I was recently asked to contribute to an article which asked Dads what being a father meant to them. I love these types of articles which allow me to put my heart on paper and give life to my passions. Amongst other things I shared that:
“It means I will seek to be connected to them, to their hopes and dreams and stand by them, even when they aren’t realised, yet. It means I wake each day with a hope that their tomorrow depends on what I build in them today.”
Being a Father is the single biggest privilege I have and the greatest journey, challenge, frustration, joy and responsibility in my life.
My day started with a “Dads Day” held by my son’s school where we listened to songs, played soccer, made bird feeders, drank coffee and ate boerewors rolls. As mornings go, this was a good one. But as I walked onto the field, flanked by over a hundred dads, present, engaged and loving on their kiddos, I was reminded of another day this week, a day where the voices of the fatherless were raised in deafening silence, asking, begging, demanding an answer to the question, WHERE WERE YOU? Continue reading
The last couple of months have been filled with a sense of impending doom for many in the adoption community. From would be adoptive parents concerned over the uncertainties of adoption laws and 12th-hour covert changes to policies, to social workers who practically are working tirelessly at jobs that may not exist in the coming months, we are experiencing a reality in South Africa that has many questioning “what is actually happening?”
Much has been written on the topic and excellent articles such as this one by Robyn Wolfson Vorster have expanded in clear detail on the facts, the concerns and perhaps some of the reasoning behind the shift in policy. So today I am not going to reinvent the wheel by writing what has already been so clearly presented before.
So this past week, the world found itself taking note of a unique holiday. This holiday was not in remembrance of the fallen, the brave warriors of the past, some great festival or battle or even a remarkable time in history which stands as a line in the sand where we see a massive contrast between the before and after pictures. This was a day, which seeks to raise awareness for something happening now and something we will be challenged by, probably until the end of time. The day seeks to raise awareness for adoption, it’s need, it’s challenges, it’s tragic past and hopefully beautiful future where the pain of a history is redeemed and given tomorrows healing.
Hank Fortener, the architect behind #WORLDADOPTIONDAY had this to say about the origins this holiday: Continue reading
I sat there holding my wife’s hand, the door opened and led by the hand of his older brother, our first adoptive son entered the room. He took each step without knowing, without thinking, resting in the hope that those he had come to know as family in his first year were doing their best, were protecting him, were sending him home.
I stood there in awe as this beautiful little boy conquered the distance between us and landed in our arms. My heart was full, my emotions responding like the explosion of a fireworks display. My son was home, the boy we had prayed for, the one we longed for, the champion who had risen above all th e challenges he had faced was about to cross the finish line and we were celebrating with tears, with joy and with an overwhelming sense that the enemy of orphanhood had been defeated.
One day they will arrive. Without celebration, applause, smiles or a hope. They enter the world by the hand of a hero who chose to give life and extend blessing to another family. But there is no time to celebrate, this is a time of great loss. Tears form and fall, not out of joy but from grief. Thoughts of regret, remorse, pain judgment fill her mind as she reluctantly releases her greatest gift to another. The grief, the poverty of mind, of situation and heart have led her to this day, a dark day, the darkest day. She holds only to a hope, a hope that flickers and settles her soul, gently encouraging her that he will be safe, he will survive, He will succeed, he will love and be greatly loved. Continue reading
I am currently reading a book at the moment entitled The Spirit of Adoption: Winning the battle for the children. It raises some important questions and recounts some crucial events in history, one of which is the famous American case of Roe vs Wade which legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and how Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in that case became a pro-life activist after realising that Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs.
I find myself in a unique position. I believe I have a different perspective. I am certain God has allowed me to occupy a space where my voice will find favour with various groups in our beautiful South Africa.
I am fortunate in that I have the opportunity to dream about the futures of my three amazing children. I can occupy my thought life with the hopes and dreams of my sons’ growing into men who stand for what is right and true. Who know when to sit and listen whilst at the same time, confident in their ability to know the times when they must stand with confidence and speak with courage. My beautiful girl brings me such joy, her strength and poise allow me to confidently declare that she will inspire some and she will convict others. She dresses herself with beauty and boldness, and yet she is not even 2.
Raising a blended family, brings certain perks. If I am honest, I love being slightly different, I love going to the shops and seeing that double take on a stranger’s face when they see me and then they see one of my brown people. I say “my brown people” because my son refers to people of similar colour that way, and seeing as he is mine, so are they.
I like thinking I am part of a solution, I like to think I am creating a bridge between pink and brown. I like to think my son’s and daughter will be better positioned because colour won’t matter to them, it won’t feature in their thought processes, it won’t inform their value judgements or influence their opinions. BUT, am I foolish in believing this, because it will matter to YOU?
We pride ourselves in the knowledge that we live in a time like no other. A time where the amount of information created, consumed and freely available is beyond anything we’ve experienced in the past. We exist in a time where at the push of a button, we achieve access to nearly every answer man has ever discovered or needed. I have in the palm of my hand a venerable magic wand which, when fully charged, is able to give its possessor God like knowledge and understanding.
From the correct spelling of the world longest word (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis for those of you who’d like to know) to the requirements to produce atomic energy, every single person has the ability to answer every single question ever asked, and in most cases correctly.
So why do I get the sense that in spite of limitless knowledge, common sense and general good choices seem to be on the decline?
I’m feeling a little despondent today! I’m sensing the enormity of the challenge and I’m weighed down by the reality of the need. I’m troubled that so many believe and have accepted our own adoption as sons’ and daughters’ into God’s family, and yet the idea of adoption for many is as far from them them as the East is from the West.
We have freely received and therefore should freely give, as Jesus says, but what does this mean? Continue reading
For some years now, since starting on our journey of adoption, My wife and I have often wondered how we could do more to help the Fatherless. We have limited capacity, we have limited space, practically, the need is too great.
But what if we were to focus on our pond? What if we threw a pebble in our pond, and the people at the pond next door thought “We can do that” and so on. Very quickly we arrive at a place where we don’t have to feel like we are fighting the battle alone, all of a sudden the little I have takes on a new value because it is added to the little someone else has. Very soon, a trickle becomes a stream, becomes a river which becomes a body of water that can now affect massive change.
It is a sad irony that in a world of excess many exist with great need
This is where I find myself. In a world where excess is normal, we also find great lack existing. How do these two polar opposites exist juxtapose?