Malachi loves playing the piano. He gets a piano lesson every week at Graffiti 2. Malachi and his whole family are a part of our programs. He has two brothers, Emmanuel and Anthony. Their foster father, Wesley, is an active volunteer.
Below is an article written by Jess Medlock about this special family.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, there was the usual flurry of activity at Graffiti 2 Community Ministries in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. The after school programs were going on with the GSALT (Graffiti Serving and Leading Teenagers) on the main floor and the G2 Kids downstairs. Three brothers in the program, ages 10, 11 and 13, are blessed to have their foster dad, Wesley, there serving as a parent volunteer. One thing these young guys have in common with other foster kids around the country is that they have experienced challenging and difficult situations that led to being placed in foster care. When asked about their current home life, you will hear nothing but glowing reviews, with the bulk of the positive comments being directed toward Wesley.
The boys are happy to share about things they learn at Graffiti 2, such as piano, the Bible and respect. Ten year old Anthony put it well by saying “the rules make sense.” They are equally forthcoming about the things they learn from Wesley. Eleven year old Malachi says, “If you don’t act good, he teaches you how to do better. He teaches how to learn from your mistakes.”
Wesley has been involved in foster parenting for over 20 years. He explains that a major intent of foster parenting is to hopefully return children to their birth parents, but admits that for the past five years he has been looking for the right situation to adopt. He believes that the opportunity to adopt these wonderful boys may be opening up and, while he is fully aware of the challenges of raising children as a single man, says he is ready and capable of being a parent. While many men would prefer to father their own children, Wesley has a different take on the topic. “I’m very aware of the need for fatherhood in the African-American community. My desire is more to fill that void than to have my own biological children.”
One of the concerns Wesley has had was how he would be perceived as a single foster parent in his community, especially since traditionally, many people don’t see the father as the primary parent. To overcome those challenges, he says, “I had to adopt my community as my extended family by participating in organizations and being a visible role model as a single foster parent.”
When asked about his source of strength, Wesley says, “I’m a very spiritual person. I love God. Even before these boys, I had asked God for a family. It is so amazing that these three boys are in every way what I had asked God for and more for an adoption.”
He describes the four of them as a spiritually bonded family who has gratitude. That lines up perfectly with some of the “stuff” that ten year old Anthony says Wesley teaches them. “He teaches me gratitude. He says you should wake up grateful, thanking God.”
Graffiti 2 thanks God for Wesley and his family. Graffiti 2 is a place for families. Families of all types find a place @335Beekman. Many find a family here. If you want to support Families@335Beekman, consider participating in our Week of Giving.