My mother was convicted and began serving her sentence in a Florida women’s prison. I spent my childhood being raised by people that were not my family. My natural parents divorced while I was very young. And even after my mother’s imprisonment, I was not allowed to live with my natural father. I spent the next 8 years of my childhood in a children’s home and 4 different foster homes. Some of these were good and some were abusive. I attended 6 different elementary schools, three different middle schools and three different high schools.
During my seventh-grade year of school, my mother was granted parole and was released from prison. As we arranged to be reunited, she was arrested again for writing bad checks. After this I made an unusual request to the State. I asked them to remove my mother’s parental rights to me. After a series of IQ and Aptitude tests to determine my ability to make such a decision, the State granted my request.
During the summer following my 10th grade year in school and after 2 1/2 years in the same foster home, I was notified by the State of Florida that they were making some arrangements concerning my future. The State explained their decision. “Since it is nearly unheard-of for 15-year-olds to find adoptive parents, we decided that your best chance for the future was to become self-sufficient as soon as possible”. The State was arranging to enroll me in a special school in Georgia the following summer. There I would finish high school in about 18 months. By the time I turned 18, I would be working and able to support myself.
As you can imagine, that is not the kind of news that 15-year-old boys are accustomed to hearing. What would you have done in this situation? I can remember very clearly that despite the uncertain circumstances that I faced; God gave me peace about my future. He also gave me an overdose of determination.
I became determined to have a say in my own future so after the initial shock wore off, I got involved. I called a lady named Angela Babcock. Angela’s son, Wes and I became close friends during my stay at a previous foster home. Despite my lack of any genuine parenting, and her position as a single parent to her own two children, Angela treated me like a son. She often comforted me during troubled times in my abusive foster home. We stayed in touch even after I left that foster home and moved to a new one. As I spoke to Angela on the phone, I explained my predicament to her. I asked her if she might know someone who would like to adopt an “adorable” 15-year-old teenager as their son.
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