Showing Love for My Step Children
George Washington was a Step Father
It is often said that the Lord works in mysterious ways and in allowing me to fulfill my desire to follow in the footsteps of my father, of which I am the first born of five, and have a large family of my own, the path has been anything but predictable.
In answer to my prayers I have been blessed with four wonderful children and have experienced the joy and love of being a biological father, an adoptive father and a stepfather.
I love them all, each in their own way, and cannot imagine my life without them.
Words cannot describe the rush of emotions a father feels when, minutes after birth, a nurse places your newborn child in your arms. Love. Pride. Responsibility.
This is the child you helped to create and, in its current helpless state, is totally dependent upon you for the very life you have given to it. I still remember those feelings when I first held my new born son,Victor, in the hospital some twenty years ago.
Adopting Our First Son From Abroad
However, I also remember similar feelings, but different circumstances, that occurred some three years earlier in the dusty little town of Progresso, Honduras when I first laid eyes on the little boy who became my first son.
Newly married, my wife had expressed to a friend and his wife, who were visiting us while on vacation from his job at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras, a desire to adopt a child from abroad.
Nothing definite, simply a chance remark about an idea we had discussed briefly.
My friend's wife immediately thought it was a great idea and encouraged us to come to Honduras as there were, according to her, orphanages full of children needing parents and adopting one was almost as easy as picking up food at the grocery store.
It turned out not to be that easy but, once we started down that road we never considered turning back.
The paperwork took about a year and, with that completed, we flew to Honduras where my friend and his family lived and attempted to locate a child. We had a couple of slim leads which we followed up on and were fortunate in finding the child we desired.
Our first encounter with the toddler who became our first child was described in one of my earlier Hubs entitled We Find David. My feelings that day were similar to those I would later feel at the birth of our second son.
The only negative thoughts on that and the days immediately following our return to Tegucigalpa where we waited at my friend's home while the adoption was finalized, was a nagging what if fear.
What if something had something had gone differently and we had not found our way to this child? Like my second son, as soon as I took my soon to be adopted child in my arms he became my child and the thought of life without him was unacceptable.
To me there has never been a difference in my feelings toward both of my sons although, as unique and different individuals my interactions with each one are different.
Life As a Single Parent
Unfortunately, a few years after our second son's birth, our marriage failed and I spent the next decade as a single parent.
With my efforts focused on raising two children while trying to make a living at the same time, there was no time for a social life away from my children.
However, as they grew into teenagers and began having more of a social life of their own, my thoughts turned to finding another wife.
With my children still at home and not wanting to have a new marriage come between my sons and me, I decided that I needed a woman who was used to children and, if I expected her to accept my children I would have to accept hers as well.
A New Wife and Two More Children
I had always wanted more children, so the prospect of acquiring additional children through marriage was appealing.
As it turned out the woman I found and fell deeply in love with had a daughter who was one week younger than my oldest and a son who was two years younger than my youngest.
All were in their teens (actually the two oldest ones were twenty when we married) and were mature enough to accept each other.
While neither of us pushed our children to quickly bond into one big family as we might have been inclined to do had they been younger, I was fully prepared to love all four of them equally.
As with my first son, meeting my two step children was an abrupt event. I had met my step daughter briefly a couple of years earlier while visiting my then wife to be in Russia.
However, between friends and work she wasn't around much and her brother was away in the country the whole time with his grandparents.
I did, however, get to interact,despite our language barrier, and teach her one thing. She worked in a small cafe where my wife to be and I dined on a number of occasions during my visit.
Lora would wait on us and would walk us to the door when we left. Once out of site of the owner I would give her a tip explaining that, in America tips went to the server not the owner. I was probably considered a cheapskate by the owner for not leaving a tip, but my step daughter to be was obviously happy with my little ruse.
Two years later I met my step son for the first time at the Los Angles Airport when he arrived with his mother and sister. I quickly took both children into my heart and never took time to distinguish between my wife's and mine as far as any of our four children were concerned. They responded in kind and I know of no parent who is happier with their children than me.
He best deserves the Name of Father Who Acts the Part of One
As a life long lover of history I have always known that George Washington, in addition to being the Father of our Country, was also a step father and adoptive father.
Upon his marriage to Martha he became the step father to her two children, both of whom he treated as his own.
Later in life he and Martha also adopted and raised two of their grandchildren following the early death of her son John Parke Custis just prior to the battle of Yorktown where John was serving under his father's command (John Parke Custis was among the many who died of disease just prior to the actual battle).
In a letter written to Washington in 1776, John Parke Custis summed up his feelings toward Washington with these words ...It pleased the Almighty to deprive me at a very early Period of Life of my Father, but I can not sufficiently adore His Goodness in sending Me so good a Guardian as you Sir.
Later in the same letter he provided the perfect definition of fatherhood when he wrote He best deserves the Name of Father who acts the Part of one.... .
The best way to show love to an adopted or step child is to simply act the part of a father (or mother as the case may be).
My Other Hubs on Love
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