Vincent White says “Fatherhood means being a protector, provider, doing what’s best for the child”

Name: Vincent White : Richmond, Virginia | @vincentelliswhite

What does being a father mean to you?

Fatherhood means to me being a protector, provider, doing what’s best for the child, one who sacrifices for their child, being patient and logical, showing unconditional love, and focusing on your family first.

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Describe your experience with your father growing up and how that impacted you today.

I grew up with an incarcerated “father” for the first 16yrs of my life. I was told that he was in school. He was a habitual offender, so at the rare times that he would get out, he’d eventually do something else to have to go back in. In 11th grade, my mother sat me down and told me that he wasn’t my bio father and it shook my world. She only told me a name: Chris Anderson. I tried to search for him to no avail, and this search went on from 96’-07’. I didn’t meet my bio father until the age of 27yrs old. My mother ran into him a week before Christmas at a hospital, and got his # to share it with me as MY Christmas gift. What I found out is that she never shared with him that he had a son! So he was also shocked when she approached him. On Christmas Day she handed me a journal where she has been documenting her thoughts, an she apologized for not telling me about him and provided me with the #. I cried and all, and then called him. I went to meet him at his job and we immediately hit it off, as well as we looked like twins. We went and took a paternity test and the results came back 99.9999% and we were so excited!

What things did you take from your experience growing up into your own fatherhood journey?

I became a father of my own at the age of 25yrs old. I took my negative experience as I can either sink or swim as a father. I could sink and be just like the father that I knew growing up, or swim, and flourish as a father knowing that I don’t want my son to experience what I did.

Have you had any obstacles on your fatherhood journey?

Have I? Let’s see, my son is now 15yrs old, and I’ve been dealing with a 13yr ongoing custody battle with his mom in which I’ve had full custody of him since 2019. She literally takes me to court annually for something. As far as the negative, It’s been very stressful, anxiety-filled, and traumatic to say the least. I truly think theirs a certain PTSD that comes with the ongoing trials of custody. As far as the positive though, it’s made me tougher, stronger, more resilient, and a huge advocate for other black fathers all around the world that reach out to me daily. I also ended up writing a book about my journey as well, entitle “Finding Chris, My Father” that did very well and it impacted a whole world of parents.

What advice would you give others new on their fatherhood journey?

Stay the course, be strong, document everything, be consistent, always prove yourself trustworthy, never make promises you can’t keep, (if you can) get a great lawyer, take some voluntary fatherhood classes (before the judge orders it), have some empathy for your child’s mother, and lastly …keep your child’s best interest at the forefront.

If you could write a quick letter to your father, starting with “Dear Father,” what would you say?

Dear Father,

Thank you for stepping up when you first found out about me. I know that it was late in the game and you didn’t have to do so but I’m so glad that you did. I love and appreciate you. I look forward to us getting closer to one another as life continues for the both of us.

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