Almost three months ago, Michael Ketterer stood on the stage in front of a panel of judges auditioning for America’s Got Talent. Michael’s wife Ivey, his daughter and his five sons stood in the wings as Michael sang a raw, soulful version of the Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody, but if you had described the scene to him years earlier, he never would’ve believed it.
“I definitely didn’t feel like we were qualified to have a child, especially me…As a matter of fact, when we found out [my wife was] pregnant, we both cried.”
Growing up without a consistent fatherly presence in his life, Michael didn’t have a clear vision for himself as a parent. After life-threatening complications during the birth of their daughter, Michael and Ivey made the decision not to have any more children, but they were introduced to the option of adopting through foster care by family friends. The idea made its way into their heads and hearts and dreams. Before they knew it, they had adopted five sons, each from a difficult background of abuse and neglect, and they were standing on the America’s Got Talent stage as a family of eight, listening to Michael sing his heart out just for them.
“It was just extremely special to get to perform a song to my children in front of the world, and I got to tell them how much I love them.”
Michael’s journey of fatherhood has taken him through more work, pain and challenge than he ever thought possible, but it’s also shown him more than he ever could’ve imagined about the love and care of God as a father in his own life.
“I’m not alone in this. My Father who’s been behind me, who has pushed me through so many struggles, He’s with me in this moment and we can do this together.”