The London 2012 Olympic Games end this Sunday. Olympic fever has taken over the world and provided me yet another opportunity to highlight adoption and foster care – I’m so grateful. After his win, thirty-four year old, shot put bronze medal winner, Reese Hoffa, used his achievement to raise awareness about the numbers of children in need of a permanent home and family.
Reese was the second child of a 15 year old teen mom. As a small child, Reese accidently set his home on fire. He recalls being put up for adoption between age 3 and 4. He attributed this to the house fire. The reality was that a young mother was struggling financially to care for her sons and made the decision to put them up for adoption to give them a chance at a better life. Reese remained in an orphanage for one year and was adopted by the Hoffa family at age 5.
I willing to bet that at some point prior to his adoption becoming final, the Hoffa’s were made aware that Reese had set a fire (even though he was practically a toddler). This tells me that the family saw a ‘child not a file’ and offered him the opportunity all young people deserve — to write his own life story.
Reese reunited with his birth mother in 2000. He was still in college. Once he heard the familiar voice he apologized for setting their home on fire and learned that his adoption was not initiated as a punishment but out of love.
Here is a synopsis of Reese’s Olympic speech:
“If you’re a loving, caring mother and father looking for a child, adoption is an incredible option. I’m definitely a testatment to that. I guess there could be a few bad adoptions. But I have to believe that most of them are great and these kids will turn out to be phenomenal people and very productive people in society.”
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.