Father’s Day: The Transformative Journey of Foster Dads

helping build

Too often, foster dads don’t get enough credit. However, the value, impact and influence of a great foster dad can alter the life and legacy of a child for generations. This Father’s Day we highlight three remarkable CK Family Services’ foster and adoptive dads — Nicholas Ozegbe, Tarik Johnson and Kelly Bednar. Their stories of compassion and love remind us of the resilience foster dads possess and how transformative their mentorship and leadership can be.


For Nicholas Ozegbe, the decision to become a foster dad was rooted in his own experience as a foster child. He knew firsthand the feeling of fear and uncertainty of entering the child welfare system. Fortunately, he also knew what it was like to have a foster dad who was a positive role model.


“I was raised by a very good foster dad who took care of me when my dad died,” Nicholas said. “I was a teenager then and [he] taught me that little help, direction and guidance could change [me] from waywardness to success.”


Through communication, patience, and a willingness to invest into Nicholas, he and his former foster father were able to build a relationship that would be foundational to him for the rest of his life. 


Flash forward years later, when Nicholas’ wife, Felicia Ozegbe, brought up the idea to foster, “I gladly approved it because I know that we have what it takes to make every kid who comes into our house a success story.”

couple in blush pink

With a desire to continue the cycle of love and life change, the Ozegbes embarked on a journey filled with hope and determination.


Tarik Johnson’s path to adopting a child in foster care led him to a remarkable young boy. In May 2012, Tarik opened his heart and his home to a seven-year-old boy, forever changing both their lives. This commitment to providing stability and love was not without challenges, but Tarik knew that he had found his life’s greatest calling. 


As many foster and adoptive parents experience, Tarik faced the obstacle of gaining his son’s trust. By nature of being in foster care, the boy had already experienced a turbulent journey, marked by uncertainty and instability. Undeterred, Tarik never gave up on his son.


“I remained consistent in my word and the love that I gave him,” he said.


With time, patience, and a resilient spirit, Tarik nurtured a bond built on trust and understanding. His son is now 18 years old and raising him has developed Tarik into a more disciplined father who is dependent on prayer and models discipleship.

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Kelly Bednar’s journey of becoming a foster parent was spirit led. He recalled, “Our church started a foster and adoption mission field, and although it didn’t seem like something we were initially interested in, the Lord laid it on our hearts to begin the journey of foster parenting.” Now a foster dad for the last five years, he emphasizes the blessing that the children bring into his life, and the joy he’s brought to their lives by building relationships.


Nonetheless, Kelly recognizes that each child is unique and the challenges and his relationship to them are different. “Some of their trauma doesn’t allow me to get close before they have moved on, and with others, I’m their biggest cheerleader,” he explained. While he believes positive male and female role models are important to the children they serve, he honors their boundaries and allows the children to bond naturally. The most important role for him is as the family’s spiritual leader, “modeling the life that Christ asks us to live and praying for the positive impact it can have on the children,” he said.

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To other men considering becoming foster dads, Nicholas, Tarik, and Kelly, offer a message of hope. They encourage other prospective foster dads to lead with prayer, be an active participant, and seek guidance before embarking on this life-changing journey.


“The kids will always remember how you shaped their lives — just like I always remember and thank my foster dad for giving me a better life,” Nicholas said.


The stories of Nicholas Ozegbe, Tarik Johnson, and Kelly Bednar illustrate the extraordinary impact ordinary foster dads have on the lives of children in need. By answering the call to open their hearts and homes to kiddos in their community, they remind us that through love and dedication, we can create a brighter future for every child in our care.