Single Man Who Grew Up in Foster Care Adopts Three Boys

At 20 years old, Barry Farmer was unsure what he wanted to do with his life. Having grown up in foster care, he understood the important role of a foster parent for children in the system, so, when he saw an ad looking for foster parents, he decided to apply. 

“After talking to the director of programs she was like, ‘Wow, impressive maturity. I’m willing to take a chance and license you as a foster parent,’” the now-34-year-old told TODAY Parents. “The director was like, ‘I can get you a license. But to be honest a young, single male, social workers are not going to be kicking down the door asking for you.’”

One year later, Farmer met his first placement: a 16-year-old who was living in a group home. The teen stayed with Farmer for about six months. Two months later, Farmer received a call that changed his life. 

“They asked if I want to try another teenager or do I want to go with a 7-year-old,” Farmer explained. “(I thought) ‘Why don’t we go with the 7-year-old and see how it is going to go?’ It seemed like I could be a little more active and take him places.”

In his head, Farmer, who is Black, assumed the child was too. “When I got there, he was just the whitest white child that I ever worked with … I thought, ‘Wow this is going to be interesting.’ Because I have no clue what I am doing,” he said.

Farmer soon realized that the boy, Jaxon, wanted what any other child wanted. “He was so loving and caring,” said Farmer. “He just wanted some hugs and to call me dad.”

Jaxon left to be adopted by another family, and Farmer missed him immensely. “I didn’t realize how close he was to me until he left,” he said. “I was sad and he was sad. He did end up coming back and that’s when we both decided that I would adopt him.” Farmer was just 22, but it felt right.

Almost immediately, Jaxon told his new dad that he wanted a sibling. “We were on our way back from the courthouse and I heard a little voice in the backseat saying, ‘So am I going to have a brother?’ and I’m like ‘I just became your dad like 30 minutes ago can we just calm down?’” Farmer said. “Once I was taking care of him, he did need a sibling.”

Farmer said that his own childhood led him to fostering and adopting children. He was in kinship foster care and raised by his grandmother.

“What motivates me are those feelings of rejection of not having my parents around,” he said. “My grandmother, she didn’t have to take me in. I didn’t even know her.

“Why she did it, it was to help. She didn’t have to, she wanted to. Those are my reasons as well. I didn’t have to, I wanted to,” he said. “It just really gave me a sense of purpose and I enjoyed it.”

He then adopted a boy named Xavier, followed by another boy named Jeremiah. Jaxon is now 19; Xavier is now 17 and Jeremiah is 11. The family enjoys going on road trips together on the East coast to visit amusement parks, explore new cities and go to the beach.“We have a bunch of laughs,” Farmer said. “That really brought us all together. Every time we did it, they got to meet some of my extended family along the way.”

As for what he has learned about himself along the way, Farmer said he has a lot more patience than he thought. “It’s also given me an opportunity to be the father I wish that I had.”

Image source: TODAY

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