Becoming a Dad has Marked Me for Life

Happy Father’s Day indeed.

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Ten years ago my life changed when Janie and I adopted Chase from Taiwan through The Home of God’s Love, and then again a year later when we adopted his baby brother Jackson.

I’ll never forget when the founder of the orphanage, Ted Skiles, prayed for us as we signed the official documents and said, “You are becoming more like God through this adoption process because He is the Father to the fatherless and now so are you.”

With a few strokes of the pen God grafted a crazy, cool branch into the Mehaffey family tree.

And with many strokes of a tattoo machine now their names (and my prayer for them) are forever etched on my left arm.

Make no mistake, this was no impulsive act of a mid-life crisis. This has been in the works for 10 years. Ever since, Lin Yung-Ai [Forest of Everlasting Love] became Chase Mehaffey and Lin Yung-Le [Forest of Everlasting Joy] became Jackson Mehaffey.

Chinese character - Lin

Chinese character - Lin

While in Taiwan we learned that their surname Lin meant “forest” and when there is only one it meant “tree.” The Chinese character even looks like two trees [or crosses] standing tall and strong.

This is why my prayer for them has been from Psalm 1:3

He [the blessed man] will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Simply put, we don’t want to raise good kids. We want to raise godly kids. We envision Chase and Jackson standing strong together like trees digging their roots into Jesus Christ and that he will produce the fruit and leaves in them in all seasons. And just as a tree doesn’t exist to enjoy its own shade and fruit — but to benefit others — we want their lives to be ready to put others first.

I love being a dad. Wait. Strike that. I love being their dad.

Six hours in the chair on Thursday and another six hours already scheduled in July — when my boy Alan at Empire Tattoo is going to add some color to my sleeve — is just one way I want to keep the vision of who God wants us to be in front of us.