Thursday, August 4, 2011

TESTIMONY: Dave "Aus" Ausdenmoore's Five Rules of Dadhood

When you think of rules, you think of "law," restriction, prohibition.  But these rules broken down by my frequent reader and blog friend, Aus, will hopefully free you up in your spirit. 

Often, Reluctant Husbands are afraid and don't know why.  I am confident Aus's easy-reading post will put many of you at ease.  At least, that's my prayer!
My name is Aus, and I suffer from Reluctant Husband Syndrome.
Or at least I did.  Actually I always will because the prospect of being a dad simply scares the devil out of me and it always has.  All six times.

And over the intervening 26 plus years, I’ve learned a couple things…including….it’s supposed to scare the devil out of you!

I’ve also learned that there is no shame in being an RH. And RHS applies to having bio kids too.  It’s about having kids, not HOW you have them!

I could relate half a dozen or more stories about how the light went on for me, about when my heart was touched, when my eyes were opened, and about all the practical things that stand in the way of adoption, domestic or international. Anthony has covered most of them—most all the practical ones, as well as the more “ephemeral”  It all comes down to “trust.” Trust in God to provide the resources (financial or otherwise). Trust in your bride to “know the right thing to do.” Trust in God (yet again) to lead you down the road that He intends for you to travel. Trust in yourself to “know the right thing to do” when your beloved bride does not!

But for me, RHS was mostly caused by my fear—or lack of trust in myself—to be able to parent a child to adulthood and produce an offspring that was someone that would make the world a little better place than it was before they arrived.

I don’t mean someone that would cure cancer or stop wars or earn Nobel prizes.  I mean someone that could be an average guy or gal but who touches folks in a kind and gentle way, who has the heart to commit 100% to whatever they were called to do, someone who simply “gets it” in daily life.

See, I was afraid that I’d warp them somehow or give them a belief set that caused them to be all those things that I think are bad, dangerous, or wrong.

I didn’t have a “dark night of the soul” or a “conversation with God,” or even an e-mail from Him! But I did, over the first 18 or 20 years of child rearing, learn a good number of things that included such gems as these rules…

Rule #1: I’m not perfect and I’m when it comes to parenting, I am going to “screw up by the numbers” sometimes. 

Rule #2: My kids (much like their parents) will make bad decisions many times during their lives.

Rule #3: No amount of effort or training can change Rules #1 or #2.

And finally…

Rule #4: Even a parent that falls prey to Rules #1, #2, or #3 is far superior to...


So at the tender age of 44, with three children over the age of 15, I was asked by one of the kids (the daughter that was just married), “Dad, you and mom always talked about having a big family, so after mom got sick, why didn’t you guys adopt kids?”

And my response was simply, “Honey, I never even thought about it.”

This, much to my bride’s disbelief.  She’d thought about it for years and was shocked that it had never occurred to me.

And with that quiet Sunday morning conversation, I was thrust right back into RHS in capital letters.

Eight months later, we had a six-month-old daughter in the house.
About three years later, having agreed that we were all done having kids, that little girl would be looking at websites on her mom’s lap and pointing to a picture of a little girl, saying, “That’s my sister.  We can kiss her boo-boo, and she can play with my toys.” Our adopted daughter would find that picture twice more over the next week and say the same thing.
OK, maybe I need to revisit my earlier comment that God has never spoken to me directly. Maybe in this case He did?  I mean, a three year old clicking forward and back until she finds the same picture three times? Sometimes God even deigns to “smack us on the head” when we refuse to listen. Regardless, less than a year later, we’d be in China adopting our next daughter.

And less than a year later my bride would see a picture of a little boy, and by that point, I knew that there was no fighting it.  Our youngest son has been home for about 18 months now.

So eight years later at the tender age of 52, I’d be the happily married proud dad of six kids—three boys and three girls, ranging in age from 26 to three.
And I’ve learned Rule #4 is completely true….

And discovered that there is a final rule...

Rule #5:  Once you are a dad, you are a dad forever!

Yeah.  The reality is that there is no escaping caring and loving and worrying and hurting for your kids, even as they prepare to walk down the aisle. Once you’re in, you’re in forever!

But God provides what you need when you need it, that’s why rule #4 works.

My name is Aus, I’m a happily married father of six.  I suffer from Reluctant Husband Syndrome, and I’m among the luckiest man in the world…

Because I’m a dad.

Remember, PLEASE don't feel like you have to be a fantastic writer to contribute your testimony.  It ONLY takes someone who's willing to share their heart to help so many others out there who need to read what you write.  So don't hesitate!  Email me soon!


  1. Beautiful testimony, Aus, thank you for sharing, got me in tears :)

  2. Yay, Aus!!!! What a great testimony. I have so enjoyed hearing your heart for your kiddoes over the last three years, via our bloggy friendship. And I Love, LOVE, LOVE that other parts of this blogosphere are getting to now hear your heart, too! Great job!!!!

  3. This was a great post to read--very heartfelt and encouraging. Aus, you have a beautiful family!

  4. Stunning, Aus. Thanks for sharing. You totally rock!

  5. Totally crying! Amazing and so true! My Parents are in their 50's and have 5 kiddos under the age of 5. It's amazing to see that there are others that got the same memo! Bless you Aus for stepping out and taking a risk!


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