“I accepted them as they are. It never occurred to me that parents could be vulnerable and worry about if the kid wanted them, so that really connected us.”
I’m used to bouncing around from place to place. I grew up with my grandma in Honduras – my family had restaurants and I always loved being around food and the kitchen. But when I came to the US at age 10 to stay with my mom, things didn’t work out as planned and finding a place to stay was tough. I entered residential care at The Children’s Village, and to be honest I was scared. But once I got there I got connected with the staff and they really helped me. I’ve been able to make up all the school credits I needed to enter my senior year, and I’ve also received a lot of awards for having perfect attendance and being Student of the Week. Now I’m on the high honor roll and on track to graduate in June. CV also changed something for me that I never expected: finding a permanent home and family.
My new dads Mike and Chris and I found each other through a program called “You Gotta Believe.” They were in orientation to become foster parents, and I was speaking on a panel of teens in care. We made an impression on each other, and when I saw them again a few months later at one of the organization’s picnics we spent the day together. At that point, I just knew they were supposed to be my parents. They spent Thanksgiving with me at Williams Cottage on CV’s campus. Then on Christmas Eve 2019 I had my first overnight, which turned into me spending a whole week with them. Right when I started doing regular stays at their home, the pandemic hit, and schools shut down. It was the perfect time to remain with them, and we became a family full-time. When they committed to adopting me, it was an amazing feeling. The transition was easy because we had already known each other so well.
I remember Chris saying at the first meeting that he was worried no kid would want gay parents, but I didn’t care as long as they loved me. I wanted to be with them, so I accepted them as they are. It never occurred to me that parents could be vulnerable and worry about if the kid wanted them, so that really connected us.
This past Christmas morning I wanted to give my dads a special present, so when they came downstairs, I yelled “good morning dads!”. I had never called them dad before, so it was a special moment for all of us.
Now I’m looking ahead, and I’ve decided I want to go to Culinary school. My dad, Chris, says I have a sophisticated palate and a natural ability to cook, and I love cooking dinner for the family. My dads have funds set aside for me to complete my education, and CV is helping me with the application process and deciding which school I want to attend. I feel really lucky.
Wesley was in the residential foster care program on CV’s Dobbs Ferry campus. Hundreds of children in the NY metro area await adoption each year. At CV, we treat residential care like an emergency room – temporary, and only when absolutely necessary. What We Believe- For 200 years we have put children in orphanages, Indian Schools, and more recently residential treatment centers. Children do best with people who love them unconditionally – not in long-term residential settings.