When Jake Dekker first heard about the boy who would later become his son, he had a strong negative reaction. Nine-year-old Danny had been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and something called reactive attachement disorder. He’d grown up in foster care, having been abandoned by his mother as a baby, and then later abused by the people who were supposed to protect him.
Growing up, Jake Dekker never thought he’d be a father. He was gay and didn’t see any good examples of people like him being parents. Also, he battled substance abuse and for a time says he couldn’t imagine brining a child into his alcoholic world. But Dekker got clean, got a long term partner and slowly began to recognize a deep desire he had to become a father.
How he met, got to know and ultimately adopted the boy named Danny is the subject of the memoir, One Kid at a Time. Dekker says he wanted to write the story in part to talk honestly about the difficulties of adopting in the foster care system and to let people know they can be overcome.
Have you had experience adopting or being adopted within the foster care system? What was your experience like? What would have made a difference for you?
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OPB | Sept. 22, 2016