NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Thanksgiving is a time for loved ones to gather and reflect.

Being with a family means even more to some people.

This is National Adoption Month, celebrating parents who prepare these children for life. One parent is the focus of this week’s Snapshot New York with Steve Overmyer.

“What I hope people will see when they see us is that family can be anybody,” said foster parent Guy Bryant.

He didn’t choose their names or birth circumstances, but he did choose them.

“Everybody here is a work in progress, including me,” Bryant said.

Guy’s fostered 50 kids.

“What I hope people will see when they see us: Family can be anybody. It doesn’t have to be a person who has the same blood running through their veins as you,” said foster parent Guy Bryant. (credit: CBSN New York)

“There are so many kids out here that have nowhere to go and nobody to call family. It’s inconceivable to me. Everybody should have somebody that they can call family, even if they’re not biologically connected,” he said.

Every Wednesday, the Bryant family goes out to eat. Their top choice is barbecue.

“My motto is ‘If you feed me, you love me,’ and that’s how most of my kids feel. You feed me so you love me. It’s something so simple, that we think of it as so basic. But it’s really not basic for them,” he said.

Guy has spent his career working in children’s services, but 12 years ago he took a leap of faith and became a foster parent, altering his life to improve theirs.

“Every day that you live in life you’re working to better yourself.  And when you stop working to better yourself, that’s when things fall apart. So you should never be satisfied with what you’ve done today. The next day you should try to do something better or something more,” he said.

Currently living in Guy’s home are 21-year-old Romario and Greg. Dior is 16. Despite, the distractions of life, the dinner table still provides a setting to share.

“I see how, like, strong your love really affects everybody. You know, like, we’re all different, right? And it’s like, this group, it could’ve been anybody, like, sitting at this table. It’s a beautiful thing to see, like, how we just coexist with each other,” said Gregory Bell.

“Family to me is someone you could lean back on, like a support system. Just be yourself, and then you won’t be judged, because that’s what a family is like, it’s a team. That’s how I feel,” said Romario Vassell.

“It’s about love.  Family is who you can come to, who you’re around every day. The type of energy that is surrounded by you, who pushes you, they brace you to do the right thing every day,” said Dior Dillon.

Each foster child has a tragedy they’re overcoming. It’s not enough just to take someone out of a bad environment. The change in their life begins with how they’re perceived.

“I embrace you waking up every day, first thing in the morning, and grinding. And I’m like, are you, I have to like reciprocate the energy,” Greg said. “I feel like I have a strong purpose now.”

“My part is really small.  My part is to feed you, care for you, nurture you – so you can be the person that’s stuck inside. My part is small to me,” Guy said.

“That’s the big part,” Overmyer said. “The big part is having someone to help lift you up when you’re down.”

“Yeah but it comes easily,” Guy said.

“Easy” because the stable environment of acceptance is the foundation of his family.

“Family is whoever is there for you.  And whoever needs you.  And whoever you need,” Guy said.

New York’s ACS has helped reduce the number of kids in foster care by 70 percent. This year, ACS has helped increase the number of foster homes by 50 percent.

If you’d like to find out more about being a foster parent, click here.

Comments

Leave a Reply