It Just Takes Love

Story by Stacey Helton

Adam moved into the Knight foster home on May 5, 2005. He was taken out of his biological parent’s custody due to issues of severe neglect. The home where he and his siblings resided was filled with violence and insecurity.

Now a teenager, Adam recalls, “My father beat up my mom and was always on drugs. The police were called all of the time on dad. My mom, well, she just slept all day and night.” Adam told of one instance at the age of six or seven when he left home barefooted and walked to the store so he could get some milk for his little brother.

“I had to make us breakfast all the time and we needed some milk.”

Adam, upon entering the Therapeutic foster home of Tommy and Betty Knight, was a far different kid than he is these days. According to his now adoptive parents, Tommy and Betty, Adam was a very scared and anxious child. He came to the Knight home at the age of nine.

Tommy remembers Adam as an angry kid that was constantly fearful.

“Adam was afraid of bugs, water, germs, and would walk around in circles all day long.” He was on so much medication and had constant nightmares.

Adam was highly imaginative but could not tell real from make believe. When he became frustrated or upset he would bang his head on things.

“He also refused to eat,” adds Betty. “We tried everything but he had severe food issues like many other children in foster care.”

Adam would often have “melt downs” and had to be in self contained classes due to his behavioral and social issues at school. He admits, “I did not have any friends and could not make any because I couldn’t utter even a few sentences.”

Adam could picture what he wanted to say in his mind but just could not verbalize it to say it aloud. He believes this was difficult because he had never attended school much while living in his biological home where his mother slept all day.

Adam has been living with the Knights for almost seven years now. He is not a foster child anymore but is now and official part of the Knight family as he was officially adopted on Feb. 3, 2009.

When Adam looks back on his first day in the Knight home he says, “I thought these people are so weird. The way they lived was so strange to me because they were so carefree, fun, and happy all the time.”

This was foreign to Adam as his lifestyle at his biological home was very different than this.

Both Tommy and Betty Knight agree that Adam has overcome so much and has made huge progress. He has good grades and is no longer in self-contained classes at school. Adam, who attends regular classes, is in the 9th grade. His favorite subject is science.

Tommy and Betty light up when they brag on their son Adam’s test scores. Adam now has friends and his communication skills have improved tremendously. He no longer hurts himself or is constantly worrying.

As for the food issues, Betty states, “He eats us out of our house.”

Adam reminisces on his past and states “I knew I had a lot of problems when I was little but I now know they weren’t really my fault.” He believes the Knights have taught

him to open his heart and to learn to care and trust in others. He believes he has learned from mistakes and has overcome so many things himself. “I still have to overcome a lot more, but I can.”

When asked where Adam sees himself in the next three years, he says, “I have to go to college so I have some good job choices in the future. He wants to be an engineer or something where he can make stuff with his hands.

Adam has a new and happy life with opportunities ahead of him. He and those around him can see his progress. He is a success story already. He is now 16 years old and looks forward to his future. He admits that it was hard at first, but now he is thankful for a good foster family caring for him, accepting him, and opening their home and hearts to him.

There are other success stories like Adam’s just waiting to be made. If you are interested in fostering or adopting a child, please contact Stacey Helton at Counseling Associates Therapeutic Foster Care program, (479) 968-1298 ext. 1430 or via email at shelton@caiinc.org.

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