Sometimes I’m like a bull in a china closet and I was on this day, barging into the room without any kind of notice. It’s not that I was being rude; it’s just that I thought I knew what I would see. But I was wrong. The foster mom was there, and the little boy. But so was his dad.
My mind raced back a couple of years, to the first day I met the boy. Dirty. Disheveled. In need of a bath and a haircut. Not too long after, I met the dad. He looked about the same. It was clear he cared about the boy; equally clear he wasn’t really able to take care of him. But he tried, attending court, and visits, and parenting classes. Working odd jobs in an attempt to find stability. It didn’t really happen though, at least not in a way a little boy needs. At some point the judge and the case worker gave up, and scheduled a trial to present the evidence and allow a jury to consider taking away the rights to his child.
I expected him to fight – he’d always been proud and a fighter. Long after I thought he would give up. Long after most parents would have. But I had heard that in a meeting a few days earlier, he had surprised everyone with his humility and the most generous but also painful gift to his son that a parent could ever give – the opportunity to be in a better place than he could provide.
I didn’t expect to see him that day. Or maybe ever. Figured he would cut ties and be on with life. So when I saw him lying quietly beside the sleeping boy, stroking his hair and whispering to him softly, I was stunned. Stopped in my tracks. And immediately, I was overwhelmed with the love it takes for a father to give up his son.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son…” John 3:16 (MSG)