A few weeks ago, I was at my desk when I heard a familiar voice in the lobby. "Look! I'm being adopted!"
As I came around the corner to confirm my suspicions, a handsome boy came running at me with arms outstretched for a hug. "Joy, did you hear? I'm being adopted!"
This child came into our care several years ago. He was angry, dirty, scared, and hurting. He could be explosive, very dysregulated, and struggled to understand hygiene. He had endured trauma, abuse, and neglect. And, he is on the autism spectrum. He struggled to trust or connect with anyone... and who could blame him for being on guard?
Yet, for some reason, whenever our paths crossed, I got a shy little hug. Sometimes on his way to an appointment or meeting in the halls... but I think those small moments made both our days better. I know they did mine.
He worked incredibly hard in treatment. He is quite a talker, and was always trying to figure out the why of everything. He worked hard in school, not easy for him, but he was dedicated. He tried hard to make friends, and began to learn about what good relationships look like.
He moved on to a group foster care level of care at the Ranch and when he found success there, moved into a home with a foster family. All the while, as he worked so hard, he grew older and, as such, his odds of being adopted dropped.
He continued counseling at the Ranch through Dakota Family Services. So, he was in our lobby.
In his hand was a book that his new forever family had put together for him to learn more about them and share with others. "Look Joy! I get my own room, and we have two dogs! I'm being adopted."
With that, I squeezed his hand and told him how proud we all are of him, and went back to my office.
One of those really good days.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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