Lesson’s Learned from Being a Dad of 9 Teenage Girls for the past 11 Months

Over 11 months ago, my wife and I started on a journey to be the house parents for girls in a group home for kids in the foster care system. We had no idea who was going to be coming or how long they would be staying.

  1. The brokenness is worse then I expected: These girls entering our home came from places I had heard existed, but never seen face to face. Think of the worse and they were there. BUT, they are not shells. They are full of joy, they are caring, thoughtful girls.
  2. The joy of progress is more then I could handle: I have never cried so hard in my life. Not a crying of hurt, but tears of joy. When I think back to the first day of these girls showing up, and now see them there is no comparison. They love deeper because they are loved. They hold on harder because they are held close. They sleep sounder because they know they are safe.
  3. Showing up is a big deal: I have people asking me how they can help the girls. I tell them to show up. The best thing they can receive is “positive adult interaction”. It’s not about saying the right thing or being trained the right way. Those are helpful, but showing up with open arms is big.
  4. The workers are few, the harvest is large: Money is great, backpacks are cool. But time spent with the girls is what they need.
  5. I am the worse best dad they have: 9 out of 9 of the girls do not have a relationship with their dad. They call me dad all day long and it crushes me because I do not feel in any way adequate to be their father. I got a “best dad ever” t-shirt for fathers day and it hit me. At this time in their life, I am the best dad they have.

Everyday is a new adventure. I would not change my last 11 months for anything.