RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s the time of year where we anticipate gathering around with our families, celebrating Thanksgiving and what brings us together. And for one Richmond area family, what brings them together is an unusual picture.
When Barry Farmer pictured his family, he never pictured this:
“This was our first family portrait together,” Barry Farmer chuckled, pointing to the picture with his sons.
Farmer is a young black man with long dreadlocks. His three white sons have long golden hair.
“I saw on redditt the funniest comment about the picture," said Farmer. "It was being shared as a meme. And someone said ‘OMG, T-Pain adopted Hanson.’ And I like... die.”
The story is certainly an unexpected one. Even to Farmer.
“The biggest question is, ‘Oh my God, Bear, how did you get these white kids?’ And I’m like, ‘hey, foster care is like Russian roulette. You don’t know who is going to show up at the door.’”
Farmer started adopting kids when he was 20.
“I felt like I didn’t have anything better to do," White said. "I was in a crossroads of ‘Do I go to school, do I just want to stay working,’ and I decided to just do that instead. Not knowing that I would end up with three kids.”
And yes, this multi-racial family thing did come with some questions and uncertainties.
“I was like, ‘I’ve never really thought about this and how are they taken care of?’" Farmer remembered. "What do they do? Where do they shop for clothes? Dang I forgot the sunscreen. He is burnt. It was like a learning curve for me. I just wanted to help.”
Farmer has a valuable message worth sharing about adopting any kid.
“Our older kids still have a lot of firsts that they need to experience as well," said Farmer. "The first year of kindergarten, the first day of any school year. We have prom and the driving. The first job. College. All that stuff that they need help being guided with. And just because they didn’t come bundled up in a blanket, doesn’t mean that they won’t reciprocate the feelings that you have for them.”
And, he says, adoption is filled with lots of misconceptions. It’s not always easy from the start.
“Adoption is filled with misconceptions that it’s all rainbows and unicorns and you just run off into the sunset and that’s just not it. That is just not it. It’s very emotional afterward as well,” said Farmer.
“You’re still processing some things. This is permanent now. You have to take in the people who have brought you into their home and trying to love on you and things like that and that can be hard, you know? Foster care is like the real world. Remember that? TV show where you stick a bunch of strangers in a house and hope that something magic happens. That’s foster care and it’s the same way with adoption.”
But he says what you gain through that struggle, is far greater. When Farmer’s family sits together, they have extra reasons to be thankful and extra reasons to reflect on how they got here.
“I think they were 11 and 9 in that picture,” said Farmer.
It’s an extra special storythat they hope will change lives for other kids, waiting for an unexpected story, for an adoptive family, who takes them as they are.
“You don’t even have to use that label. You can just say this is my family and I’m moving forward and there’s that,” said Farmer, who points out that kids in foster care often have to get permission from a team for something as simple as cutting their hair.
Being an official part of a family, solves this.
Farmer shared his family’s story with us because November is National Adoption Month.
This year, the Ad Council and AdoptUSKids is working on a new campaign to inspire people to adopt teens from foster care.
And as Farmer says it’s ok to have questions.
For more information on adoption, visit adoptuskids.org or call 888-200-4005.
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