Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Brothers, Big Sisters

This month I celebrate one year with my little brother. We all know how times flies, yet in this case it seems unreal that we have been hanging out for a year now.

After Mike and I married we decided that we wanted to become foster parents. The whole experience was incredible, and we were able to add love and kindness to lives that hadn't known much of that. The foster experience allowed us to realize that we didn't want to have a child unless we could raise that child forever, and the adoption system seemed out of reach for us financially speaking.

So one day we talked about me becoming a big brother, and I started the process. It has been a perfect example of trying to make the world a better place for all living beings!

Big Brothers and Big Sisters has been around forever. Their work changes the lives of children and teens all over the country. I checked them out and decided that this was something that could work for me. I should add that, at least in Colorado, there were anti-gay practices happening and those are long since gone.

The process is simple: background check, fingerprinting, an interview with one of the staff, and a training. The time that BBBS asks is 2-3 three hangouts a month, agreed upon by you and your little (the child/teen you are connected with).

To maintain as much privacy as I can for my little, I won't use his real name. Joe is 8 years old and in the third grade at school. He was 7 when we met. He lives pretty close to us, which I think is important in creating a long-term relationship. BBBS's vision is that a big brother will remain so until the little graduates from high school, so living close to Joe makes visits a lot more convenient.

In the past year we have gone on hikes, had library visits, gone swimming (Joe loves the rock climbing wall at the Lakewood public pool!), spent hours on math problems, and volunteered at our local animal shelter (imagine that!).

The relationship is great for both of us. I get to be part of a wonderful young man's life and he gets a (hopefully) positive role model. He shares his home with his mom, older brother and younger sister. Me being his big brother doesn't take the place of him having a father, yet it gives him access  to another world, and growing experiences with an adult male.

I love it. And as tough as an 8 year old can be to read, Joe is digging it too. If you live in the Denver area and might be interested in becoming a big brother or big sister, check out their website: http://www.biglittlecolorado.org/ If you don't live in the Denver area a simple Google search will get you to your closest office.

Thanks so much for reading!

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