Two years ago I knew that there would never be another little child calling me daddy. I was hoping there would be new little children calling me Grandpa....or better yet Papa. Well fast forward two years, and I do have a little child calling me Daddy and there are no little children calling me papa. Funny how life works.
The fact that there is no little child calling me Papa is not a big deal or totally unexpected. While I do have three biological children between the ages of 27 and 31, none of them were married until this past June when the youngest got married.
The fact that there is a little child calling me Daddy, on the other hand, is certainly remarkable. Two years ago DW and I had completed our training class to become foster parents. One of the things mentioned in the class was that it can sometimes be confusing for children if they call their foster parents Mommy and Daddy. While it works for some, most people prefer to use something else. There were a lot of other reasons as well that we were given this suggestion by the instructor and quite frankly, I don't remember what they were.
I do remember that when (S) came to us we had her calling us by or first names. We didn't expect her to be here very long. As a matter of fact, I was thinking that by this time there would have been numerous children that had stayed with us temporarily before going back to their homes and living happily ever after with their biological family. I am learning that my view of the foster care system and the families of children involved in the system was really quite naive. I don't like to make generalizations as there are certainly some families where that is the case, but unfortunately those are the ones you don't hear about.
At some point along the way (S) started calling us Mommy and Daddy. At first it was intermittent along with our first names but gradually it has grown to where it is today. She calls us Mommy and Daddy exclusively. She refers to our three biological children as her sisters and brother. She calls my parents her Nanny and Papa etc etc etc. Maybe it was when she satrted calling us that, that we started thinking seriously about adoption. It still is amazing to me that we are not only hoping to adopt a child, but we are expecting to adopt a child.
We want to be her Mommy and Daddy, not just be called that. She considers us to be her family. She is so excited that we have so much family coming to our home for Thanksgiving. There will be 16 of us in all and it will be a great time.
There were a number of things my parents taught us growing up. One thing that was said on many occasions was that "no matter what happens, you always have family". They didn't just say those words either. They have practiced those words throughout.
It is my belief that won't be true for (S) if her family remains the one she was born in to. I can guarantee her that will be the case if the courts see their way clear to terminate the parental rights of her biological family and allow us to adopt her.
It is my hope that the court system and the Judge do not look at this case as the "breaking up of a family" but as a wonderful creation of 3 new, beautiful, and loving families that are interconnected through 5 biological siblings. All 5 of the kids deserve to have the kind of a family that is always there for you.