Having grown up in foster care, 34-year-old Barry Farmer knows exactly what displacement feels like. His own parents were unable to care for him, but his Grandma Cora took him in when he was 5 years old, and he finally found the loving home he needed. Inspired by her kindness, Farmer decided to also open his heart and home to children in the foster care system. At 20 years old, the Virginia-based man became a foster father with a local agency, and now, he’s raising his three adopted sons as a single parent.
Farmer, who is the radio host of The Barry Farmer Morning Show, met his first placement a year after he got his foster parent license. The then 16-year-old teenager stayed with Farmer for six months, then two months later, Farmer received another call. “They asked if I want to try another teenager or do I want to go with a 7-year-old,” Farmer recalls. “[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.” Farmer didn’t know anything about the child, named Jackson, but he decided to meet him.
“This child, in my head, is Black,” Farmer recalls. “When I got there, he was just the whitest white child that I ever worked with.” He continues, “I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be interesting.’ Because I have no clue what I am doing.” Despite their physical differences, the two bonded immediately, and Farmer understood that Jackson just needed a family. “He was so loving and caring,” Farmer recalls. “He just wanted some hugs and to call me Dad.”
Jackson was supposed to be…