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Family honors dad for his consistency, faith and big heart

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By Alice Du Pont

Clif Edge, Bell & Bates Home Center's general manager, takes fatherhood seriously. To him, Father's Day is every day and he has held that philosophy since the birth of his first-born, Daniel.

"I never thought much about having kids of my own. As a young man, I became so disillusioned about so many kids in the world that needed homes. Later, when I got married to my first wife, we had four kids, two boys at first and then two girls," he said.

Edge recalled his own happy childhood in Ft. Lauderdale where the family ate supper together every night and went to church together. His childhood memories are very special. That's what he wants with his children too.

His religious and family beliefs are strong. In a world where the family has changed, he said, certain values are dangerous to stray from.

"He loved us but also disciplined us when we needed it," said the eldest son, Daniel.

"I loved them enough to discipline them," added Edge.

Justin and Rachel agreed that they grew up with a healthy mixture of love, discipline, companionship and Christian values. The three children and another sister, Emily, stayed close to their father even after their parents divorced.

"What I remember most is him taking us places like the Junior Museum and spending a lot of time with us. He read ‘Charlotte's Web’ and sang to me and my sister every night. One year, I made him a paper tie and it would open up and I wrote him a note inside. He wore it to church that Sunday," Rachel said.

Daniel and Justin still laugh when they tell the story of "Daddy and the rooster."

This is how it goes: the Edge family owned a rooster and chickens. The rooster was rather spirited and often frightened the boys. Tired of the bird and its antics, Edge took a rifle one day and killed the bird. Not one to be wasteful, Edge cooked the bird on the grill and told the family to eat up. Eating the bird, they said, wasn't as easy as it sounded since the old bird was very tough.

"Well, it didn't hurt you," Edge said.

Eventually, Edge remarried and his current wife, Miriam, wanted a child. After trying without success the couple decided to adopt. That's when they contacted the Children's Home Society and learned about Chinese adoption.

The couple made the decision to adopt an Asian child. Their first glimpse of the child they would eventually adopt was a small, out-of-focus picture of a 10-month-old little girl.

"The only information we had was that she was abandoned on the steps of an orphanage so we know her mother loved her enough to have put her where she would be found and cared for. The information also said she might have a lazy eye," Edge said.

The father in him didn't worry about the circumstances of the child's birth or any suspected disability.

"It didn't matter to us where the child came from. It could have been any child because al children are precious. I'm a Christian and I believe out destiny is preordained by God,” he said.

The couple flew to China to get their daughter, who they named Anna Grace. After two weeks and some advice from Chinese doctors on how to care for her, the Edges came back home with a new member of the family.

The older siblings dote on Emily Grace who is, at 8 years old, the center of attention.

But it doesn't take Father's Day to get the Edge clan all together. Last weekend, Edge grilled and the house was filled with happy laughter and love.

What does it take to make a good dad?

"I'm a real consistent person. It's all about discipline, tempered with love, and that's not going to change," he said.