Father’s Day

A male role model is so important in a child’s life. As father’s day is this Sunday, many foster fathers get left out. However, for children in care, often their foster dads are the main male role model they have. To celebrate all you incredible foster dads on father’s day, we thought we would share with you the story of Nathan Wallis, Neuroscience Educator & Director of X-Factor Education

At the age of five, Nathan was adopted by his step dad. Unfortunately, after that placement broke down, he wound up back in foster care. He had many caregivers growing up but he recalls one foster dad, in particular, that made a big impact on his life.

Nathan recalls Ab, “He was a big scary looking Maori man.” But Ab’s appearance was misleading. Despite his intimidating looks, Ab had a massive heart. “Once you were under his wing” Nathan says fondly, “he would always make sure you were well looked after”.

When Nathan’s cousins were put into the foster care system he couldn’t turn the other way. “When foster care has been your life and you see kids in need – you can’t stand back and watch.” So Nathan took his cousins on board and become a foster parent at age 22. Nathan had been a teenage dad, so parenting wasn’t unfamiliar to him. “What was a couple more kids?,” he joked.

Nathan is now a biological father of three, an adoptive father of two, a grandfather to two, and has fostered over a dozen more children.

During his time as a foster father, Nathan remembers the big hearted Ab and how he was always so openly affectionate. Nathan took inspiration from his foster dad once he became a father. “Ab really taught me not to be afraid to show affection.”

One way Nathan likes to show his affection is by spoiling the kids in his care. “It might seem shallow, but I loved to spoil the kids. Kids used to come back to me as adults and thank me because I made them feel worthy, complete.”

“Foster Dads do the hard yards. But you really have to make each day count. Try and create moments. Don’t worry about their past. Don’t worry about their future. Focus on the right here and right now. Make a memory – one moment of pure goodness. And a collection of those moments will make a lifetime.”

One day is really not enough to celebrate the amazing caregivers who open their homes and hearts to children in need. But it does give us an opportunity to acknowledge and say a huge thank you to all the foster dad’s out there who take kids under their wing and raise them like their own.

 

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