- May 7, 2014
It is January of 2013, just before his fifth birthday, and Deante is moving to his eighth official “placement.”
After his birth, he moved a lot with his adolescent mother -- from foster homes to a mother-baby program and an apartment of their own -- until the day when his mother’s assaultive behavior finally caught up with her and put her in jail.
As an infant, he watched while she used drugs, hung out with “bad people” and moved around without a plan or the items needed to care for Deante. Worker after worker called Child Protective Services because they could not stand to see how Deante’s mom ignored him, belittled him and yelled at him.
Once his mother went to jail, Deante went to live with a series of relatives who cared for him and then went to a series of foster homes. At his seventh placement, his foster parents were tired of having to go and get him from school because he was “acting out”.
At this point Deante no longer saw his mom and needed a family to adopt him. After seven placements, he had not found a family yet. Deante was being asked to trust new people and try to love, again.
Placement Number 8: Kathy and Lisa’s house was clean. It was full of things kids needed. They had pets and an older son, who wanted to be Deante’s big brother and liked to play with Deante. And there was an older daughter who helped Deante and liked him, too.
Kathy and Lisa offered him hugs and nice words and helped him with all of his fears. He had a lot of them. He panicked. He acted out at school. He noticed that the therapist from his other homes still saw him at Kathy and Lisa’s, and he said Deante was safe there and could stay.
Deante took jazz and tap lessons and hip hop. He began to hope and feel happy. Deante began to do better at school than ever before. And then, Kathy and Lisa adopted Deante; never again would he lose everything.
Deante is too young to really understand how completely Kathy and Lisa’s love changed the course of his life, but it is clear in his smile and his play that he knows he is loved and that he will finally have the care he needs. After five years of fear, uncertainty and losses, Deante has found his family; he can let himself love, and know warmth, nurturing and acceptance in endless supply.
This May, HRC is proud to celebrate National Foster Care Month by honoring the leaders at child welfare agencies that are committed to improving outcomes for LGBTQ youth, the LGBTQ foster youth themselves, and the foster families supporting them. Stay tuned to HRC blog throughout the month for more foster care stories.