Dig Deep for Dan & Darin
$79,245 of $75,000 goal
When Dan and I met and fell in love so many years ago, we hoped to some day legally marry and have a family of our own. And we did. We got married, and we signed up to be foster parents. We knew we could be that weigh-station family for a child whose family needed care and support until they could get their feet under them again and resume their family life. We just never could have predicted what would happen next.
Ella was our first foster child. She came to us as a three-year-old and we loved her deeply. Despite the turmoil in her life, she bonded to us and we did our best to give her as much love and security as we could. Nearly two years later, when her birth family was not able to overcome their challenges, Ella became our first adopted child. On the day before her adoption was finalized in family court, we received a phone call. It was the hospital informing us that Ella's birth mother had given birth three days earlier to a baby boy - Ella's half-brother - and that little boy was to be released from the hospital. We were asked to pick him up and take him home. And, oh by the way, they needed our answer in three hours. Without a moment of hesitation, we went and got him and brought him into our home. Never mind that we had no car seat, no diapers, and no experience with a newborn baby, we were thrilled, and were able to celebrate Ella’s adoption that next day with her baby brother, Jack.
Our family of four learned a lot over the next year. We learned I was Poppy and Dan was Daddy. We learned how to change diapers, make bottles, and to calm fears, soothe children to sleep, bandage boo-boos and love unconditionally. And then, one year later, on the DAY of Jack’s adoption finalization, we got another call.
You guessed it. It was the hospital again. Ella and Jack's birth mother had given birth to another baby boy, and he also needed us. This time we had 24 hours to make a decision, but it took us even less time than before to unequivocally say yes. This baby was born almost exactly one year after his brother, but was not able to come home so soon—drug exposure, underdeveloped lungs, and jaundice kept him in NICU for a week but as soon as he was physically strong enough to leave the hospital, we went and got him too. After several weeks of medical treatment at home, Max's issues resolved and he is now a strong, beautiful child—like his brother and sister.
We middle-aged dads, Daddy and Poppy, found ourselves in the best years of our lives: three beautiful young children and a very happy and exciting future before us. I went to work and Dan stayed home with our children. A stay-at-home dad during the week and minister on the weekends, we had this whole thing figured out.
Until this summer. In July we embarked on an epic road trip to Montana to visit our kids’ grandpa and have a summer camping adventure with some of their cousins. Along the way, Daddy (who has been a fulltime stay-home dad since Jack was born) began to feel severe pain in his neck and head and became increasingly fatigued. We tried spa massages, pain killers, and rest to help him feel better, but the pain and fatigue continued—nothing we could think of made him feel better.
Finally, on the way home, we stopped at an emergency room in Spokane, Washington. There they discovered that Dan has an advanced brain cancer—two large tumors and two small tumors on his brain had been causing his pain and fatigue. The doctors did not believe it was safe to go home—not by car or by plane—so he had emergency brain surgery in Spokane.
My blessed sister came and drove the kids home while I stayed in Spokane with Dan until he could heal enough to travel. Two weeks later and barely able to speak, we finally made it back to Oakland by air ambulance.
On Friday, August 14, about six weeks after leaving for vacation, baby Max’s adoption was finalized by a Judge from Dan's hospital room via FaceTime, and plans were made for Daddy to come home to hospice care—the definition of a bittersweet day.
Dan's prognosis is not good. He has already lived longer than anyone thought he would but his time with us is short. Nevertheless, he is home and our family is reunited— we are all living together in our own home. In his last few days with us, the kids and I are showering him with love, and hoping and trusting that hearing and feeling the thump of life that is three young kids laughing, crying, fighting, and playing together will be a balm to him and make his last days and moments a blissful experience—one to carry him into his next realm.
Friends, these children have already been through so much, and are about to lose a parent. Ella is 7, Jack is 2 and Max is 1. And because Dan was the full-time stay-at-home parent, Darin has had to figure out childcare options for all three children. He is facing the reality of losing his spouse, and raising three young children as a single dad. Dan's monthly income was about $5,000, and the family is going to lose that as well. Darin is 100% dedicated to figuring it out and making it work, but it sure would take some of the burden off to have some financial stability. Please consider helping in any way you can. You will absolutely be making a difference in their lives. With love and appreciation,
Hi friends -
The outpouring of love and support for Dan and Darin has been overwhelming. Just wanted to post an update to let everyone know that Darin has been reading all of the messages to Dan and your warm wishes and prayers are brightening everyone's spirits. Thank you for showing Dan and his family the myriad ways in which the human spirit brings light to life. Please know that all of your support is so very appreciated, and is something Dan, Darin and the kids will be able to carry for their entire lives. Keep them coming. With much love and appreciation,
Thought you'd all like to know that your thoughts, prayers, love and support are being felt by the whole family. Dan had an amazing four days over the weekend. He was alert and energetic and had good times with his family and friends who could visit. It is a joyous time to be with Dan. Thank you for the infusion of prayers and generosity that certainly created an aura of love and support that helped Dan know that his kids' future will be brightened by his legacy. Yesterday, Dan rested comfortably (catching up on his sleep) and today is more alert again but still sleepy and as always, offering his beautiful smile. Keep the messages coming, and keep spreading the word. This family deserves it. Much love,
Friends! We made it to our original goal of $50,000 in just 10 days! What a remarkable feat and a symbol of the love for Dan and his family. From the smallest gift of $6 to the largest of $1500, our community has come together to show Dan and his family how much they are loved and supported.
After hearing from more than one donor and friend that the goal could be raised to ensure Dan's family is secure, we decided to raise the goal to $75,000. Please consider re-posting the link to your FB and sending notes to your friends. You don't have to know Dan to want to help. Many of the donations are anonymous and some comments even state that they are strangers or people who only know of this family but have never met them. What a tribute to love.
Darin discovered that a website created for Dan's ordination is still up, and he wants to share it with you so you can read some of the sermons Dan delivered during his time serving the Arlington Street Church in Boston. Here's the link: http://dankaneordination.net. You will definitely want to read his sermon, Let Love Be My Legacy ( http://dankaneordination.net/LetLoveBeMyLegacy.pdf). You will read in Dan's own words exactly what you have shown by your donation--that Love IS Dan's legacy.
And that legacy, along with your prayers and good wishes, is making Dan strong. He is eating and drinking and being more alert than he has been in a month. The arc of his disease process can't be stopped but he is, for now, still enjoying cuddles from his kids and sharing his good humor.
Lastly here is a recent photo taken with Dan, on the Healing Quilt from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. Thank you everyone for your support.
It is with a heavy heart that I write to let you know we lost Dan this morning. Though his spirit will live on, he will be deeply missed. Thanks to everyone who helped make his last few weeks so meaningful and for the love that lifted him, Darin, and the kids up. Keep the good thoughts coming. ❤️
Christmas Eve is Dan's birthday. He would have been 56. I miss him immeasurably and still can't believe that I can't pick up the phone and hear his voice. In honor of Dan's birthday, I'm making a special request. If each of us gave five, ten, or more dollars to this site, I know that Darin and the kids will have more opportunity, less stress, and perhaps the ability to do something a little special to honor Dan.
I know you all have given so much. Please give a little now again, before the site is closed in January. Spread the word and spread the joy!
Love to all of you and a very happy holiday season.
A time for thanksgiving.
I wonder where the space for giving thanks is when there is such an immeasurable void in our lives by Dan’s leaving. But Dan gave us so much more than what we miss without his presence. For that I am eternally thankful. I am also thankful for each of you for all that you’ve contributed to helping our kids and me have a holiday that can be focused on our love for each other and sweet memories of Daddy. Happy Thanksgiving to you - may your day be full of blessings.
Look around—see people you know and many you do not. This huge assembly is just a small gathering of the community of love that my beloved built. There are many in far-flung places who couldn’t be here—from sea to sea and beyond our borders, the reach of Daniel’s love and light is staggering.
In the very short three months from July 6—the day we left on our roadtrip and Dan’s symptoms first appeared—to October 6—the day that Danny left our worldly sphere, you rallied around our family—living Dan’s legacy of love. Literally hundreds of people ushered Dan on his transitional journey and allowed me to focus 100% of my attention on caring for our kids and giving to Dan all that I could—with love, compassion, tenderness, and respect—to hopefully prove my devotion to him once more and for all time. I can’t name you by person but you find yourselves among these communities. This may be how we know you but it is not all that you are to us:
Our family of loved ones, which extends so far beyond our name, includes our churches, our schools, our employers - past and present - an incredible outpouring of support from those known and unknown - we feel your loving embrace and it sustains us.
Oh, the places we find ourselves. I stand here today, not quite sure who I am or how I got here. The person I expect to be when I wake up everyday is a married, co-parent whose husband carries much of the load of keeping our house and managing our children’s care. And also takes care of me—hearing me and challenging me, comforting me and reassuring me. But suddenly—so suddenly—that’s not who I am anymore.
In 1989, I met Dan, a 29 year-old freshly-minted lawyer already with a shock of silver in his hair. I was a 26 year-old high school dropout with long black hair and black fingernails. He drove a new Volkswagen convertible and I rode an 18 year old motorcycle. He lived in San Francisco in a nice apartment on Masonic Avenue. I lived in a tiny cabin on the Russian River. We were not a likely pair and, in fact, we didn’t date or even see each other again for some time. But we talked on the phone occasionally because, though we were so different, we were drawn to each other. And something about the physical distance created a safe space to be honest—even brave—with each other.
It was 1991 before we had a first date—our lives finding an intersection where we could explore being together. And since then we have been a couple.
In 1993 I married Dan. 35 people were here that day to witness our love and commitment. And hundreds of you are here now—witness to our love again. Letting all of you see how I cry is what I will endure so that you will bear witness to my devotion to Dan. Since that day we were married, wherever I’ve found myself, it was next to Dan. It was with Dan—and through Dan—that I could finally know who I was and he could finally know who he was.
Dan encouraged me to go to college and find a dream for my own career. He supported me for so many years because I was doing what I loved. And I encouraged him to pursue his true calling to the ministry. When you have love like ours, material things and money don’t mean very much. The years ticked by, faster than I now wish they had. Dan and I loved our lives and together we stood in so many places. Fun, exciting, dark and terrifying places. We have been everywhere together.
Squarely into our middle age, we came to realize that what we wanted to become parents—to share the love and the home that we were so comfortable in.
In 2011, we met Ella and we fell in love with her --unequivocally and instantly. And somehow, that which we didn’t even know we were missing became obvious. Learning that you can be happier than the great happiness you already feel is extraordinary.
Somewhere in Dan’s papers I came across some words that he wrote and I have already misplaced and can only paraphrase: Love is boundless and the one element that is infinite. When you give love, love is created, not bifurcated. Dan and I did not need to give Ella a share of the love we had for each other. Loving Ella grew our love in immeasurably quantity.
And then we were surprised by the arrival of our sons, Jack and Max, one after the other in consecutive summers. And our love grew—for each other and for these beautiful children, including their sister, Leslie.
This is the great tragedy of Dan leaving us so much too early—the very best of his life was ahead of him. He became a stay-home dad because his greatest joy was taking care of babies during the day and bringing Ella home from school in the afternoon to be her constant in her ever-changing world of elementary school. Dan lived to be his children’s Daddy.
The loss they have suffered and must endure breaks my heart. You all know what an amazing, giving person Dan was and that Ella, Jack, and Max will not have his counsel and his affection is unbearable—I truly don’t know how to reconcile what has happened. But I try.
Though I cannot understand why, I have to trust that Dan lived his lifetime—that by some strange reason this is his time to move beyond our realm. As if, maybe, his purpose was to give these kids to each other as siblings and that completed, so too, his life among the living.
Daddy is leaving us with so much. He is leaving us together. He is leaving us love in abundance.
I want you to hear in Dan’s own words what love meant to him—how he came to know that a life committed to loving is a life designed for peace and justice-making.
(Dan read Dan’s sermon: Let Love Be My Legacy - http://dankaneordination.net/LetLoveBeMyLegacy.pdf)
And so it is. As if Dan, with some preternatural knowledge in his soul, prepared me to live out my life without him by giving me these children to love and to be loved by. Without them, I would be lost in the depths of sorrow.
It will take time for the profound sadness and loneliness for Dan that I feel to ebb, but in time it will because it is necessary. It is what Dan needs for us. And he will never really be gone from me or us. Each time I look at these kids, I see him. The bravery to face his challenges and generosity to share his gifts lives in Ella. The humor and playfulness by which he met his friends and family and every day lives in Jack. The strength and perseverance he mustered to fight injustice lives in Max. The creativity to live his life fully and full of love for the interdependent web of life lives in all three of them. And Daddy’s devotion to them lives in me—with unconditional and boundless love—as he lived for us.
I wish i could donate financially but i cant, as I am on my own adoption journey,however if you ever need a sitter, i would be more then willing to meet, interview, give you refrences, and donate my time to those kiddos.... I am so sorry for your lost, What a wonderful husband you were for eachother.. my heart is heavy, and my thoughts are with you four tonight. With Love, Another parent made from the heart!