November is National Adoption Month.
I would like to celebrate my father, but it will look a little different this year.
I will be honoring his memory rather than thanking him in person. You see, my father, Ronald Jay Kandel, passed away two weeks ago on October 25, 2017, following an farming accident.
Dad was hands down the most amazing father to his children.
He and my mom saved my life the day they chose to give me a home. I will forever be grateful to them for taking a chance on me.
As the oldest of eight children they chose to love, accept and give a home to through adoption, I witnessed how they never gave up on their dream of providing a loving home to kids–biological, adopted, and fostered. At the time of his death, he was father to three biological, eight adopted, and four foster children.
I will always remember my dad as being extremely goofy, fun-loving, strong, patient, kind, and incredibly wise. Man was he funny! His sense of humor was a gift from God, and he loved making others happy and erupt with laughter. He teased us constantly, but he also took the time to play with us and teach us life lessons.
Dad was determined to always be home to in time to tuck us in at night with a Bible story and a goodnight kiss. I gained my patience and sense of humor from both he and my mom.
I was seventeen months old when they first starting fostering me, and I was five when I was adopted. Of course, I felt excited, but was too young to fully understand the process. But I did know that mom and dad were going to keep me forever.
I felt so safe holding dad’s hand and knowing everything would be okay. Life had been hard, but I would be safe with my family.
I remember the day I broke down crying–spiritually overwhelmed–as my eyes were opened to the truth about who Jesus was and the sacrifice He made for us all. Dad sat me down for a conversation, and when I was ready to be baptized he talked with me about faith, the Church, and our purpose in life as believers in Christ. He spoke to me with patience and wisdom, like a good father does. My faith is strong today because of the strong faith my parents had in our Lord.
My last good memory
I was missing home and wanted to go see everyone, so a few weeks ago I drove to the homestead to join the celebration for my foster brother’s seventh birthday party. Afterwards, mom, dad and I had a good talk about life, jobs and the future. Dad and I argued a little, but I loved to argue with dad because it always meant a lot that he cared enough to argue with me about my life. I always knew he had my best interest in mind.
Not a day will go by where I won’t miss him, and it hurts more deeply than I can describe. But I know he is in heaven rejoicing with the Lord he loved more than life. His faith and legacy will continue on through his children and our children. I have a mixed-up, crazy and fun-loving family and would not trade it for the world.
I love you Dad, and I will live the rest of my life making you and God proud. The impact you have made on our lives is eternal.
Thank you, Laterea, for sharing a beautiful tribute to a man who loved God and–in so doing–deeply loved the fatherless. As your Lifesong family, we will continue to pray for your peace and joy in this season of change and reflection.