Consistency and Love Change Three Brothers' Stories
Can you imagine moving in and out of five different families within 2 years—all before your fourteenth, seventh, or fourth birthday? That was the journey of brothers Joseph, Cody, and Brandon until good fortune united them with their adoptive mom, Janet.
The brothers' stories show what can happen when children finally experience safety, consistency, and unconditional love. When he was adopted at age 15, Joe had plans to become a gang member. But his new family provided a sense of belonging and identity, and Joe's life goals changed. In the 2 years since his adoption, Joe has become an accomplished drummer in his high school band, and he has set his sights on college. He plans to try out for the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps this year and to major in music in college.
Once labeled "uncontrollable" and "unadoptable," 7-year-old Cody was quite excited to join a permanent family through adoption. Although challenged by ADHD, Cody is now a straight-A student as well as a gifted athlete. This 10-year-old plays football with great passion and hopes to be a pro ballplayer.
Described by his mom as "a brilliant and happy child," Brandon consistently scores at the top of his class—a real accomplishment for a boy once thought to be "partially retarded." Janet explains that this misdiagnosis resulted from Brandon's difficulties communicating and the anger and frustration that resulted. Counseling and speech therapy have helped Brandon reach his full potential. He loves football and baseball, and at age 7, he already demonstrates good athletic skills.
Janet appreciates postadoption support services, especially the health insurance coverage for the boys, without which she simply could not have adopted. She also uses respite care services for an occasional needed break.
In describing the challenges of adoption, Janet cites the emotional trauma from the abuse and neglect the boys endured. She has found that consistency and strict rules help the boys develop responsible behavior. She stated proudly of her sons, "They are healing every day."
Adapted from Voice for Adoption's Adoptive Family Portrait Project for National Foster Care Month.