Living & Growing: My three fathers

Guy Crockroft, age 58. (Courtesy Photo | Guy Crockroft)

Guy Crockroft, age 58. (Courtesy Photo | Guy Crockroft)

“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5

Baby Boomers will remember the show “My Three Sons”, a delightful 60’s sitcom about a widower raising three boys, with the help of Uncle Charlie. This is a story about “My Three Fathers”, whom I will mention in the order I met them:

1) My adoptive father Gailard Crockroft. I grew up thinking he was my birth father. He was a military policeman in World War II, an accountant in Hawaii, a car salesman in Idaho and Washington, and a cowboy. I have a few happy memories of him. I know that he loved me, and chose me to be his son. He died at age 46 when I was 7. As a child, I always felt a sense of loss, especially when other kids talked about their fathers. My father had died, and mom was not interested in replacing him. She excelled in providing for my sister and me. We grew up in a standard middle class house, with everything except a white picket fence and a father.

2) My Heavenly Father. When Gailard died, two thoughts came to my mind: “I need God.” and “I need a church.” By God’s grace, I soon found both. I began attending the church of God in Colville, Washington, where I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior and was baptized at age 11.

In church I learned about God, my Heavenly Father, and His amazing love, but at times He seemed as distant as my late father. Not having an earthly father made it harder to relate to my Heavenly Father. I deeply longed for a father’s love and acceptance, but since it was not available, I tried to replace it with other things that didn’t work, especially as a teenager.

Little did I know then that my birth father was alive and well, wondering what happened to me, and hoping to meet me someday.

3) My birth father, Jack Kaper. In 2016, I learned I had been adopted and found my birth mother, Mary. She told me who my dad was, and I found his phone number on the internet. Although skeptical, I called and asked to speak with Jack.

He answered “Hello” and I heard my birth father’s voice for the first time. I learned from my internet research that he was involved in The Race to Robie Creek half marathon in Boise, so I introduced myself and we talked about running. Finally I said “I’m glad that we have running in common, but that’s not the real reason I called you. I’m 56, I just found out I was adopted, and my real mother’s name is Mary Johnson.”

The anxious silence was then broken by dad’s amazing response: “Well, hello son!” I felt like the Prodigal Son, even though there was no fatted calf in sight. I was home!

He continued, “I’ve always thought about you and wanted to meet you! How did you find me?” I told him about finding mom, and my internet research. He told me I had inspired him to work with troubled youth, as he knew he couldn’t help me, but he could help others. We soon formed a close bond, as he had longed for his lost son even longer than I had longed for a lost father.

As my earthly father sought to find his son, so our Heavenly Father seeks to be reconciled to us, his rebellious children. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

While I may never understand why my Heavenly Father loves me as much as He does, or why He blessed me with not one, but two earthly fathers, I am thankful.

My birth father Jack is celebrating his 75th birthday this week. Happy Birthday Dad! I love you. Your son.

• Guy Crockroft is executive director of Love INC Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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