Family opens up about impact of stepfathers

Family opens up about impact of stepfathers

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Donya Butler hugs her stepfather, Dwight Rogers Donya Butler hugs her stepfather, Dwight Rogers
LUBBOCK, Texas -

Dwight Rogers entered Donya Butler's life when she and her sister were teenagers.

"One of the biggest things that I looked forward to when I met them was letting them know that I didn't feel like I was their father, I had to earn that respect in terms of being a dad," Rogers said.

Donya Butler said for her, Rogers was a "breath of fresh air."


"Him and my mom had fun together, I loved seeing her so happy," she said.

Donya's husband, Gabriel Butler, is also stepfather to her son, Strickland.

 

"I've seen Strickland grow up since he was a tiny little guy," Gabriel Butler said. "When (Donya and I) made the commitment to be together, it was really just a transitional piece that was already set in motion."

For both fathers, it was an adjustment.

"I very calmly or quietly made up my mind, no pressure, I'll just be there, and let time take care of the rest," Rogers said.

Gabriel Butler said a step father must figure out where his role is.

"You're not going to get everything right," he said. "Be patient, lot of prayers."

It is a role that does take time, Dane Eggleston, a licensed family and marriage therapist associate, said.

"If stepfathers can take a step back and not try to take too much control of the family, help the family to adjust rather than trying to make the family adjust to him, I think those are really some of the main things," Eggleston said.

Stepfathers can bring stability back to a family, by showing support to their stepchildren and working with their spouse when it comes to parenting.

"Through those actions and being someone that the kids can go to, I think doing some of those things can really help the kids see someone like, this person, he cares about me, he loves me, he wants to be there for me, even though he stepped into my life later on," Eggleston said.

These are actions Donya and Strickland said their stepfathers showed them.

One of the greatest loves is the love of choice, Donya Butler said, and Rogers chose to love her, her sister and her mother.

"(Gabriel) understood right away that if he wanted to marry my mom, he was marrying me," Strickland said. "He made that very clear right from the start, and it made me feel good.""

The power of a bonus parent is immeasurable, Gabriel Butler said, and it is a role both he and Rogers said they will remain in for years to come.

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