The #1000Families Project.
Looking Back, Into My Future.
When you hear that a father has been awarded custody of four children, it is quite unusual. In the early 1980s, it was pretty much unheard of, but that happened to me. It was an unorthodox family, to say the least.
My dad worked incredibly hard to bring myself and my three older sisters up and gave me a real sense of what it takes to be a father.
Now he is no longer with us. I understand of course he wasn’t perfect and made mistakes along the way. There were no blogs to refer to, no one in a similar situation to lean on and the social services were seen as the enemy rather than a support network. I have no idea how he coped and kept the unfaltering smile on his face, yet he did with aplomb.
I became a father myself four years ago when my son launched himself into the world prematurely after a pregnancy dogged by pre-eclampsia and my world stopped and rebooted itself. I started to understand the feeling you have as a parent that nothing but nothing would stop you from making sure your children would get the best of everything. Wanting them to be kept secure, safe, and happy surrounded by unconditional love is fundamental.
I can vividly recall being sat on the sofa a week or so after we brought my son home. He was laying beside me and it hit me like a smash in the chest. A massive rush of euphoria came cascading through me as I looked down on the most beautiful little thing I had ever laid eyes on. I knew from that moment what my role was; it was to take and learn from the successes and mistakes my father had made to be the best-damned father I could be.
Both my wife and I came from large families and wanted to emulate this, but Mother Nature has her own plans and having more birth children is not part of her role for us.
Our Unorthodox Family Plan
We still want a houseful of children, laughing, shouting, screaming, and learning in a loving and secure environment. Given my wife’s background in social services, our next step is to foster. Potentially we would like to adopt but for the next few years I want my son to grow up with dozens of siblings and have the chance to learn, give and receive love from them.
Of course, I am not naive enough to believe this will be anything like plain sailing. The children that will come to us will have been through some heart-breaking and incredibly painful times and will wear the scars of this deep down. I genuinely believe we can help them by providing a stable home environment. The care, and 1-2-1 attention they need to be able hopeful heal some of those scars.
Growing up, it was an unorthodox family life. I experienced some very dark times, but I came out on the other side with my scars as part of me rather than having them define me and my future. This is something I want to show to as many children as possible and being able to be a dad/friend/mentor/shoulder to cry on/strong arm to protect and daft old sod to laugh at will let me do that I hope.
This post was originally published on thenewfamily.com as part of their fantastic #1000families project.
The aim of the project is to tell a 1,000 different stories of diverse family life from around the world. I was so pleased to be asked to contribute. Do check out the rest of the stories on there.