“What were you thinking when I was born? How did you feel?” Nathan asked his father, Colbert, at the MobileBooth in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“As a 16 year old, being a teenage father, and not having any real concept of what a father looked like, or not knowing what he sounded like, I guess I was really nervous and scared,” Colbert answered.
Colbert now raises Nathan as a single father. As a kid, Colbert remembers that he and his friends had a common bond-most were growing up with single mothers, without fathers in the picture.
“I am so proud of you because you have allowed me to be a father. I am proud of you for allowing my voice to still have meaning in a time and place when our fathers’ voices are becoming echoes. You could have used ‘growing up without a mom’ as a crutch and you have not allowed that to happen. I am also proud of you for allowing me to bring other kids that have been in really rough situations into our home,” Colbert told Nathan.
Colbert has made himself a father-figure to more boys than just Nathan. After working in an emergency shelter for years, Colbert decided he could provide a loving supportive home for others, and welcomed some of the adolescent boys he worked with into his home.
At age 29, Colbert finally searched for and found his own father. Colbert told Nathan, “I wanted you to have a grandfather and at the same time I found myself longing for a father. I had to heal the boy inside of me and at the same time teach the boy in you. “Last Thanksgiving, Colbert and Nathan met their new-found family for the first time. Nathan said, “We went from a small family to a huge one.”