I want to share my mother’s reflections. She has written the following on “The Power of One.”
In my mother's words: We raised twelve children, both “homemade” and adopted, and people often ask, “How did you do it?” But last week I met Ralph, and Ralph is the one who makes me ask, “How do you do it?”
Ralph is a single parent, a divorced dad whose children are now grown. Five years ago Ralph decided he needed a challenge. He viewed a web site where older children are available for adoption, and he chose 10-year-old David. Like most children who have been in foster care for many years, David had collected a lot of baggage which he brought to the new relationship. “I knew it would be a challenge,” says Ralph. “I just didn’t know how much of a challenge.”
Through David, Ralph has been introduced to the police more than once. He has been called to the school more times than he can count. He sometimes gets an uneasy feeling that others are judging him. If David has problems, do others assume he is failing as a parent? Does Ralph himself worry that he might be failing as a parent?
But Ralph is not put off by the difficulties. David is now 15, and after five years as Ralph’s son there are some bright moments. Ralph knows that children are not raised in a vacuum. “I take all the help I can get,” says Ralph. David’s “Big Brother” reaches out to him, even arranging for him to be the ball boy for the Pacers one evening. Discovering that he can play football and that he is good at it has motivated David to take more interest in school and to do better at his studies. His football coach takes a personal interest in David and gives him much more than coaching skills.
Five years and counting. One single dad. One troubled child. One child who now has someone he can trust, someone who will never give up on him. David now has the potential to become an adult who is comfortable with himself and who can give to others. Can Ralph or any of us take on a more important challenge?
Peter A. Kenny, Attorney for Adoption and Foster Care
Executive Director of ACT (Adoption in Child Time)