There are many awesome fathers who are not birth-fathers; there are many birth-fathers who are no more than sperm-donors. I don’t mean to ignore all the great fathers out there who are birth-fathers, but I’d like to pay homage to those men who have filled the gap for many “fatherless” kids.
There are many reasons why you may not have produced any children of your own:
- You are not married and know that to bring a child into the world without a committed relationship to the child’s mother would not be what is best for the child, for the mother, or for you.
- You have not met a woman that you would choose to be in an on-going relationship with.
- You and your wife are both so intent on your career that it would be a disservice to any children you might produce.
- You and your wife have not been able to conceive for physical, emotional or providential reasons.
- You and your wife have felt that God’s plan for your lives would be hindered by having children of your own.
For whatever reason, you are not yet a birth-father. But somewhere along the way, God has put children in your life through your work, your church, your extended family, your neighborhood, or your volunteer positions.
God has put kids in your life whose own fathers cannot be there for them due to extended military service, death, or sickness; or who are present, but are abusive or negligent in their father role; or those who don’t know how to father their kids, because of their own lack of a good father role model.
Many a messy divorce has resulted in distance between kids and their birth-fathers, who don’t know how to bridge the gap. Perhaps a child you know is merely a product of a sperm-donor and has never had a father in his/her life.
For whatever reason, God has placed you in the life of a fatherless child, and you care about that child. You have used your opportunity to be a father to someone else’s child. You are a surrogate father and you deserve honor as we celebrate Fathers’ Day.
The Bible reveals God’s heart about surrogate parenting:
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction . . .” (ESV)
Psalm 68:5 “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” (NIV)
Being a father is no easy task, but even the smallest efforts at being there as a surrogate father for the kid(s) God has put in your life can result in fantastic rewards, both for you and those children.
My husband, David, is a surrogate father – and he is a fantastic dad to many kids whom God has brought our way over the years. We are one of those couples that God chose not to have our own children. When we did conceive, there were miscarriages. We chose not to go the route of mechanical medical means of conception – we wanted children from God, not science.
And the Lord has brought many such kids into our lives over the course of our 33-year marriage. We have worked with youth groups, as Sunday school teachers, as speakers and counselors at youth camps, and informally with kids – children of our friends, relatives, and church members and others. We love children.
The Lord put several kids in our lives who have become “family”. We have heart adoptions that are as real to us as if they were our own kids. We have one special daughter whom God brought into our lives through our youth group ministry over 20-years ago, who is still in our lives today.
David has both a human and a Godly influence on our “kids”. He does fun things with them, just to have fun. He also gets into deep conversations with them on matters of the soul – the way they live their lives – and on their relationship with God. He truly has a “father-anointing”, which is recognized not only by young children and teens, but also by young adults – matter of fact, he also “fathers” older adults who are “spiritual children”.
My husband amazes me with his ability to know when and how to do certain things with his “kids” – fun things; work projects, in which he instructs as he works with them; pizza or coffee times that lead to deeper discussions. He has that uncanny ability to know when to press in and when to lighten-up.
These “adopted kids” – who are not from government programs, but were placed in our lives by a higher office – know that David loves them with the right kind of love, that he is interested in them, that he accepts them. They also know instinctively when the lifestyle or action they choose at any given moment would hurt him or betray the values he has shared with them – at those times they distance themselves – David does not pursue, he waits for their return to God and to relationship.
I have witnessed the effects that my husband’s life has had on so many children and adults; I know that both he and they have grown from those “father encounters”, those times of confrontation and encouragement to be all they can be as children of God.
If you have not yet had the joy of surrogate fatherhood, extending God’s love, offer yourself to the Lord God for that purpose. Trust Him to give you all you need to be a father to the hurting, the lost, the fatherless, the confused – those who just need a father-friend.
If you have allowed God to use you in this way as a father in some child’s life, you are in the place where God has positioned you. Continue to persevere, to reach out, to befriend those fatherless children, and to love them with God’s love. Don’t give up on the kids He has placed in your life. Hold them in prayer continually before the ultimate Father of all fathers.
Happy Fathers’ Day, surrogate dads.
©2012, Marcy Alves
- A Father to the fatherless (catholicherald.com)
- Father (veemedia.wordpress.com)
- Children growing up in ‘men deserts’ with no father in 65% of homes in Liverpool ward (metro.co.uk)
- Study: 60 percent of Richmond families are fatherless (wtvr.com)