“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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