Where Daddy Go?

Where Daddy Go?

“Where Daddy go?,” the toddler in our home incessantly asks.

After the third time in 60 seconds, I gently ask, “Where did I tell you he is?,” with a twinge of annoyance...and a calming deep breath.

“Daddy working in the garage.” “Daddy working.” “Daddy on a trip.” “Daddy running.” “Daddy do pull-ups.” “Daddy making pasta.” (Her favorite meal without a doubt.)

She gets more and more creative these days. Rarely repeating the answer I’ve given her gently a few seconds before, but making me smile nonetheless.

The profoundness of her sudden propensity (and adoration) of her foster father is not lost on me.

In December when she came into our home, she shut down every time he walked into the room. As she warmed up and began giggling and smiling with me, she reserved only frowns and blank stares for the man she now calls “Daddy.” He’d hold her and she would sit rigidly in the arms where she now melts.

She’s never met her birth father. Before foster care, she only saw a grandfather and uncle infrequently. 

Now months later, she hugs women she’s just met (a little too) quickly, yet remains wary of men. All men, that is, except her “grandfathers” who modeled fatherhood to me and my husband in amazing ways. “Where pop?” “Where grandpa?” are frequent questions, as well. But, Daddy is the most special man of all.

I start singing in the car at her request for “twinkle twinkle star,” and she quickly stops me, “Daddy sing.” I start dancing, and she commands: “Daddy, shake your booty!”

This man she once feared has pushed her to be courageous—to hang upside down, to jump in the water, to try bigger slides. He dotes on her when she comes downstairs in a dress and coyly waits for someone to exclaim, “You look BEAUTIFUL!” He makes her laugh uncontrollably like no one else can.

This father-daughter relationship is a miracle for our little one, the silver lining in her stint in foster care. Where fear once resided, adoration now overwhelms. These are the healthy bonds we dream of and work for as foster parents.

When this precious little one returns home, she may not remember us. She may not remember all of these moments we store up as treasure. But, the strong relational bonds, self-esteem boosts, and courageous steps will forever form who she becomes.

When it’s all said and done, she made us a “mommy” and “daddy” for the first time. Joy and gratefulness abounds.

Author

Brooke Gray, Embrace Oregon Director

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