After 29 Foster Homes, Teen Finally Finds a Permanent Home with 2 Dads

August 27, 2013  |  
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If this story from People doesn’t break your heart, we don’t know what will. Jed became a ward of the state when, at age 3, he was found tied to his bed and eating out of a dog bowl. A child of mentally ill parents, Jed was bounced around to a whopping 28 foster homes before the last one stuck and turned into his “forever family.”

Billy Maddalon was a volunteer at the Alexander Youth Network where he first met Jed, who was at that point 14 years old. He told the magazine,

“It just felt like somebody had to save him. I said, ‘We’re [Maddalon and his partner Brooks Shelley] the right people.’ Even if 29 families thought the same thing, we’re naive and optimistic. We believe in happy endings.”

Maddalon was just in time, too. Jed was about to be taken from his latest foster family and put into a mental institution. He became the couple’s foster child and it was really tough at first. Maddalon says the boy ate his first dinner with his fingers while sitting under the dining room table; he also ran away from home, believing himself unlovable. He’s now 19 years old and on his way to college.

The way these two men poured so much love and patience into Jed really saved his life. Jed and kids like him really need these families; they’re the ones left behind, the ones who get stuck in the system and really internalize the fact that no one wants them. The family Billy Maddalon and Brooks Shelley have built is one with such a touching story, and for anyone who worries about gay couples not making good parents? Just look at Jed.

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