My wife babysits a friend’s son, who is 2 years old. When our son started to call me Dad not too long ago, our friend’s son did the same. I wasn’t sure what to do, and I also didn’t know how or if I should try to discourage him from saying it while also encouraging my son to say it at the same time.
This got me thinking, what makes someone a dad? My biological father left before I was born, but he is still technically my dad if you read my birth certificate. My mom dated sporadically until I was 7 when she met my step dad, who also is the biological father of my two younger brothers. He and my mom got married after I turned 18 so he was never able to adopt me. Technically, this means he was never legally my dad, but I consider him to be my dad.
So, what do I think makes a dad a man? I feel that it is not legal status, but rather the level of involvement that person has with you. These days there are all sorts of studies that children that grow up with two parents can have an improved chance at success. This is where fathers need to step up! We foster dads don’t need to be perfect, “manly/macho” men who are good at sports and camping, but we need to be supportive, involved, caring individuals that foster an environment of love and home for whatever child comes our way! That is what makes a man a dad.
Whether the kids in our home are biological, adoptive or foster children, and whether they are here to stay or will be reunited with their biological family, I know that by doing my best to be a supportive, involved, and caring man, and I will be the dad that they deserve.
Henry Knutson, licensed foster parent