...And speaking of being an imperfect dad myself, I met another one. Can you believe it? I wonder how many of you are out there. More than a handful?
Meet Stephen from British Columbia, Canada. He’s honest, he’s unapologetic, he’s forthright, and best of all,…he’s imperfect.
I'm a recovering, yet stubborn reluctant husband and father. I've told my wife that we have had enough kids from before we even had kids to today - five kids later. Two bio and three Chinese adoptions later, I'm still a reluctant father! For all those men out there that don't think they can do it, I'm a great example of getting it done, and still maintaining my fantastic reluctant husband status.
Adopting three "special-needs" kids in three and a half years is not what everyone should do, but it HAS changed my life, my heart, and my perspective about God's provision and strength in significant and fundamental ways.
I used to be the busy-at-church husband: doing, doing, doing until everyone thought I was a super-Christian with a few vices! Little did I know that playing the part of a Christian man and living the part (REALLY living the part) look very different. If men had feelings, the two roles would have FELT different too!
These days, I don't sit on the deck dreaming of what I'll do with my life, my pastor doesn't see much of me, I'm not on this board, or that committee. In fact, I'm extremely surprised if I arrive to church before the greeters have left to enjoy the service! My "Christian walk" is more of a hunched over waddle with a few dives to the ground for cover and a split-second recharge on bended knee before the next event.
But I'll tell you what... I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't change the fact that I'm in another country to receive medical treatment for newest Child #5 and that he walked upright for the first time today! I wouldn't change the fact that Child #2 told me this afternoon that seeing people without all their bits was uncomfortable until Child #5 came along without his legs and now she thinks/feels that this is normal! They both get it: just do what you can with what God gave you and move on—no stigma, no regrets, just a life worth living...an adventure worth enjoying!
If I had to change anything at all, it would be that I didn't enjoy more of the drama along the way. I'd change my attitude about trying to do everything perfectly, instead of appropriately, for each of my kids. I'd change how clean the car was for the first ten years of parenting. I'd change the look I give my wife every time she mentions another child. I'd change the power that fear has in my life and how I still allow myself to be a slave to it when called on to act dangerously—to make messes and take chances!
Yet, I'm still a reluctant husband! I still hold on to my fear (terror, really) of being a poor father, or failing to provide for my family, or failing to be there emotionally or physically when child 1 through 5 may need me. I still worry and worry some more about some things in my life that I can't change and should give over to God. I still argue with my wife about Child 6 through ???? whenever it's brought up. I still worry about being the best parent/husband in the world, and know that I can't be because of all the mistakes I've made along the way...
...Then I have a moment where someone asks for my testimony and I think—what is REALLY going on in my life? I take a moment to pause the game of life and realize that I've never been more challenged, yet rewarded. I've never been so busy, yet effective. I've never had so many hugs when I return from a business trip or just doing errands in town.
I am beginning to realize that life is not about being the best father in the world, it's about shutting up and doing what God asks of you and knowing that He made you to be enough to fulfill his plans for your life. I'm not perfect, but I'm not MEANT to be, or even created to be. I'm the person God needed to DO what God needed when and how God needed it. I am the best father I can be; and I'm the best father for each of my kids (one through ???) and husband to my wife (just one).
I hope that I've made at least one man out there two cents richer for their trouble. Enjoy the adventure!
If you'd like to contact Stephen, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, if Stephen can do it, you can to. Why not write a testimony about yourself, Dad, as it relates to adopting? You don't have to be a good writer. Just have a willing heart. Many lives can be touched by your story. Shoot it to me at email@example.com!