5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

I recently began a podcast series entitled Dad to Dad. In these interviews I sit down with another adoptive dad and talk about what it is like to be an adoptive dad—our shortcomings, funny stories, and what we find that helps us to father well.

Recently I interviewed Marshall Lyles (if you missed it, you can get it HERE), and I asked Marshall this question—What helps you to father well? I liked his answer so much that I decided to write about it. Marshall shared four very insightful ideas that help him, and I add one more. Even though Marshall and I talk about being adoptive dads, these suggestions are helpful for every father.

5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

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Dad to Dad Interview with Marshall Lyles [Podcast 37]

I invited my friend Marshall Lyles over to record a podcast as a part of the Dad to Dad series. To remind you, this series is me and another adoptive or foster dad talking about being a dad to a child from a hard place. We share the joys and challenges hoping that our conversation will encourage and equip you on this journey.

Many of you know Marshall as a counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. But I asked Marshall to talk with me specifically as an adoptive dad which he enthusiastically embraced. Marshall is authentic (as you will hear from some of his self-deprecating stories) and shares with us as if we have been friends our entire lives.

Come listen in as Marshall and I share our hearts with you. I know you will enjoy our conversation.

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If You Can’t Foster or Adopt 10 Kids

Stand Up for at Least One

Let’s admit it. A stereotype exists for foster families. When I say foster, most picture the family that drives a large van or nowadays something like a Sprinter, has boxes of diapers and clothes stacked around their house, and the parents always have that “stressed but I am happy look”.

Then we say, “I am glad they are able to do that because I couldn’t”. After we excuse ourselves from fostering or adopting children, we don’t think about it until it confronts us again.

I am one of those persons that said that I could never be that kind of parent. I know that I couldn’t handle the chaos and change with many kids struggling with different kinds of trauma. I have enough of my own stuff to handle honestly.

However, in every community across our country children wait for a family to take them in either to foster or adopt.

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What Happens When One Person Stands Up?

In 2004, Bishop Aaron Blake stood before his congregation with his adopted sons on his mind. He began sharing with his church that over 30,000 children were in the foster care system in Texas and about 500,000 in the United States.

Then Bishop Blake rhetorically asked, “Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”

Unexpectedly one lady in the back of the church stood and replied, “I will”.

That one response led to another, and another, and another standing all around the church responding to Bishop Blake’s plea to stand with him. *story adapted from CAFO blog

Watch this video as Bishop Aaron Blake tells the story in his own words. And the amazing result.

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3 Reasons Foster and Adoptive Families Will Isolate

What You Need to Do to Reverse It

In a world where technology connects people in more ways over any distance than in other time in history, we might be more isolated than ever. We seem to have lost our ability to, well, connect.

I can hear you thinking, “Because of social media and technology, I reconnected with friends from high school and college.” or “I ‘talk’ to my family more often even though we live in different states or maybe countries.”

Technology, however, will not ever replace community…doing life together. That just can’t happen via text, on social media, or in an online group forum. When you are doing relationships in real time, you don’t get to take that selfie 10 times to present the “look” you want the world to get from you.

It’s live. It’s real. It’s raw.

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Helping Families in Crisis with Amy Curtis and Jennifer McCallum [Podcast 032]

Amy Curtis and Jennifer McCallum work with Buckner Children and Family Counseling Resources. Amy leads the counseling staff, and Jennifer is a post adoption counselor.

I heard Amy speak about helping families in crisis at a break out session at a conference, and I reached out to her to come onto my podcast so we could talk about this important subject.

Foster and adoptive families get lots of training and support while they are in the process of fostering or adopting. Friends and family express excitement about the pending adoption, then throw a big celebration when the day finally arrives. Then far too often the adoptive family is left to fend for themselves.

As an adoptive family struggles, red flags appear that sadly leads many down the road to disruption and dissolution. Disruption defines an adoption that fails before the adoption is final. Dissolution is an adoption that fails after the adoption is final.

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5 Areas of Need in Foster Care and Adoption*

Have you considered what need in foster care or adoption you can meet? Or are you like I was a few years ago? I really had no idea of what foster care really was. And my thoughts about adoption completely focused on me and my wish to have a child of my own. I naively thought that if I weren’t interested in fostering or adopting then it was of no concern to me. I had a shallow understanding of the needs of foster care and adoption.

If you don’t intend on meeting a need of foster care and adoption, you really should stop reading now. Seriously, because if you read more you will find a need you can and should meet.

Looks like you are still here. I am glad!

Here are the 5 Areas of Need in Foster Care and Adoption:

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Chapter 1 and 2 of the Revised Version of Adopting the Father’s Heart [Podcast 31]

Read by Kenneth Camp

I am revising my first book, Adopting the Father’s Heart, for two reasons. Reason number one is I think I am a better writer than I was four years ago (at least I sure hope so). I have wanted to rewrite some sections of the book to make it better. Reason number two I want to add a couple of chapters that update the story. The narrative tells the story up through the adoption of our son. The added chapters will cover the post-adoption part of the story.

Once I finish the revision of the book, I will make it available on Amazon in ebook and print form. However, all my email subscribers will get a free .pdf copy of the revised book.

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Empowering Adoptive Families with Jen Reichert and Becky Wickes [Podcast 029]

Adoptive and foster families often complete tens of hours of required training in order to have a child placed in their family. Foster families continue required training in order to keep their license. However, once a family adopts a child, often they no longer continue training since it isn’t required.

It isn’t uncommon for adoptive families, years after the adoption is final, to experience challenges, failure, and desperation. This is where support is greatly needed. Post-adoptive families need someone to come alongside them to encourage and empower them to finish the race well. Many times it is simply someone who is trauma informed and can reminder the parents of things they learned while in training, maybe years ago.

I met with Jen Reichert, founder of Stand Up Eight, and Becky Wickes, family coach with Stand Up Eight to hear more about their non profit. Stand Up Eight is a non profit program dedicated to empowering post-adoptive families for immediate and lasting change by providing trauma-informed behavior management intervention in their homes.

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Taking A Closer Look at Connection: A TBRI Principle

God created us to connect. If that is true, then why are so many of us terrible at connecting? What many of us don’t realize is that a lot of our ability to connect with others is either enhanced or hindered in the first couple of years of our lives.

The way a parent, especially a mother, interacts with her baby while in utero, the weeks following birth, and throughout the baby months will often come naturally. I think every new parent feels ill-prepared and inadequate when they bring a newborn home. However, all you need to do is watch how people respond when they see a tiny baby. Grown men even will begin babbling in some unknown language as they shower a baby with loving attention. Women line up to take turns holding and rocking the baby. Everyone wants to jump into action to meet every need when the baby cries the slightest whimper.

All of these actions create connection. We now know that this connection creates healthy brain chemistry. Every time a child encounters someone who meets their needs, positive synapses connect across their brain. The child feels safe and can explore their ever expanding world.

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