Family should mean love and stability. Entering foster care and moving homes multiple times is extremely tough for children and can skew their idea of what family even means. This story was a refreshing, hopeful account of how one father made a boy’s dream for family become a reality.

Jef entered foster care around age 8 and lived in one foster home and one group home. He felt shy, bullied, and dreamed of being adopted. He knew in his heart that the group home wasn’t what family was supposed to be. One day he expressed to a staff member that he felt like Guy, another staff member, could be a good fit as an adoptive father.

Guy was flattered upon hearing this, but initially felt he couldn’t take on the responsibility. He had already raised a son. Upon talking to Jef and seeing his excitement, however, he changed his mind. “I didn’t want to shatter his dream of family,” says Guy. They began the process of adoption and Jef, now 21, calls Guy “Dad.” They both believe it is never too late for family.

Guy says Jef is like any son; there are joys and there are hard moments too. The important thing is that even when they’re mad, they’re still in touch. Family is forever. That is the kind of stability and underlying love that all children need. Jef even states that his family, just the two of them, is perfect. It’s a great point to make – that family can be any size and still be perfect for the people in it. Hopefully, through hearing stories like this, more people can see how rewarding being a foster and/or adoptive parent can be.

Guy worked with You Gotta Believe, an agency whose mission is to get older children adopted and reduce homelessness. According to their website, more than 400,000 children are in the foster care system in the US. Each year, nearly 25,000 of these children will age out of the system. They also cite a grim statistic that as many as half of the children aging out of the system will become homeless.

Learn more about how to help older youth in the foster care system.