A New Meaning of Father’s Day

Foster dad and son outdoors
When I was growing up, Father’s Day was not a celebration to me. But the meaning of Father's Day changed completely for me when I met Antwann. He welcomed me into the family. To my dad, Happy Father's Day.

What does Father’s Day mean to me? Father’s Day is a day where you spend time celebrating and explicitly recognizing your dad for everything he has done. It’s a day set apart to thank dads for all they do. The general meaning of Father’s Day is to honor fathers for all the sacrifices they make for their families daily.

For many, a father is their role model in life, someone to guide them when they are young and someone they hope to be like when they are older. However, when I was growing up, I didn’t have that set role model. I never really knew my actual father, and that ultimately led me to not want to be like him. Father’s Day was not a celebration to me.

Growing Up at Palmer Home

A little background about myself: at an early age, my siblings and I were brought to Palmer Home, where we would reside for the next 14 or so years. We left some very unideal circumstances, and Palmer Home was the best place for us to be. Palmer Home was critical in raising us and putting us through school. It also instilled a work ethic in me that I still carry to this day. From an early age, they taught us that if we wanted something, we would have to work for it. I am thankful for that and for learning the importance of education. If Palmer Home had not invested in my education by sending me to a Christian school, I would never have met Antwann, who would go on to become my official Dad.

Looking back, I can’t remember celebrating Father’s Day. That’s not to say that the caregivers at Palmer Home were not deserving of the recognition; it was just a different feeling. Father’s Day didn’t have much meaning to me. However, around the age of 17, that started to change. A father figure began to surface in my life from an unlikely source.

Father’s Day with a Family

Through a sponsorship program at Palmer Home, I developed a relationship with Antwann Richardson, one of my football/basketball coaches, and his wife, Kaleena. It started as rides to and from school and games but ultimately led to more. Our relationship began to solidify itself when we went to visit a college for football. On the way back, Antwann asked if I’d like to move in with them and become a part of the family. I accepted without hesitation and moved in with them my senior year. I began to understand what it was like to be a part of a family. I’d say that was a turning point as I transitioned from Palmer Home to their house. I joined the family and actually experienced Father’s Day with a dad.

What Father’s Day Means to Me Now

Foster dad and son

Through the years, Father’s Day has become more of a celebration. I now have someone to look up to and aspire to be like, which completely changed the meaning of Father’s Day for me. Leaving a legacy and living a life in service of others is something I hear my father talk about often. He demonstrates it for me in the way he handles himself and lives his life. Through the years, he has guided me in deciding where to go to college and navigating various other decisions. Speaking beyond that, though, I now have someone that I can go to who will always be there for me. I know he has my best interest at heart.

If you are considering fostering, I would encourage it. The impact you will have on a kid’s life will be immeasurable. They will forever be thankful for that. Choosing to foster a kid and being willing to invite them into your family is, in my opinion, one of the most selfless things one can do. Without foster parents, kids like me would never have the opportunity to truly be a part of a family.

I was later adopted by Antwann and Kaleena. I went on to play college football and will be graduating this May before starting a job at an accounting firm. Without Antwann and Kaleena in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am extremely thankful for both of them.

I’d like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the dads for what they do for their families.

To my dad specifically, Happy Father’s Day. Thank you for all you do. I hope it’s a great one!

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