The year was 1972 and I was at the birthday dance of my girlfriend Donna. A song came up that for the time was controversial and I was really surprised they played it. “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves” blared through the record player. The song was proof that there was life after Sonny. I was destined to come face-to-face with the artist thirty years later on a hotel balcony in El Paso, Texas. This woman had done well considering the fact that she was placed in foster care at two and then released into the care of her grandmother(s) as her mother chased dreams in show business. Had it not been for kinship care, we may never have heard of the extravagant and wildly gifted Cher.
Little Stevie got off to a rough start. After a failed adoption, Steve was left in foster care. Eventually, a couple who could not have children adopted and raised him in what would become Silicon Valley. The young man did not have a lot of tolerance for formal education but was he ever a visionary! If you have a Macintosh computer or an iPhone, or if you have ever watched a film by Pixar, you might just think of the adopted little Stevie Jobs. What might have been different had he not been raised by the Jobs family who answered the call of adoption?
Twenty million records, three Brit awards, four Grammy awards and an MTV Video Music award all won by a young man who started his life in foster care with a family in Rumford, United Kingdom. The foster family would always remember him as the little boy who loved to play on the see-saw but they had no way of finding him. Later in life, he had a tearful reunion with his foster mother and sister on the Oprah Show. While his former foster family remembers him as “Henry,” we know him as the British singer, Seal.
The list of famous people that have been adopted or in foster care is huge, but I will close with a really special young lady.
I met Mindi when she was 16. She was a beautiful young girl with an indomitable spirit. After the loss of her father, she had bounced from home to home until she was placed in foster care. She was sweet and wild all at the same time. She was very bright but often skipped school. She put her foster parents through hades but they were relentless in their love and devotion. Even when she tried to be unlovable, they were still standing and supporting her without question. Her foster parents officially adopted her and her life positively progressed. She graduated high school, attended trade school and started a career in the medical profession. Mindi is now married with beautiful children. Her life is balanced, productive and healthy. The point is this: for every foster or adopted child that is now famous, there are hundreds of thousands that simply go on to live nice, normal, happy lives. They do so because unsung heroes took them in and loved them and gave them hope.
Go out of your way to thank a foster or adoptive family today. Thank God for these beautiful people!