Saturday, March 18, 2017

I Was a Stranger, Day 18: Barry Farmer

Barry Farmer is a single father to three boys he adopted. Raised by his grandparents and a third-grade teacher who took him under her wing, Barry knew he wanted to become a foster dad back in high school.“I was 17 years old when I wrote in my journal, ‘I want to adopt a child from foster care,’” Barry said.

At age 20, while working in a day care, he answered an ad for foster parents. He knew he was called to work with youth. “I've never been the type of guy to party,” Barry said. “I wanted a child I could take care of and share experiences with before I got too old.”

By age 21, he was trained and ready to take on his first foster child, a 16-year-old boy and a “high-risk placement,” but the boy stayed for eight months before moving onto a placement that could address his special needs. “I hated to see him go, but we have stayed in touch,” said Barry. “From the beginning he called me ‘Dad.’ Seven years later he still does.”

After that first placement, he continued to care for children in the short term and long term...and then he decided to become a more permanent parent: he adopted three boys: Darrell, 13, Xavier, 11, and Jeremiah, 3.

"Not every day is full of sunshine and rainbows. But if you work at it with understanding and compassion, your good days will far outweigh the bad ones." Farmer believes that everyone deserves a family, and that being family doesn't mean you have to look alike.

“In this day in time when it comes to family, and seeing color or seeing unity and belonging, and that’s what I was hoping to accomplish with my family anyway,” Farmer explained. “When I have them now, I can’t imagine them anywhere else, and it’s a typical family. We may not look alike, but it’s a typical family. I just want them to be someone that I can be proud of and they can be proud of, and that’s all it takes.” Farmer's our hero for the day, taking up the case of the stranger.

Our Lenten hero of the day! Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.

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