Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Foster Fathers: Making a Difference

by Marina R. Hernandez
Family Developer, Aspiranet-Bakersfield

On Father’s Day, we celebrate and honor those men who have played or are playing a significant role in our up-bringing. Fatherhood is more than just paternity, it is a role that one takes on, and with it comes the responsibility to care for and nurture a child or children. In honor of Father’s Day, Aspiranet, a leading fost-adopt program in Kern County, would like to acknowledge and thank all foster and adoptive dads who are fulfilling their fatherhood role by sharing their love, parenting skills, and support with the many needy children in our community.

Fatherhood takes effort and is a worthwhile and significant role that may often appear unappreciated. Yet, day in and day out, our foster and adoptive dads care and provide for their children to ensure a better life for them. Although paternity plays no role in the relationship, these fathers take on the responsibility courageously, recognizing that every child deserves a loving family and a place to call home.

One dad in particular has gone above and beyond the “fatherhood call of duty.” Tim Popplewell has been a dad with Aspiranet for the past 10 years and has worked with over nine children. Tim and his wife Julie, through their roles as foster parents, have helped two youths emancipate from the foster care system, and have become legal guardians to four of their children.

According to Tim, his motivation to continue on this meaningful journey is simple: “These kids are family, and it’s not that tough to become attached and keep going when you think of them that way.” As in any home, there are definitely challenges. However, Tim believes that the rewards of being a foster dad are well worth any challenge that comes his way. In fact, he states the most rewarding part of parenting children is, “when they identify you as dad, they respond to you as a dad, and want to be part of [your] family.”

Fatherhood is defined by Tim as, “raising kids to be successful and decent human beings, and when they leave this house, they are able to stand on their own two feet.”

Tim Popplewell is Raising Hope and Empowering Community.

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