CBN.com ALL-AMERICAN DADS
Gabriel became a single father after his wife asked for a divorce after 3 ½ years of marriage.
“I had just gotten back from a men’s retreat when she told me,” says Gabriel. “It was pretty devastating.”
With dual custody of their 6-month-old son, Julian, Gabriel began his life as a single parent. When he began searching for resources on single fatherhood, Gabriel could only locate material directed towards single mothers. That was the seed for the idea for his book, American Daddy, which captures the essence of fathers and fatherhood.
Many of the stories written by each of the 35 fathers, both single and married, are redemptive in the area that many of these men grew up without fathers. They ultimately made the choice to model something different to their children so that they would not experience what they did growing up…lack of love, distance, and disconnected relationships.
Gabriel Pelino: His father was an alcoholic and his mother left when Gabriel was 6. His father had custody of the 4 children, but lost everything because of gambling and drinking. So Gabriel knows the lonliness of not having a good father. Faced with several career opportunities that would have brought more income but less time with his son, Gabriel opted for time with his son.
“Part of being a good husband and father is making choices,” says Gabriel. “Fatherhood is hard work, but rewarding.”
Gabriel was a highly involved single father. He went to every school event and medical appointment. While playing with his son, Gabriel started seeing other fathers with their kids. “All I heard about was deadbeat dads,” says Gabriel. “I started seeing guys committed to their kids.”
Gabriel originally planned on writing a 10 chapter book on fatherhood. But as he met other committed fathers, Gabriel decided on putting together a compilation of stories and black and white photographs. Each heartfelt story was written by the father in the photo.
Gabriel met his second wife, Denise, at an evangelism class at their church. They have been married for 2 years and have a 14-month-old son, Ezrah. (page 78)
Caleb Hunter: Caleb's biological father left when he was young. His step-father was strict and abused him with an extension cord. After the beatings, he put Caleb in a tub of hot water and alcohol. He was verbally and physically abusive. Caleb felt so lost growing up. After several bad decisions and experiences, Caleb turned to God.“In Him, I have found an example of a truly loving father.” Caleb is the father of 3 young daughters. (page 74)
Danny Ray: Danny’s father was an alcoholic and he was always afraid that he would become like his dad. That fear turned horribly real as Danny held his newborn daughter for the first time. “I stared at her, feeling a rise of resentment,” says Danny. “I choked down the urge, praying that God would intervene and change my heart.” Slowly the warmth of unbridled love flowed out of him towards his daughter. The intensity of joy he felt at that moment was overwhelming as was the feeling of loss he felt for his dad. (page 62)
Roderick Fludd: Roderick and his wife adopted a 2-day-old girl, Rachel. “As I gazed through the nursery window, I realized what an awesome and wonderful gift my wife and I had been given,” says Roderick. After years of fertility treatments, they never imagined the sheer elation that their new baby would bring. Being her father and working as a school math teacher, Roderick imagined that he would also be the one teaching Rachel everything. In reality, Rachel teaches her father many of life’s most important lessons. (page 46)
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