Fostering A Father's Love
As the father of five children, all of which are adopted, I am frequently asked, "How do you do it?" To that, my answer is almost always, "I don't know, we just do." That’s because I truly don't know how “we do it”. There is no equation I can come up with that offers the perfect ins and outs of being a parent to five children (or even one child). If you find one, please let me know.
This is because, to me, being a parent means being ready for the unexpected at all times. It means being willing to adjust and be accommodating, yet simultaneously structured. Does that make sense? Not at all, and yet it makes all the sense in the world.
I still remember the night my wife Julie and I got the call to pick up our sons Jayden and Julian. There we were, thinking we had weeks to plan out everything (their room colors, clothing, toys, food). Little did we know life had other plans. We got a call that our sons needed emergency placement just a few days after we were informed of the possibility that they'd be placed in our home.
Sitting behind the wheel, with my wife in the passenger seat, I will always remember the rush of emotions that came over me as we drove to meet these tiny little humans.
Was I ready to be a dad? Of two boys?
Were we in over our heads?
Would the dog like them?
My mind raced with concern and unmeasurable joy all at the same time. When we finally arrived, my eyes locked with their tiny yet wide open brown eyes, and I fell in love. I had no idea what to do next. But I did know that these two little boys were putting their trust in us, and it was our job as their foster parents to protect and honor it.
I became a father that very moment.
I can wholeheartedly say that I love being a foster/adoptive parent.
Over the past 4 years of being a dad (or Papa as my youngest daughter Alana refers to me), I've learned to not look for perfection in my actions. When I first became a father, I was so worried about being the best father in the history of fatherhood. I've quickly learned that my kids don't care about having a "perfect" dad. All that matters to my "starting five" is that I am just dad.
The dad that makes the world’s best pancakes.
The dad that brings home five large boxes and magically turns them into a playset in the backyard.
The dad that tells crazy stories and can randomly transform into a hungry monster at bed time (much to mom's objections).
The dad that dances with his daughters when their favorite songs come on and "makes a muscle" whenever my sons ask me to.
I’ve also learned that, as my children grow, so do I. When I teach them new things each day, they teach me just as much with their responses. Five children, all under the age of 8 years, makes for a treasure trove of information, regardless if you care to know or not.
Our oldest, Jayden, is 7 years old and will be in the 2nd grade next school year. He is always ready with his “did you know” questions. If you didn’t know, now you know.
Our second oldest Julian, 5 years old, is extremely wise beyond his years. Both my wife and I have already acknowledged that he is smarter than the both of us.
Our girls, Alise and Alana, both 4 years old, allow me to witness on a daily basis what it truly means to be BFFs. They were adopted nearly 4 years apart, yet are inseparable. You can't find one without the other.
Lastly our youngest, Jayce, 3 years old, is nothing short of a ball of energy, with a laugh that can light up any room.
The love of my five children, along with the love and support from my amazing wife, are what
makes me the man I am today. They are the reason I am the father I am today.
So when I am asked "How do you do it?", my answer remains "I don't know, we just do."
Me, my wife, and our 5 amazing children... we as a team... as a family... just do. We all make it work. There is no perfect equation.
I’ve learned that being a father means giving everything and nothing at time same time. I give everything, all that I have, all that belongs to my family. And yet, there are times when I give nothing, because that is all they truly want. To just watch a cartoon on the TV while sharing a blanket with Papa on the couch.
Katie Ramirez, RN, BSN, CLC
Born Happy, Owner and Coach