I spent the day with Dea yesterday because of a dentist appointment. Technically, he was done at noon but his dentist is clear on the other side of town and running a few errands on the way home gave us the opportunity to hang out with a doctor's excuse.
Hey, it's not like this is my first rodeo. I was at my beloved Klein High School just a few short years ago (or 18) and I know a thing or two about working the system.
He's really a great kid. He's funny, polite, and a little awkwardly thankful for anything that's done for him. I loved getting some time with just he and Sadie to talk and laugh and learn more about his life before he came to live with us and what he wants it to look like beyond high school.
Before his dentist appointment, we had to stop by the shelter where his parents are living to pick up his Medicaid forms so he could give them to his dentist. Dea said that in his 17 years, he had never seen his dad work even one day.
I've told you before what an incredible work ethic Dea has. He's never missed a day and is both on time and willing to stay later if needed. I've never heard him once complain about having to work or being scheduled on a Friday and Saturday night when most of his friends are hanging out. He's also saved almost every penny he's earned and now has more money in the bank than he's ever seen before, except maybe the money stuffed into the dashboard of the dealer they knew from their old apartments.
When we went to pick up his paperwork from his father, I waited in the car and Dea went to the corner where they had arranged to meet. I didn't see what transpired but after just a minute, Dea was back in my car ready to go. He had a look in his eyes of both disappointment and confirmed expectations.
"What did he say, bud?"
"He shook my hand and asked me if I had any money for him. I told him 'no' so he handed me the paper and walked off."
I wanted to scream. For once in this kid's life, I want his father to be a father to him. To look him in the eye and see what we see. To be proud of him without asking for money, or beer, or cigarettes.
There is a great need in this community for fathers. We've got more 'baby daddy's' than we know what to do with but few of them know what it means to be a father. The result shows up in the eyes of a son who, even when he's learned to have no expectations, he can't help but hope that, one day, it will be different.
Thank you, Lord, that you are a Father to the fatherless and promise not to do harm but to give us a future and a hope.