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Episode 57

A Father’s Day Special

David Maibach, Adoptive Dad

You’re listening to Together by AGCI. I’m Marisa Butterworth.

When our team was brainstorming about this special Father’s Day episode, one person’s name kept coming to my mind. I thought he’d be too busy to be able to help, but eventually I decided to stop saying his no for him and just ask if he’d be willing to share. It turns out there was a reason that guy kept bringing his name to mind.

David Maibach is an adoptive dad of two sons from Ethiopia and has been happily married to his wife Clarissa for the last 27 years. He is a lifelong resident of Ohio, where he works as a senior product manager at a software development company. In addition to being a pastor at their church, David had a lot to share, and I hope that you walk away from it as moved as I did.

David, thank you so much for taking the time to jump on this podcast with me. And chat with everybody and share with us about what it’s like to be an adopted dad. And this is kind of an unofficial and unofficial official Father’s Day special. And I feel like it’s special because you’re on here. But we’re just I’m so excited to hear more of your story and we I know I feel so honored that you’d be willing to come on and share that with us.

Well, Marissa, thank you so much. It’s a it’s a privilege to be with you today. Thanks for the invitation. It’s been it’s been quite the quite the journey. I feel like I’ve I’ve learned way more probably than you would think the parents should be learning, but that’s actually real parents know that if you’re not a parent yet, there’s a lot to learn.

Sorry to spoil. So, yeah, so spoiler alert here. Here, for sure. I feel like I’m there’s just that, you know, as soon as you think you have something figured out, something else happens, so you have more to learn. Yeah, for sure. Well, I met you and your family for the first time last year, and I loved just hearing a bit about your journey and your family’s adoption journey, specifically.

Where do you mind sharing it with us? Oh, absolutely. Glad to do that. And so I guess we’ll start with Larissa. And I had been married 13 years, and we did not have children. And, you know, I’m very empathetic to those of our friends and those we meet that really struggle with infertility. But that was never our story.

So we were we were, you know, bopping along pretty happy. And I don’t know what your congregation’s like moreso, but, you know, there’s kind of a pattern to these things. You know, nobody asks if you’re pregnant yet when you’ve been married a year. But then from year one to five, everybody’s like young kids. And then the pressure’s on five.

Well, about year five, like, it starts to get silent and they don’t ask anymore. Because they wonder. And then we find it. You’re ten. They start to give you the sad eyes, like, oh, we’re so sorry. And so we’re like, we. So so we were we were in this sad AIDS stage, but so are our first adoption is really inextricably linked with health crisis that I had.

So I have several autoimmune diseases. And at the time, one of them was really flaring up and I was facing a surgery and it hadn’t quite got to that bad of a state. When we signed our contract with GCF and you can appreciate the the timeline. Our contract to having our son home was seven months signed the contract so.

Yeah. So we had heard that, oh, it’s two to three years. So we’re like, but sign the contract, get things in the progress, we’ll get the surgery handled Well, that’s, that was not our story. So thank you. Yeah. So yeah, during this time period, I lost about £50. I, you know, I ended up having the surgery. It took me almost two weeks to get back out of the hospital.

It took a while to get back on my feet. But, but through this, we actually signed the adoption paperwork from the hospital. So we were in the hospital, you know, signing papers on one of those janky little trays that actually was never at the right height, of course. So, yeah, so we were doing that post up. It took a long time for me to get back on my feet, and it was really a journey of faith.

You know, we had to pray through every decision. So, you know, God, is this our child? Yes. The paperwork we get through is like, OK, well, it’s coming fast. Do I buy do I buy plane tickets to fly to Ethiopia? Yep. Buy the plane tickets to fly to Ethiopia. I couldn’t at the time we purchased them I was not healthy enough to travel.

And it wasn’t until about the week before we flew, I flew in country that I was actually finally in a spot where I could travel. And it was interesting during that time was a very obscure, you know, Old Testament reference we were reading through that just kept coming up again and again. And it’s like so may, may or may not anybody listening to what that is.

But that was the town where David as men live when they were with the Philistines. And so he was at a point where he was living with the enemy and they actually went to war and they they wouldn’t even use him. So it’s like he was at the lowest point in his life. And it was at that time when, you know, another tribe came in and, you know, raided his town and took all the women and all the stuff while he was out getting rejected for war and from that point, it was about, I think, two or three weeks until he was finally anointed king.

And it’s like God just kept pushing in on us and reminding us. It’s like, look, this is this is the way you see your condition, but like, I can redeem all of that. So that was that was kind of where we were at that time. So fast forward, we get into. So it was by no means healthy. You know, I was all the way up to like £140 at this point.

When we flew to, to Addis Ababa. And I think it’s like three and a half miles higher than Mount Everest, I think. And I think you’re right. So, you know, we got there and you know, my hemoglobin is low. We can hardly breathe through the country. But, you know, we started we were actually with the largest group ever, I think in GCI history.

There were there were 12 families and 15 children adopted in our group when we were there. It was like a very rowdy cocktail party. Yes. But anyhow, it was pretty exciting. Our oldest son and we’ll see, you know, maybe talk about this some later. He has an enormous amount of self esteem. So our first night, like you would go and you would meet him and at the time, and then you go to court and then they come back to the hotel, maybe your children and they don’t know it.

And you know it. And so, you know, when, when we told your colleague it was time to go to bed, he’s like heading for the door, ready to go back. That’s amazing. All right. He’s ready to go. Yeah, yeah, he’s ready to go home. And, you know, he cried a little bit when we put him to bed, but his resilience we literally woke up to like he was sleeping between us and we woke up to him kissing us like he would kiss he would kiss us in the nose.

And if I remember the words right, like a finger, which is nose, and then he’d want us to kiss his nose, and then he would do that to both of us. And then he would, like, point to his chin signature cheek. And so we kiss his cheek, and then he kissed her cheek. So. So also, this was the scene of Larissa’s Beth’s birthday gift ever, we realized.

So she’s jetlagged and like, I am very weak at this point. And so we realized kind of belatedly that one of the days we were there was actually a birthday. And like I tell you, I’ve got this go take a nap. And so she she went and cried for 2 hours. And and during that time alone, I learned a secret handshake.

And we really love it. OK, kind of, you know, on this tree. Yes. Yeah, we did. We had some good Father-Son time. And then ultimately, honestly, the thing that’s most most memorable is on the way home I got I pick something up. The last day in the airport, I picked up a stomach bug. So this is whatever two months post-op on a gi surgery oh, and Larissa, we think, tore her meniscus on the bus from the hotel to the airport.

And so so that that was a long trip home. Oh, so suitable. Yeah. So thankfully, our second adoption was much less eventful. It took it took way longer, so it took about two years. So there was probably six months after we had the callow home until really both of us felt the Holy Spirit leading us to adopt again.

And that one went more of a normal duration, you know, at that time. And it’s all been changed substantially during the intervening years. Both of our sons were right around their third birthday when we adopted them. And so the hardest thing was that is they had changed the policy. So we would travel and do court and then go home.

Yes, that’s what we had to do in we less than tie you there. So that was really wrenching. Yeah. You know, one interesting anecdote, neither neither of our sons had a birth father in the picture and they had completely similar response to me in that like I was not an authority figure like they were they were used to mom being the boss, but they had a completely different response to me.

Yeah. Carlo saw me as this great toy like I was this great adventure. And Zentai, you saw me as enemy number one. So completely different. Yes. Yeah. Responses to the role of dads. I had to break it in from different, different angles there. So yeah, that’s, that was our that’s in a nutshell the journey that we’ve been on.

I love it. And it’s interesting too that you have both stories. You have the quick one, the one that took longer two trips versus one trip. Both the boys were split. You had two very different experiences with both of them. You gave you a full range. So when did God first place adoption on your hearts? Yeah, now that’s a really good question.

It’s actually somewhat of a sad story. So as I mentioned, we’ve been married 13 years and we both really felt the Holy Spirit moving in our hearts. You know, we live out in in farm country. So it was like, it felt like you know, he was, you know, this plowing and discordance, like getting your heart ready to plant something.

And we weren’t sure, you know, exactly what it was going to be. We kind of assumed it would be mission work. And so we were thinking through that, you know, what are the different opportunities, the opportunities that we could look into and unfortunately that the timeline is right about when Steven Curtis Chapman when they who they lost their.

Yes, their their daughter. And that was that was really, you know, on local radio Christian radio, a lot of the interviews and a lot of like yeah. Like me but replaying a lot of the stories that they had told previously about their adoption journey. So like at this exact same time that, you know, our hearts had been, you know, plowed and deceased and ready for seed.

You know, God dropped that in and, you know, it was not at all what we were expecting and so that that took a while, not only from the grief of that origin, but then also from our own, you know, everybody who has, you know, the biggest jump is going from zero to one child. So it’s like everybody that’s made that transition.

You know, we were really took some time to adjust to that, took some time to get used to. And then, of course, as I mentioned earlier, it was overlapping some some health concerns. And so we were really having a hard look at what all that would involve. So but that’s it was it was, you know, you know, how does the Holy Spirit move the you know, however he wants to.

But it was song after song after what was opened in church. And what was preached on and what you heard on the radio and just what you feel God speaking to you in the in the quiet of your heart consistently to both of us. So that’s beautiful and heartbreaking. I mean, but that’s I think that’s a lot of people’s stories just how God speaks to you and just keeps, you know, keeps on keeping on on adoptive parents that are supposed to start that journey.

But so here’s another question for you. What are you most proud of as a dad? Yeah. And there’s there’s a lot of things but I would say both of my both boys have been forced to overcome their their amygdala response. And if you’re not familiar with that, you know, when when when you get to a situation where you’re scared or surprised, your your brain kind of shuts down and you’re now in a from evil fight or flight or freeze state.

And that’s that’s the amygdala response. And in my older son, Carlo, he is a freezer. So when when he was young and, you know, you would hear about him misbehaving or you would catch him misbehaving and you would have the talk, where’s my son? Why did you do it? Like he would just freeze like you would literally get to a point where he would start sweating and all and everything and.

Yes, yeah, he was all freaked out. Yeah. He just can’t own up to it. And so over time, he has found his voice and we’ve worked with him and worked with him. And, you know, of course, now he’s like, what’s the point of having a voice if I can’t get everything I want so like, we’re. You’re in that stage.

Yes, in that stage. But that’s a healthy, normal state. Yes, yes, yes, yes. OK, we’re negotiating. So, so I’m so proud of him for being able to do that. And I see it, you know, he will still like start to freeze and then pull himself back out of it and and try and work through and then my our younger and tie you up.

He was a he would flee like if he got scared or anything he just like, I’m out of here. He’s gone. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And and he he carries the grief of his past probably much closer to the surface. So that was that was recurring. And we really had to work with him to get to the point where he can see it now.

And not only does he. So it’s not that it’s not that he will flee, but he will do it safely. And he will. And the duration is much shorter. And he’s learned a lot of coping mechanisms where he can help, he can recognize it and he can help himself. And like, I know how hard that is because I’m I tend to be a little bit more of a fighter.

And I have a short fuze and it’s like I know how hard it is for me to write back to keep that in control. And so to see them at their age and with what they’ve, they’ve had to overcome emotionally be able to, to address these responses and to do so in an adult fashion is really I’m proud of them, all of them for that.

That’s huge. And I mean so many, like you said, so many adults aren’t able to do it. So it is right for your kids being able to, you know, manage something that is that it’s difficult and that goes back to something so deep within them that caused that in the first place. That’s very I love that. I love that example.

And of something that you’re proud of. What what would you say? I mean, you’ve got like a teenager and a pre-teen. You know, you’ve kind of gone up to that stage. What would you say has been the hardest part of fatherhood so far? Yeah, you know, this I wish this were unique. This is actually pretty easy to answer and I wish it were unique to my adoptive parents.

But I know a lot of kids, adoptive and biological, go through hard things. And I would say hands down trauma versus hands down. Like like I said, my my oldest son, your callow like I was always you know, I was the great big toy. Like, I don’t know. I know the mom is the mom’s authority dads. The dads, I guess, just do stuff for you, you know, and that that’s that’s that’s where his relationship started.

But when he hit and we didn’t know what was going on at the time when he hit his first trauma Versary like there was a point I was just sitting there and he came up and whacked me over the head with like one of those little massaging massagers with the little wooden balls. Yeah. And so it’s like trying to get and cycle that was so far out of character that you couldn’t even, like, you couldn’t even really be angry because it was so clearly coming from a place of hurt.

And so as like, we’d read about it, but we didn’t know the dates and you couldn’t line everything up. So I would say, you know, in knowing that there’s something that’s I’m, I’m an engineer by training, I do software development, so like I time problems and I fix them and like knowing that there’s something deep seeded inside of your children that you can’t get in and fix is hard.

And so dealing with that and, and working through it and, and just making it safe for them to talk and, and being their voice when they can’t. And it’s like, honey, I know, I know right now is hard you don’t remember this, but this is what happened to you six years ago. 12 years ago. Your body remembers that even if your brain can’t and like being able to vocalize for them, what they’re feeling when they don’t understand is like it’s a hard thing.

And dealing with that you know, because it comes out, it was one thing when we were homeschooling, and it’s just like this. This week just isn’t going to work. So we’re going to sleep in and, you know, go to the park where you center is and the public school. And then they have to kind of publicly work through that difficulty.

So you know, seeing them navigate that has been hard and they’re getting better, you know, so if you’re if you’re listening in your middle of it, I would just say find out their dates, voice it for them so that they can understand what they’re going through and then, you know, help them you know, help them as much as much as you can to to understand the circumstance.

You can’t really take the emotion away. So much. I’ll give you another example. My dad was in Vietnam, and he he has PTSD very acutely on that specific days of the year. And it manifests the exact same way as my son’s. Wow. And it’s it’s amazing that you identified that right away, too, because it is something you read about.

But when you, you know, experience it, my daughter has the same thing with different dates. And when you experience seeing it in action, it is it’s almost so jarring. You’re like, this is so out of person, out of character. They’re not their personality. So I love how gentle you guys were and, you know, not that we parents always do a perfect job on any of that.

I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. But identifying that you can’t take it away. But there are things that you can I mean, I know that’s your hardest part about fatherhood, but I’d say that’s something to be proud of to you that you were able to do that and give them that permission to experience it. So, yeah. And no, I am I am definitely the most gentle dad on this podcast speaking right now.

I’m sure yeah. If I if I painted that picture, we might need to revisit slightly about that short fuze. But yes, we’re working on that aren’t we all? Yes, this mom here is working on hers too. So what would you say are your favorite characteristics about both of your boys?

That’s a remember that you do really good asking this question. So I’ll give you, I’ll give you I’ll give you a story. So when we adopted your callow, the director and Hannah’s hope at the time, we were in talking to her and he just came walking in like he owned the place and she laughs and she’s like, he thinks he runs this place so he doesn’t know what we’re going to do, what he’s got.

So he has Hollow has always had just abundant charisma, which is interesting because the reason I are both introverted, homebody, and so raising this very charismatic, being in the way that that has developed as he is growing up, he has a very dry, witty sense of humor that I love. It’s actually it’s very similar to my own sense of humor.

And so that’s been beautiful to watch. I love that about him. He makes friends still very easily. He can fit in with the group very easily with that charisma. And another thing, both both my sons play soccer. And so he also is he’s very graceful like every move, everything he does, it’s just kind of poetry to watch. It’s almost like a cat, you know, like even when they fall over, they’re like, oh, still yet they’re like meant to do that.

And they’re, you know, grooming themselves immediately. And it’s like, did they fall? I don’t think they fall over. So it’s like he makes everything he does just look very smooth and graceful. And then same time, you he is so affectionate. So he’s he’s ah, he’s our cuddler. And I love that about him and he and it, it, it goes into cuddling and then goes in to like a tradition and he likes home and he likes tradition and he’s my buddy when it’s like it’s time to set up the tree and do all those things.

I love Christmas and like he and I are very similar that way. He likes both of us are foodies. So it’s like you will find us as often as we can at the, you know, any local Dove Diner for breakfast. Yeah. You love eating that and drinking all the drinks and then getting, you know, another soccer example. He is he is so persistent.

Like, if you ever see and he’s he’s smaller and he plays on an older on an older grade. So, you know, if you’ve ever seen those like a hawk with that little bird that’s constantly circling and driving awkwardly as birds, that’s kind of the way he is playing. So I love that he’s he he pushes himself so hard and it’s good to watch.

So yeah, those are some of the things I’m very very proud of him as well. So I love it. I love it, too. It’s just the most fun to watch your kids as they you know, you when you met them at three, you had you know, you saw something in them. And then as you’re watching them grow, you just continue to see those incredible characteristics about them.

That’s just I love that. I love that so much. So I’m going to tap into your experienced deadness and ask you some questions. You don’t have to be right. This is you know, this is you could be whatever. But from your experience, what advice would you have for new and or adoptive dads? Yeah, so speaking to adoptive dads, primarily because we do not have biological children so I would say educate yourself.

There is there is a tendency. So I see this as if I’m accusing the universe and really like I’m accusing myself too, before I educated myself. So there is a tendency to think, oh, we’re going to get those kids in there. We’re just going to love them so much and just love that hug and love. Love is necessary, love is mandatory.

It has its place but if you if you if we do not educate ourselves, we could very easily be missing the signs and the triggers that can help inform us on how to apply that love. Because, you know, probably one of the things I hear that I’ll say frustrates me the most that I wish I could stop and educate people, oh, your kids are so lucky.

And I’m like, no, my goodness, my kids aren’t lucky. My kids have come from a place of hurt. And whether that’s deep or just under the surface, that’s always in there. And so educating yourself, understanding. And then probably the other thing for adoptive parents is like, don’t hide, don’t hide their stories. Like if there is trauma, then I understand that there may be an age appropriate time to bring that out.

But but don’t hide their stories. You know, like we were talking earlier, sometimes sometimes we can be the voice to help them understand how they’re feeling. When they don’t understand because they’re going through the emotions and they’re going to the feelings whether or not they understand that. And so to the extent that we can help them with their stories and help them to understand what they’re going through, it’s safe.

You know, the horror stories that I hear of 40, 50 and then beyond where like people just would adopt children and bottle it up and they may live for 40 years with this sense of not fitting in and all of a sudden they understand like that is inconceivable to me. And so I would just say educate yourself. And to the extent that you can, you know, don’t hide the stories and celebrate them as much as you can help to help them to understand and be empathetic as much as possible for for where they’ve come from.

Wow. I have nothing to add to that. I think you’re right on and it is that that I resonate too with the people that say, oh, they’re so lucky. I’m like, oh, luck isn’t it? Yeah. To do is what they like. Yeah. Lucky to have us. Yeah. You know, yeah. And I love you also said love is mandatory.

I love that. Yeah. But you know, you’ve got to do the work or you’re not going to. Yeah. You know, that’s, that’s the loving act I think right there is doing the work to be able to meet their needs the right way and help them develop and grow. That’s great advice. So what would maybe your best tip be for connecting with pre-teen and teenage boys this is a I’m taking notes on this right here.

Yeah, I’ve got two teenage boys, so I’m like, What do you do, David? Yeah, oh, you know, so there’s a there’s a happy spot somewhere in between, you know, being their best friend. And because I said so, that I think we need you know, I think we need to operate in there. Like, I think situationally we need to meet them where they are.

And again, situationally, we need to pull them up to meet us. Where we are. So, you know, meeting them where they are I, I think it’s helpful. But again, I’m not talking about being a Disney dad. I’m not talking about, you know, being their best friend. But you know, there are times that I think it’s important to validate, you know, our son’s interest in our thoughts, you know, whether it’s in sports or hobbies, or games, you know, find something that you can connect with them on at their level.

But additionally, like, it’s especially you know, in the in the preteen, you know, early and mid-teens range like their neck. You can’t just let them be kids anymore. So now if we’re meeting them at their level, like they create opportunities where the expectation is like you need to be an adult in this situation. Like we’re going to go do this thing.

You know, it’s all kinds of things like like, you know, we’re going to church all day and you’re not complaining about it or, you know, we need to go to the funeral home. And I know that’s not where you want to be, but it’s your friend’s grandpa and we’re going and like and it’s like and you’re going to and you’re going to handle this like an adult or you know, maybe the widow down the road needs some help and you’re going to go bodyguard.

And I say that like, that was a that was a learning experience. I had when I was young that I did not handle very well. But we now have, you know, in our street, you know, that opportunity for the boys. And it’s like, OK, yep, you’re still a kid and you get to be a kid and we’ll go do the kid parent things.

But you also need to step up and come up to the adult side a little bit and start dip in your toe in this because we’re not going to want you out, you know, having having sat on the sofa for ten years straight. So that’s not what we’re going to do for you. Yeah, not our goal. You know, that’s what my husband calls a cellar dweller.

He’s like, I don’t want seller dwellers there. We don’t have one. But, you know, that’s what it looks like. So as your boys are moving in, it’s a perfect transition. As your boys are moving into adulthood, what do you hope that they walk away really knowing about themselves?

So I guess I want them to understand that and I need to be careful here because it stems a little but little bit like contemporary psychobabble, but like they need to know that who they are is important, insufficient. And like, I’m not talking within the bounds of God’s word. I’m not talking about, you know, if if they have all these crazy desires or all these things they want to do, that’s not what I’m talking about.

But like understanding, you know, their intrinsic worth, they don’t need to be more than who they are. They don’t need to be other than who they are. And, you know, as we talked about their positive traits, I think they need to continually like bring those to the cross and understands, like, how can you use this to edify God’s body?

How can you use this for kingdom work? One of you is very affectionate and has a big heart and a longing for justice. The other one has charisma oozing from every pore. So these are these are gifts like I can see how to use those so that that’s what that would probably be, you know, but what I would tell them is like understanding that within the confines of holy living, you know, you’re who you are is important and who you are is sufficient.

So I love that. That’s beautiful. What what do you want your sons to know about their identity in Christ? After saying you know, there’s there’s a there’s a couple that’s like there’s a lot in here. One of the things that so I’ll give you an example. I do have a lot of of health problems. And one of the times that I was headed into the end of the hospital, one of the boys asked Larissa.

He was like, you know, if dad dies, do we go back to the orphanage? So I know that the the physical, the natural and the supernatural realm are different, but the patterns that we see and the experiences that we have in the in the physical world influence our perception and understanding of the supernatural. And so in that sense, like I want them I want them to not have that spirit of an orphan, but to like to fully embrace spiritual adoption and to understand their sonship to understand their ears like that, because that’s the that’s the beauty of adoption.

And so when we sign that the are are legal people paperwork because like all of our children, biological or adopted are equal heirs to our statements like that is the beauty of the gospel. And so, you know, just to be just to be sure in that and then the other example, they struggle with is I don’t know if they do or they don’t, but they could but this this natural versus physical I had mentioned that both of both of our sons did not have a biological father.

And you you know, you hear a lot of psychology talking about, you know, our image of God is a lot of in a lot of ways framed by our father. And so, you know, I have health concerns. And in March, I was diagnosed with a pretty aggressive form of cancer. And, you know, we’re not sure how that all is going to shake out, but I want them to understand that in our Heavenly Father is reliable in spite of the physical examples that they’ve they’ve witnessed.

And, you know, I don’t I don’t know how you open our heads up in for that in, but that that would be my that would be my prayer that, you know, God did make that clear to them how big he is. And I pray that he can use my frailty to to show that to them. So I’ll be praying that too.

All of that makes me very choked up. I feel the same for my daughter and my boys that are biological. But you just that’s the that’s the beautiful message. So what do you want your legacy to be there’s a lot in here. I’ll tell you a story. So and this is something I hadn’t realized about myself until very recently so my my my father was a lay pastor in our same, same congregation that I am now.

And I can remember her growing up. And I would come downstairs in the morning and he would be in a La-Z-Boy with a blanket on his lap was like a big parallel Bible. And it was in a corner and there was a bookshelf with like all these nerdy looking Bible kind of books. And I can remember as a kid being like, how can you read?

Or What’s he doing best? And so fast forward in my, in my own like I’m an introvert and I’m an engineer. So forgive me for never connecting these dots previously. This I love Saturday and Sunday morning. Like, there’s, there’s something about getting up on a Saturday in particular or, you know, it’s the golden and sunny hour and I’ve got a nice pot of coffee and I’ve got hours ahead of you that I can just sit and study the Bible and worship and pray.

And I love that time. And it was only belatedly that I was like, huh? Like, I wonder how much Dad imprinted on me. And so while my sons both like Saturday morning is like, Hey, Dad, are you done with Bible study yet? We want to do this or we want to do that. And I’m like, what is what is this done with Bible study that you’re talking about?

But anyhow, so so hopefully at some point, they find themselves in a corner, in a chair with a blanket on their laps in the Bible open and reference material around them and just loving God’s word and just worshiping him through the study and the prayer. And then the other thing I would say is I want them to know how to love their wives like I I try to model that every day.

You know, they don’t always like. They don’t always like, especially in this age. Yes. They don’t they don’t like me. Modeling that every day. But, you know, just understanding how to love and respect and complimented and just do life with, you know, a godly woman who frankly is that powerful daughter of great daughter of God and sister to Christ and understanding what that looks like, understanding like this is natural.

This is normal. We are partners. We serve together. We love each other unconditionally. We love each other when one of us, you know, is sick and then gets a cancer diagnosis on top of it. And they see that from Larissa and I’d like to model that to my boys is like if they can be good husbands and godly men, digging into digging into the scripture, that would be my prayer for them.

So, yeah, I love that. I, I love to that you put that together about your dad. It really, those are the things that stick with you, whether you realize it or not, especially at the age that your kids are, whether they like it or not. Those are things that stick with you. And don’t worry, we’re traumatizing our children over here to good dead.

Yeah. Yeah. And it turns out I’m a real embarrassment a lot. So I, I totally understand the trauma of of trying to love your spouse well and giving that example, but I also appreciate you. I feel like this was such a gift to me. I didn’t that I didn’t expect today. And I just appreciate you sharing and your thoughtfulness and candor and just sharing your life experience and what that looks like.

And I feel like everyone is going to listen to this and have a lot to think about and be a little bit of a better person and parent to afterwards. So I just really appreciate it. David, thank you for taking the time. Vanessa, thank you. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. It it was it was really good, you know, to to reflect and to take this opportunity.

We don’t don’t know what’s ahead. Well, we do know what’s ahead. We just don’t know what the next 30 years or so is going to look like. So, yeah, exactly. Thank you.

Thanks for listening to Together by AGCI. That was adoptive dad David Maibach single handedly making all of our Father’s Days just a little bit brighter. If you like what you heard today, please share our podcast. You can also go on and rate and reviews wherever you listen to podcasts. If you’d like to read or watch even more stories of hope or learn about the work that we do at AGCI, go to our website at Follow us on Instagram at @allgodschildreninternational. Thank you for listening and happy Father’s Day!