National Adoption Month Cont’d: “Nice Looking Kid”

As National Adoption Month comes to a close I will share with you another excerpt from my book “It’s Heart Work: Being The Village That Raises A Child”.
Last time, I shared with you the chapter about meeting my first and oldest son, Bryant.  This time I’ll share about meeting my younger son, Branden.

Although Bryant and Branden are now adults, I still remember these days as if they were only yesterday.  And even having experienced the rollercoaster ride of being a single adoptive mom, they still bring a smile to my face.  I hope they will for you too.

Chapter 13 

Nice Looking Kid

 Approaching two years together as mother and son, Bryant and I agreed that neither of us really liked being an only child.  He wanted to be the oldest, and of course wanted a brother rather than a sister.  That was just fine with me, because being a single parent, and based upon the history of my relationship with my mother during adolescence, I was concerned that there would definitely need to be more male energy in the house.  I stressed to him the importance of showing me that he was capable of being a good role model for a little brother.  

Still actively involved with the Bay Area’s Annual Black Adoption Fair, I participated in the planning, set-up and facilitation of activities for the event which was being held at a local Junior College and Bryant accompanied me. 

Busily running around all day there were hundreds of children of all ages with whom I came into contact however there was one child that captured my eye and heart off and on throughout the day.  He’d stood out in my mind as a quiet, yet spirited child whose sweet milk-chocolate skin and kissable forehead pulled at my heartstrings; and although, as I recall, we never spoke a word to one another verbally, the eyes of our souls spoke volumes. We all went home tired at the end of the day. 

 Several weeks later the fair photographer developed the photos, which a colleague and co-worker with the fair brought by my office for me to take a look at.   Guess what big brown eyes jumped out of the photos to speak to my heart once again?  I laughed as I viewed one of the photos of him posing with the “Sylvester The Cat” character.   I was told that I could not have it because she had to make sure that he got the photo which he himself had requested, sought out, and waited to have his picture taken with Sylvester- -a child after my own heart!   

I noticed his nametag, and saw that his birthdate was the same as my father’s- -interesting.  What was even more interesting was when I got home I laid the stack of approximately a hundred photos on the dining table at home while I began to prepare dinner.  Bryant decided to browse through them, and out of the hundreds of photographs, when he came to one photo, he paused and commented “nice looking kid”.  I stopped and walked over to see which kid he was speaking of, and imagine my shock when I saw that it was the same child who had caused my heart to swell! 

Following  a series of phone calls, conversations, and paperwork, I was finally on my way to my first “date” with the “nice looking kid” who’d already made an indelible imprint upon the hearts and minds of Bryant and me.

For the initial visit to meet Branden, I went alone and didn’t tell Bryant that I was going. However, he somehow instinctively knew and had told my friend “Auntie Gloria” whom he’d spent the day with while I was away, “My mom is going to meet my new brother”.   

In my excitement there was a profound sadness which began to overtake me as I arrived to pick Branden up from his current foster home, which was located in an impoverished neighborhood of Oakland.  The home was dark and cool, as was the foster mother.  She opened the door to the house, which in my memory seemed colorless, with a very flat tone and expressionless face and told me to come in.  She called Branden to come downstairs and showed very little interest in my reason for being there. 

Down the stairs came that little face we’d looked at time after time over the past several months.Though still as cute as a button, there was a sense of dimness and deprivation to his countenance.

In my attempts to interact with and help him to feel comfortable with me, I him asked him what I he liked to do and what were his favorite toys to play with.  He named off some things, and when I asked if I could see them, and he said “I don’t have any”.  Not really believing that to be true I turned to asked the foster mother if he did have any in his room and  I was told that he did not- -. period.  I looked up the long, dark foreboding stairway to what I assumed were the bedrooms, but decided to not even ask to see his room. 

Branden and I left for our “date” and when we got into the car his energy immediately ignited Within a block away we were chatting like popcorn.  He asked if we were going to get on the freeway.  I told him “no” and he wanted to know why.  We continued to talk. However, when we passed the freeway entrance he blurted “Hey! Back up lady and get on the freeway!”  I laughed so hard and I’m sure he probably wondered what was SO funny!  This would be just the FIRST of the many laughs I would hold in my heart and memories during my budding relationship with my new son-to-be.

 When we arrived at the “4-star restaurant” of the children’s eateries, McDonald’s, there was the usual Saturday flurry of kids all over the place.  While we were waiting in line to place our order, a man asked, “Are those all your kids?”  I looked around and pondered the thought “they’re all our kids’ but before I could say anything, the child who had already implanted himself in my heart proclaimed “I am!” and we both knew it!

 After hamburgers and all the “trimmings” we went to play at a local park and took pictures before I returned him to the foster home. 

I arranged to pick Branden up the following day for a Sunday outing to church and dinner so he and Bryant could meet.  We were all excited! 

On Sunday morning Branden greeted me warmly with a hug and held my hand as we walked to the vehicle.  I introduced him “Branden, this is my son Bryant; Bryant this is Branden”.  “Hi”,  “What’s up?”  We were riding in the van with my friend “Auntie Emelda” so I sat in the front passenger seat and allowed Bryant and Branden to sit in the seat behind us.  “Where are we going?” Branden asked.  “To church” I replied.  “Oh” he said, unenthusiastically. 

As Emelda and I talked on the way to church, I had one ear tuned in to the seat behind us. All I could hear was Branden chatting away.  He commented on everything he saw outside the windows as we passed down the street. Bryant seemed slightly amused by him but didn’t say much.  At church Branden loved the music, clapping his hands and even dancing with a little smile on his face.  He talked out loud during the service, needing to be directed to several times to be quiet and sit down.  He decided he wanted to sit in my lap.  After church we went and got something to eat and we were all tired.   

After we dropped Branden off at the end of the visit I asked Bryant what he thought of Branden.  With a smile, he said “he talks a lot, but he’s funny” (that would be the ongoing consensus and theme of their relationship).  When I asked if he thought we should consider having him for his brother he said “yeah”.

If you would like to read more about my life with Bryant and Branden,

 Purchase YOUR copy today!

In E-Book:


In Paperback:   

Proceeds from all sales benefit For A Child’s H.E.A.R.T., Inc. , ( the non-profit organization which I founded to provide services to current, former and transitioning foster and adoptive youth.

2 Responses to “National Adoption Month Cont’d: “Nice Looking Kid””

  1. collegeparkhighschoolalumni63 Says:

    Love and joy to you and your family. Happy Adoption Month!


  2. Ms. E Speaks Says:

    Thank you Jeanne! 😀


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