Single Man Gives Three Boys the Father He Never Had
1st of March 2021
Barry Farmer once believed that he would live a regular life, but at the tender age of 20, he started an unforgettable journey that would set him on a course that would forever change his life.
“I wanted to live a peaceful, simple life and do the right thing. I was looking forward to becoming a trucker, so I picked up an employment guide. As I was reading through the pages, I saw an advertisement to become a foster parent. To qualify, you had to be 18 years–old. Since I was already working with kids, and I had already lived it by being in kinship care, I thought on it, and decided to make the call,” says Barry.
Although Barry didn’t know what to expect, he was passionate about making a difference. He decided to go through the process of becoming a certified foster parent. “They set up the interview and I met the director of the agency. I didn’t think she would take me seriously, but she did, and I had a great interview. It took a while to get my first placement, but I kept my license active,” says Barry.
Barry’s first placement was a 16-year-old-boy from a group home. Barry recalls, “He was labeled by the agency as being difficult, but we were able to bond and he started calling me ‘Dad.’ He was eventually placed in another home because living in the inner city where I was living, wasn’t a good fit for him.”
Having his first experience as a single foster father made Barry even more determined to help youth and provide stability for them. One month later, he received a call regarding a 7-year-old boy who needed placement. Barry was excited to open his home to another child, but was shocked when his child was different than he expected.
According to Barry, “I was looking for a black kid, but when I got there and walked up to the table, I saw a white kid. I immediately thought, ‘this can’t be the right table.’ But it was. The social worker said he needed to be in a home by himself. I decided to take him in as my own child. I had godsons who came over a lot, so I brought them over to meet him. He was elated to see kids and they got along well. He was never violent or had any behaviors that were not typical of an 8-year-old. He’s now 18 years old, and is one of my adoptive sons.”
Although Barry never intended to adopt, and was committed to sending youth back home with their families after they became stable, he found himself open to the idea after learning it was possible through foster care. When asked if he had any obstacles or challenges about being a single, African American man raising Caucasian boys, he stated, “It’s surprising, but no. I have not had any obstacles.”
“I often talk to other foster parents who are raising children of different races, and they have experienced racial tensions. But when my kids and I go on road trips, visit water parks, or are in public, I have never had anyone approach me, and say, ‘Where did you get them from?'”
Being a single foster-turned-adoptive-father has many perks, according to Barry. What he loves most are the experiences he’s shared with his children, and being their consistent father figure for the last 10 years. He also appreciates having the ability to provide his sons with important life lessons, such as, there are natural consequences of poor choices. He tells his sons that he can’t pull them from the fires they create and that they will work hard and make mistakes.
What Barry loves most about fostering or adopting teens is that there are a lot of firsts. “You can teach them how to drive, take them on a plane, or do other things they’ve never experienced. Unlike younger kids, you can get an honest reaction from them about the things they like or don’t like. So, even though it takes time to build trust and bond with older children, they can at least tell you why things aren’t working,” says Barry.
For men who want to foster, but aren’t sure if it’s right for them, Barry says, “Just do it. Figure out your routine and see if your job is flexible. You can do it if you have a village behind you. I rarely got help from others, because I didn’t want my children to think I wasn’t coming back for them. My younger son once thought that if I had someone else watch him, I wasn’t coming back to get him,” says Barry.
One of Barry’s biggest determinations for being a successful foster father, was thinking, “What would your son think?” He says he used to be a guy who was going nowhere and was working a regular job. According to Barry, “Someone told me that I was beyond working every day for someone else because I had talent. They also told me to stop settling for the clouds and reach for the stars.” Barry did just that, and is now a very successful father. Some of his accomplishments include being the spokesman for Adopt Us Kids, foster care adoption advocate, speaker, mentor, host of The Barry Farmer Morning Show with Sharon Lizzy a nationally syndicated radio show based out of Richmond Virginia and The Foster Care & Adoption Life Talk Web Series, as well as the creator and administrator of one of the largest online support group for foster care and adoptive families. With his show, Barry enjoys connecting with various individuals from across the country, giving them a platform to share their stories and life’s work.
To Barry, 2021 is the year of growth-and is the re-launch of 2020 dreams. Barry’s goals for 2021 is to expand his mission by advocating for older kids. He wants to use his platform to make people aware of the kids who are waiting, so that they will get a chance to find loving homes and live better lives. For more information about Barry Farmer, visit www.barryfarmer.com/.
If you want to learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please schedule a virtual Foster Care Orientation, by calling 909-825-5588 Ext. 230, or by sending an email to epowers@TrinityYS.org.
Eve Powers, Foster Care Marketing Specialist
Eve has a strong commitment to helping foster youth and their families thrive and live successful lives. A former foster youth, Eve obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Communications from California State University, San Bernardino, and is a certified Holistic Life Coach, motivational writer, self-help author and celebrity interviewer. Beyond the Trinity Youth Services blog, Eve’s articles can be found in numerous platforms including Foster Focus Magazine, Heart & Soul Magazine, BET Centric and Huffington Post. A passionate advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eve continues to educate, support and mentor foster youth throughout Southern California.