Category Archives: fatherhood

Parenting: We reached the “Why?” Stage

“Where did momma go?” asks our three-year-old foster kid.

“She went to visit her friend,” I say. “She’ll be back later.”

“Why?”

“Because she wants to come back. She would miss us.”

“Why?”

“Because she loves us.”

“Why?”

“Because she does.”

“Why?”

“Um. Let’s practice not talking.”

“Why?”

**sigh**

I Haven’t Had My Coffee Yet… Don’t Make Me Destroy You

Don't make me destroy you #internationalcoffeeday

This is how I feel in the mornings when the kids wake me up two hours before my alarm goes off!

Green Eggs, Adoption, and some Ham in the Philippines

Green Eggs, Adoption, and some Ham in the Philippines by IshIsm.com
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

In the Philippines I have seen a lot of children who are struggling toward an impoverished future because of the extreme poverty of their parents. I myself grew up very poor in the United States. So poor that some winters I lived in a house with no power with my mother. In addition, I was in a foster home and nearly adopted when I was 11-ish. That was in the 1980s. Today in the United States, if social services discovered the same conditions I was living in… a child will most likely be put in a long-term foster home or adopted.

However, adoption in the United States is different than adoption in other countries. Adopting a child in the United States may mean having a child with emotional disorders from parental abuse. It could mean adopting a child with birth defects from maternal drug abuse. Adopting in other countries reminds me of what I stereotypically think of adoption… taking in an orphan. However, there is a long list of reasons why an international child can be an orphan which can cause emotional issues that do not involve the death of parents. In Uganda, many mothers abandon their children from a previous marriage when they got remarried because the new husband only wants to take care of HIS children.

Anyway, my wife and I are staying with a wonderful family in the Philippines while I do my research on poverty and health care. One of the cool things about this family is their commitment to adoption. I am honestly unsure how many children they have adopted over the years, but I am guessing it is 8 or 9 (I lost count). It is something the father in the family strongly believes in because he grew up an orphan in the Philippines.

Well, adoption is something I have always been interested in because of how I grew up. I have already started collecting Dr. Seuss books to read to my children some day. I have great memories of Dr. Seuss books despite how hard growing up was for me. Green Eggs and Ham is the book that inspired my love of reading. However, the point is… whether I have biological children or adopted, I want to read to them. And I don’t want to read to them from an ipad. I want to read to them from a book. With paper. And whether it is The Sneetches, Green Eggs and Ham, the Lorax, or another story… Dr. Seuss is something I want to share with my kids.

Hearing this man in the Philippines talk about the children he has adopted, and the extreme poverty they were living in before, rekindles my spirit to adopt. Adopting any child is probably going to be emotionally challenging. How will I handle a child if he/she has behavioral issues from parental abuse? These are things I think about when I consider adopting. Do I have an incorrect stereotype when I think adopting a child in the U.S. most likely means adopting a child with behavioral issues?

Adopting right now might be crazy because I am in grad school working on my thesis… but someday sooner rather than later I hope to open my home up to adoption. My main limitation is finances.

Sunday we met a family who has “pseudo-adopted” 6 beautiful little girls. I am still learning how things work in the Philippines, but pseudo-adoption is the best term I can think of to describe it. This family feeds, clothes, and provides shelter for 6 girls who have mothers … but the mothers need financial help. So, we have seen two different types of “adoption” in the Philippines. I guess the pseudo-adoption could be considered similar to sponsoring a child… but how many sponsored children do you know of that “live” in the home of the sponsor? Seeing these 6 beautiful little girls who were “pseudo-adopted” reinforced my desire to adopt.

Well, this post is starting to ramble… so I will finish with some ham. The Philippines has no Home Owners Association. Personally I hate HOAs. Where is this going? Keep reading.

My wife and I have stayed with two different host families. This past Sunday, we returned from spending the weekend with the second host family (the ones who pseudo-adopted the 6 girls). And the neighbors were having a wake. In the Philippines, our host told us a wake can go from 6 p.m. to midnight… and sometimes longer. Well, the neighbors had at least a 24-hour wake. And at 3 a.m. the neighbors decided to slaughter a pig. And then they slaughtered a second pig at 5 a.m. I am not sure if this was for the people at the wake, or perhaps in preparation for a large dinner sometime in the evening… but my wife and I definitely noticed when the two pigs were slaughtered at 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

If you have never heard a pig being slaughtered, it sounded similar to what I imagine a poltergeist would sound like… wailing, screeching, for several minutes. This may be the only time in my life I wanted an HOA, because by my estimate we were within 30 feet of the screeching and wailing pigs. Before coming to the Philippines I never imagined I would add “not being woken up by the poltergeist-like sounds of pigs being slaughtered” to my list of reasons that I miss the USA.

Well, that is all for now. I am exhausted because the slaughtering of the pigs really disrupted my sleep pattern. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

How to be a Man

What does a good man look like? This is something men at my church discussed this past weekend.

I do my best to be a good husband. It is a struggle sometimes because my wife has been unable to find a job… which means we live on the meager graduate student salary I receive from the university. We do not have children yet but we hope to have them someday, even if it means adoption. If we adopt that is something we are open to and have discussed on more than one occasion.

Below is the list that men at my church came up with about how to be a man. Although some men worried that their wives may use this list as a weapon against them all of us agreed this was a good list.

I do know I want to do all these things for my family. Seeing them written down was strange. I am not sure why but seeing them written was just different. The list was inspired by a 2011 movie called Courageous. This list contains all the promises that I made when I married my wife 11 months ago.

HOW TO BE A FAITHFUL MAN

  • HE WILL sincerely resolve before God to take full responsibility for himself and those God has placed in his immediate care.
  • HE WILL love, protect, serve, and teach the Word of God as the spiritual leader of his home.
  • HE WILL be a faithful man, love and honor others, and be willing to lay down his life as Jesus Christ did for him.
  • HE WILL bless his children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.
  • HE WILL train his children to honor authority and live responsibly.
  • HE WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.
  • HE WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.
  • HE WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of his family and be an example of a giving and faithful steward of his finances.
  • HE WILL forgive those who have wronged him and reconcile with those he has wronged.
  • HE WILL learn from my mistakes, repents of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.
  • HE WILL seek to honor God, be a faithful supporter to His church, obey His Word, and do His Will.
  • “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

Notice there was nothing about who can drink the most beers, who has the best guns, who is the strongest, who drives the best car, or who has the most money. If you are not a Christian and reading this list, are there things you can still take away from it to be a better father/husband? If you are a Christian is there anything that was left off this list?

Comment below and also share this with others. Thanks for reading!