Just over a year ago, we penned these words – not knowing for sure what would come of them. We poured tears and prayer into the words and, by God’s grace, the letter was received with gratitude when we delivered it. This man we now refer to as their “first dad” has become an extension of our family and we will never regret the decision to show him love.
To the Dad of our “littles”:
Go ahead and give us your update…that phrase has been repeated in nearly every team meeting as you sit, all eyes on you, forced to face or hide whatever ills you may have encountered in the weeks since it was last asked.
But we’re not writing to ask for an update or to tell you where you’ve failed. We aren’t here to talk about that. We’ve been talking about that on a monthly basis for the past year and a half. In these long and difficult months, you’ve been reminded weekly, if not daily, of your sins and mistakes. You’ve been criticized, encouraged, humiliated, and helped. Thankfully, our role is not to be your judge or determine the legal consequences/accountability; there are others who bear that weight, and though we support them, we also want you to know that we see you in this. We see your effort, your hurt, and your love for your children. You are not the same person you were when you began, regardless of the outcome
These last two years have been rough, and the losses have been inexpressible. We’ve been angry with you and heartbroken for you…and everything in between. We’ve watched your ups and downs, cheered for you, and found our hearts overwhelmed with both grief and compassion for you. The failures you feel may haunt you for years to come, but we are compelled to tell you a different story – the one we’re afraid you might miss in the midst of the anger and hurt. It’s the story of what you’ve done right:
- You’ve stood
Thank you for standing: in the heat, and under the microscope, and through the trials, to show that you love your children and want to be sure they are safe. You’ve stood strong at times and you’ve been brought to your knees at times, but you’ve continued to stand back up. Thank you for standing.
- You’ve stayed
Thank you for staying faithful to see your kids so they can have the satisfaction of knowing that your time with them is the highlight of your week. You’ve stayed in baby girl’s life to be “Dad” when you didn’t have to be. You’ve stayed determined to figure out their needs, and wants, and learn what makes them laugh. You’ve stayed supportive of us from the very start, never treating us as the enemy, and possibly never knowing just how much your positive feedback has meant to us.
- You’ve grown
Thank you for growing and progressing. You’ve willingly taken advice and input to help you grow as a Dad, and you persisted with a colicky baby, always eager to learn what “worked” for him. You’ve grown in your willingness to face this process and you’ve grown by taking more steps in the right direction than ever before. You’ve been challenged and stretched, and the process is painful, but you’ve grown, and growth makes it worthwhile.
- You’ve given
Thank you for giving life to a little man who wears a portion of you in his features and his heart, and for giving a treasure of a daughter your love and fatherhood without question. You’ve given a part of yourself and you’ve given us no doubt that your love for them is great.
We don’t know what comes next any more than you do, nor can we predict how the story ends, but we do know that teaching these sweet children to love and honor each of their parents is of utmost importance, and you’ve given them a gift with all that you’ve done right. We pray for you daily and count it a privilege to do so.
Thank you for your kindness to us.