Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Father's Perspective

Here is something my dad wrote giving his perspective from the whole situation.  Thanks dad!


            When Kadie first told Patti and me, it was disbelief, I was waiting for the punch line.  But then I realized it was no joke and she was pregnant.  It was definitely one of those surreal moments. I couldn't believe this was happening, I was in shock.  Of  course all the emotions of anger, sadness, rage, disappointment and embarrassment were there.   Yes, embarrassment.  I had been in church long enough and had been judgmental  enough to know  now it is mine and my family's turn to be judged. 
            As I was learning to deal with the shock and anger and disappointment of the pregnancy itself, I had to deal with the anger towards the biological father….I wanted to lay into him physically and at the very least verbally.  And that disappointment I had in Kadie, because she knew better.  And, I knew the hurt that Kadie was going to go through.  And then the thought of does she even realize what or how this effects more than just her. 
            As a believer in Jesus, I wanted to respond in the proper way.  Don't know if it was right or ever will be, but my thoughts went to what to do now to help my family.  You see, as a father and husband, the hardest thing I have dealt with is failing.  Failing to protect my daughter.  As I look back on it, my failure was the reason for the embarrassment.  My kids, my family are a reflection of me and ultimately of Jesus.  When something like this happens, you find out where you are in your relationship or walk with the Lord.  Is your foundation or trust and well-being on your image of how people see you and think of you and how things are going in your life, which is pride, or is it on THE ROCK - JESUS?

            As time goes by and it sinks in, I started questioning how did this happen.  Well the signs were there for sure, but I ignored them.  Some out of not knowing how to handle the situation and others out of fear and others just didn't want to look at them, you know, ignore them and they will go away, but even most of all, didn't want to believe the signs.


            The disappointment is for Kadie, herself.  As her father, I want what is best for her, for her to find a good man, settle down and be a virgin when she is married, and to be in love and be happy.  She would miss out on so much because of this pregnancy.


            Abortion was never an option for us.  (Let me stop right here.  The biological father wanted the baby aborted.  Thankful, Kadie had a friend named Neely who told her not to, and Nick and Lisa, who are her mentors, that would not have let her do that.  To them, I say thank you!!!)  But what to do and where to go from here was not my strong suit.  Patti and I were in no position physically or emotionally to take Brody for ourselves to raise him for Kadie.  So then it became about what was best for Kadie and Brody.  The first mention of adoption was a definite no way - it's not right.  My first thought was this is not the responsible thing to do and it didn't feel right.  Patti and Kadie had many, and I mean many conversations about what to do and the truth of the matter about Kadie's ability to raise a child, and us not being the ones to do that.  I mostly listened.  About my only advise was to make a decision and stick with it, settle it in your heart so we can proceed accordingly.  Somewhere in there when Kadie decided that adoption was what she was going to do, I accepted that idea and the grace of God has helped me with that. But, in all this, one of my ways of coping with the situations is to stay disconnected in a sense.  Not getting vested, not taking Brody as my grandchild.  In blood he is, but in life and seeing him and interacting with him, he is not. When I first saw him my heart melted.  He was so precious.  I had the thought of this is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.  But, by the grace of God, I have been able to let him go.


            They are great.  Like Kadie said, we just knew they were the right family.  They had a great spirit about them.  Some trusted friends of ours spoke highly of them. (Let me take a moment right here.  If it weren't for our friend whose name is also Patti introducing us to this family, this would not be the same story.  This family was meant to be Brody's family and God used our friend in such a mighty and wonderful way to bring us together.  To her, we will always be grateful!  God uses her more than she knows, but this time, it was a BIGGY!!!  Thank you, Patti Rosenow, for being open to hearing God's voice and following his direction to make this all happen for Brody…and for being there for us through the tears!!)  Now back to the wonderful adoptive family.  Patti (talking about my wife again) and the grandmother got along great and seeing the grandparents helped in the transitioning a great deal.  The fact that Patti never meets a stranger is great and she is very honest and open about everything.  And Kadie is getting like her more and more.  They both asked great questions and the family answered them honestly.  As a father, I more wanted to make sure Kadie was okay and settled in what she wanted and let her do what she wanted.  The open adoption has been great with being able to spend some time holding Brody and seeing pictures and updates.  The adoptive family has been great with that.  I had my reservations about the open adoption simply because of my disconnect from Brody.  The closer I get to him, the harder I felt it would be and that was a concern for Kadie I had.  I mention this but left Kadie to make the decision for I know she is the one that has to live with the decision she makes.  She knows what she needs and since we had seen progress in Kadie and her determination on the open adoption, I was okay with it.   Because of the unity in our family with even our son and daughter-in-law, we all were in agreement that this was the family.  Nobody had a bad feeling.


            Patti and my marriage is great.  Our personalities compliment each other.  Patti talks, I listen, she gets it out there, she asks questions, I listen and observe.  She is more of a disciplinary, strong-willed type and I am more of the grace and mercy, at ease and quiet type.   So for me, the biggest challenge was to balance our personalities for I knew changes needed to happen, but how much and how long.  What perimeters or boundaries for Kadie and deadlines for her to meet or goals to get her life in order.  Taking responsibilities for her actions and her cost.  Questions arose had we been too easy on Kadie or too hard?  Had we given her too much?  The hardest decision was to make Kadie find a place to stay by a certain deadline.  That worked itself out because she moved in with my mother due to her and Patti arguing so much.  Kadie thought that would help their relationship, which it did tremendously.  And, It helped me because I didn't want to pass the buck - make somebody else pay for her actions when we were her parents, yet, knowing down deep it had to be done for the better good.  As it turned out, I think it was the best thing done.  It gave separation and allowed Kadie to stay with my mom and they had some great talks.  It also gave Patti and me time together.  Ironically, also it seems like since Kadie moved out, we have seen a lot more of her than when she was living with us.  Because we both love and care for each other, and for Kadie, we both want what is best for Kadie so we are able to come to agreements about how strict and how gracious to be.  We came to agreements and as the Bible says, the wife is our helpmate.  We are together in this, parenting never really stops, it just changes as the children grow.


            When I told Kadie's brother, Robbie, about her being pregnant, his reaction was lived up to what I thought.  He was very angry.  As the father I knew I had to let him talk and get it out but also had to give him a little background on some things I had seen in Kadie's and his life.  I have a responsibility for Kadie and wanted to put that in perspective to him.  Robbie did bring up some issues or lifestyles in Kadie's life that I hadn't thought about also.  He and Kadie are like their mom, full of wisdom, and can talk, especially when they are emotional.  One of the most impressive things Robbie said was to Patti and me.  That something like this can tear a marriage apart and to make sure we spent time together and watch out for that.  This is something Patti and I did do.  We still had dates and still do.
            I was so glad Robbie and Joanna were there for Kadie and us.  They spent a lot of time with Kadie and helped Patti and me, giving us breaks and knowing that Kadie was around people that loved her.
            I had concerns how family would respond to finding out about Kadie's pregnancy and was prepared to do what it took to protect Kadie from whatever.  But, ultimately, our extended family has been great from both sides, mine and Patti's.  Everybody, even our friends have been there and are supportive.  From my perspective it has been challenging, but out of all this, so far we have gotten closer to Kadie.  She has grown and is involved and engaged in making a difference.  Train up a child and when they are old, they will not depart from it.  I guess Kadie is getting older, cause I can see some of that in her.  Without the Lord, family and friends, I don't know how I would have made it through all this. I cannot emphasis how much family , church friends , & coworkers helped in their encouragement and prays and being there for me and my family.  I don't know how I would have been emotionally without their support.
            You see ultimately it doesn't matter what Kadie does or has done, I will always love her.  I, as her father had to forgive her and I believe forgave her right away.  I had to look at the way God looks at me.  How many times do I mess up and sin against my Father in heaven and the same sins at that and He forgives me.  For I have known the Lord for a long time and having gone through this with Kadie, it’s a great picture and help for me to realize if I being a man can forgive and love Kadie after this, how much more shall God forgive Kadie and myself.  God loved us before we loved Him.  It's God's love and goodness that leads men to repent.  Kadie knew what she did was wrong and that it was sin, but out of this we all still love her.  My family and friends loved her, not just in words, but in actions.  Kadie has seen that and that takes fear away, allows her to be able to come to Patti and me with struggles and can keep going.  She can grow and take it day by day because she is not alone.  As a father, I am for Kadie and if she can't get me she has a Heavenly Father that loves her.  And Brody has a Heavenly Father that loves him so much He sent His only begotten Son to die for the world, so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have Life.  You see, God loves me and has forgiven me so I can love Kadie and forgive her.  We love Brody in a way that is best for him.  He has a family that loves him no matter what.
            So I trust the Lord to keep us and to see us through whatever is in store for us.  I take it one day at a time and hopefully I can grown and be there for Kadie and Brody however I can because I love them and I want what is best for both Kadie and Brody.