parents soon? Yes, that’s right, it’s very probable she told us. It’s not definite, but we should be ready for it. Yet I don’t look upon this Father’s Day as what I may lose, rather as the joy of celebrating because this Lil Guy came into my life. What do I embrace this Father’s Day as a foster dad?
Lil Guy is now 6.5 months old and in the last three months, we received particularly more compliments about how well he is doing. Medical professionals, physicians, assessors and random strangers remark about how healthy and happy our baby looks to their delight and surprise. A family friend we met for the first time who was also a nurse commented, “He looks so healthy and happy. I could not tell that he was drug-exposed. You did a really good job!” Especially in light of the impending date of our baby being reunified with his biological parents, my wife and I relished in the many compliments about the good job we’ve done with him. One waitress at a restaurant yesterday said to Lil Guy, “You made my day because you’re so happy!” We’ve devoted time to him overcoming his challenges by playing with him, doing exercises with him, singing to him, talking with him, reading to him, tickling him, taking him to places, exposing him to a plethora of creative stimuli, soothing him, giving him a safe place to rest and covering him with more affection than he would ask for. We helped an “at-risk” baby overcome and triumph over his brokenness. I’ve seen first hand the power of nurture over nature. I’ve seen the reality of how love truly heals. Someone once said to me, “If you love him, he’ll grow.” So all the compliments from people about what a good job we’ve done have been deeply meaningful and all we did was love him as our own. Even my mother said to Lil Guy, “You are so lucky to have them care for you.”
But I pondered on whom were the ones truly blessed. I often times feel like the fortunate one. He helped me to be a better person. He showed me a tangible meaning of redemption. He helped me be more selfless, more giving and more loving. He showed me the meaning of miracles as he grows, laughs and develops each day. He amazes me by the joy he regularly brings to strangers with his smiles and the healing he brings to those who are hurting. He helped me understand God’s love more fully. He reminds me that miracles are still real. Perhaps one of the greatest blessings he gave to me is the privilege of loving a son who was not mine as mine, and through that I learned a deeper meaning of grace. He smiles at me, plays with me, talks to me, and laughs with me. And today, he gave me my first Father’s Day. Thank you, Lil Guy.