Let me tell you about a little girl I knew when I worked in after-school care. For the sake of confidentiality, I'll call her K. Her mom loved her very much, but she also loved the men in her life. Her mother had been divorced twice and had brought several boyfriends into her daughter's life. Every time she'd gotten serious with a man, K had been taught to call that man "daddy." Eventually, she'd had a second daughter, K's half-sister.
One day, a man came into the after-care room. I knew this man was K's half-sister's biological dad. K jumped up, calling "Daddy!" as she had been taught to. He ignored her. His eyes skimmed the room for his biological daughter and he picked up the younger girl. K pranced around his feet, trying to get his attention. He wouldn't give it. He was in a hurry to leave.
As he walked down the hall, carrying his daughter, the girl who called him "Daddy" was left to watch him leave without a goodbye.
It broke my heart to watch this little girl see her family leave. I have never forgotten it and I never will....
Let me tell you about my grandfather. When he married my grandmother, my dad was already three years old. I didn't learn that he wasn't my biological grandpa until I was in middle school. It didn't matter. He was my grandpa. In my dad's eyes, he had always been his father.
Grandpa passed away last month. My dad is turning fifty-eight this month. Grandpa never once backed away from his fatherly role in over half a century. My dad respected his father, and knew him to be "Dad" from his actions, not just because his mom told him that the man was his new daddy.
The world is not perfect. It is broken and messy. Relationships are hard, and emotions and egos are fragile.
Parents need to be the stability of a child's life. Parents feed a child's self-worth, and provide a safe springboard to grow and learn.
For K, the last time I saw her she was hungry for male attention, and growing up far too fast for her eight years of age. For my dad, he grew up confident in who he was and where he came from.
A family doesn't have to be blood. It can be blended, adopted, traditional, generational, or what have you. It just needs to be a forever family, full of love and forgiveness, as Christ loves and forgives us.