“He knew what he needed to do and did it.”

Standing on the sidelines of the track, Grant proudly and enthusiastically cheers on his son, Jesus, as he crosses the finish line. He beams with pride and thinks to himself, “Jesus has come so far in his life and has a bright future. Wow, he could even go to the Olympics one day!”

In 2016 Grant happened to meet a single dad who was hosting an older foster child in Kidsave’s Los Angeles Weekend Miracles program. This chance meeting set Grant on his journey to fatherhood. Grant thought, “Well if he can do it as a single parent, so could I.” Grant eagerly signed up for a Weekend Miracles advocacy event, where kids and adults would decorate cakes together. He hoped to meet a child who wanted to be adopted. Amidst the chaos of icing cakes, Grant met a kind-hearted and sweet 15-year-old, Jesus, who needed a family and was excited to get to know Grant.

The two instantly connected over their mutual love of sports teams, like Jesus’s favorite football team, the Seattle Seahawks, and Grant’s beloved USC Trojans. That first event launched a series of weekend activities together. “I wasn’t surprised to have gotten along so well with Jesus, and that December, he moved in with me. He was my Christmas gift,” says Grant. On Jesus’s arrival, Grant organized a welcome home party where friends and family met and got to know Jesus.

On September 11, 2018, Grant and Jesus finalized their adoption and officially became a family. With love and guidance from Grant, Jesus is now enrolled in California State University Los Angeles. He earned an athletic scholarship for cross country and track and hopes to pursue track professionally. He is also studying criminal justice to possibly become a police officer, detective, or SWAT leader. “I just like to help people, and I want to make this world a better place however I can,” said Jesus in an interview with CAL STATE LA, for Golden Eagle Athletics.

“Jesus is living proof that all a foster youth needs is a stable environment,” says Grant. When Jesus was in foster care, college was not on his radar. Before meeting Grant, Jesus had planned to join the military because he didn’t think he could get into college. In three semesters of high school, while he was in foster care, Jesus was placed in five different schools, which had a detrimental impact on his GPA and the academic credits he would need to attend college. With guidance and support from Grant, Jesus finally saw college in his future and began to buckle down and apply himself by taking extra classes, working with a tutor, and going to summer school to improve his grades. “I am very motivated, and I always want to get better,” says Jesus. “No matter what happens, I always want to be the best I can be.”

Jesus has overcome self-doubt and tough living arrangements. Now, with a solid support system, Jesus has a straightforward attitude about his future. “I could guide him and tell him that he needs to take certain classes, but, if he didn’t have it within him, he wouldn’t be as accomplished as he is,” says Grant. “He knew what he needed to do and did it.”

Hosting and adopting a foster child is not always easy; there are challenging times, just as there are with any teenager, says Grant. “Be prepared to deal with some rebellion and realize that those times are going to come. Learn how to most effectively help your foster child overcome any residual hardships that they may be healing from.”

Grant feels that the most rewarding aspect of being a parent to Jesus has been seeing his confidence develop. “Jesus has developed his sense of self-worth and knows now that he can do whatever he sets his mind and effort to in his life,” says Grant.

Jesus recently celebrated his 20th birthday. “Now that Jesus is 20 years old, he can take charge of his life. I will continue to help him along the way,” says Grant. “But, ultimately, it is going to be up to him.”

Grant would like to see Jesus continue his love for track and cross country while furthering his education. “When he first came to me, even at 15 years old, I told him, you are going to go to college, that is not an option,” recalls Grant. “Jesus has dreams of going to the Olympics and has a very good shot of qualifying!”

In Grant’s opinion, it is never too early to set your child on a successful path to higher education. “The earlier you get involved with school counselors to make sure your kid is on track, the better for their future,” says Grant.

We are so proud of Jesus and Grant for overcoming their obstacles and staying focused on what is important, a happy and successful future for Jesus to achieve all that he seeks in life. We all hope to see Jesus participate in the Olympics one day.

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