Guest Columnist Garry White: A Child To Call My Own

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Garry White, a tenured professor at a public university in central Texas, authors and publishes research articles about information technology for academic journals. At the age of 21, he realized his mission in life was not to create life, but to save a life. That is when he decided adoption of a homeless boy would be his mission. At age 28, he started his quest to be a single dad to a homeless boy. Today he is the author of “My Quest To Be a Single Dad: Thirty-Plus Years Trying To Adopt” (

http://myquestdad.tatepublishing.net/). In the book, he fights against the double standard claiming that single men are unfit to be parents.

To my waiting sons,

     Well, it looks like we have something in common: waiting for a family.

     Yes, waiting is hard. Patience is a sign of strength. Waiting has its rewards.

     Are you scared of where and how you will live? The more scared you are today, the happier you will be tomorrow. My job is to free you of your fears.

     What will be your name? When being adopted, your first name can be changed by the court. While many adoptive parents believe they should change the first name (the belief that it helps with a new life), I believe in doing what ever makes you feel comfortable. If you wish to keep your first name, that is OK. If you wish to change your first name, that is OK, too. After all, it will be something you will have to live with the rest of your life.

     I’m sure you are wondering what the future holds for you in my home with a single dad. It will be very active. Although I am in my early 60’s, I hike a lot, snow ski, explore wild caves and take road trips to see National Parks; camping included.

     If you are interested in the Boy Scouts, you will have a dad that has a lot of experience in that organization. Several years ago, I took a Boy Scout Troop on a hike across the Grand Canyon. The opportunity will be there for scouting if you want. If your interests are elsewhere, like baseball, you will have my support and involvement, too.

     Of course, you may wonder about the chores. It will be a share-the-work agreement. I will cook the meals and you will clean the dishes. You will be expected to keep your room as clean and neat as my room. The first time you walk into my home, I’ll show you my room and ask, “Is the bed made? Are there clothes on the floor? Are clothes hanging on hangers? Then I will show you your room and ask the same questions.

     Even though I am a single man, never been married, and have no children, there are nurturing behaviors within me.  Mine are tucking you into bed, telling you a bedtime story or reading to you, and leaving a hall light on. Throughout the night, I have a strong desire to make sure you are sleeping peacefully and are covered with a blanket. Nightmares are excuses to have cookies and milk in the middle of the night.

     You may wonder about how I will parent, discipline. First off, many bad behaviors are really a lack of awareness, especially of dangers. For example, on a camp out two boys, ages 10 and 12, were horse playing around the campfire. I had to tell them to move away from the campfire. If they fell, they could get burned badly. They lacked awareness of the dangers of playing around a campfire. The real problem was that I had to tell them twice, had to get their attention. So I yelled loudly the second time and reprimanded them for failing to act the first time. When you are in danger, there is no time for discussion.

     While some parents believe in “spare the rod, spoil the child”, I take the attitude of President Teddy Roosevelt, “walk softly and carry a big stick.” If you never give me a reason to use the stick, I will never use it. My dad, your deceased grandfather, once said that he never really disciplined me because I never gave him a reason to. As long as you listen to me, I will never have to discipline you. At the same time, I will listen to you and consider what you say. By working as a team, we will be a happy family.

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