Mother of a Teen
Two and a half years ago, my husband and I agreed to let an 11 yr. old boy come to stay with us. We were licensed foster parents with therapeutic training and experience and had been working with children of various and diverse backgrounds for over 12 years. We had recently advised the private licensing agency that we wanted to take an extended sabbatical from foster care and actually planned to pursue other areas of helping people.
The agency spoke with my husband who has a big heart and cannot seem to say “no”. They wanted us to keep a child in our home for two weeks only, just to see if he was someone that could be helped in their programs. Steven came to us with long, thick, bouncy brown hair and he wore clothes clearly appearing to be those mostly worn by girls. He was extremely effeminate and was often mistaken for a girl. He had been living with his mother and grandmother for most of his life, with the absence of a father. His relationship with his mother was extremely unhealthy and he had obviously suffered years of emotional incest abuse.
During his initial stay with us, he pretended several times to commit suicide. He would come to us and say “I took five pills”. Somehow, along the way we agreed to work with him and his stay became long-term. We happened to have a program manager in the foster care agency at that time who was Christian and she was sympathetic to our concern over his long hair and effeminate clothing. We are Bible believing Christians and we take our beliefs very seriously. We had to tread softly because the licensing agency was funded through the state and we could not make his seeming effeminacy an “issue”.
For the most part, Steven was just “a good boy”. He was not at all aggressive or verbally abusive as so many other foster children we had worked with were. He even had what appeared to be a great relationship with our biological son who is two years older than Steven. He embraced studying the Bible and made it obvious to us that he was very interested in it and the Truth it offered. He always knew from our practices what we believed; and that was the Bible—the whole Bible. But he had the telltale signs of gender confusion. He didn’t like to play sports or do anything where he might get hurt. He always gravitated toward girls. He wanted to crochet and knit. I was very distressed by his trends toward the effeminate, but my husband thought he would “outgrow” them. I was not satisfied with that, so I started researching.
Through a book by James Dobson, I was introduced to the work of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. I read his book Preventing Homosexuality: A Parent’s Guide. With each page I read I saw Steven. It was so obvious to me that Steven was “pre-homosexual” at the least. I kept telling my husband that he needed to spend lots of time with Steven, and he tried to, but was not heartfelt about it as I was. I felt so alone. There was really no one to talk to. This was a subject that was highly charged in several ways. People at church were just simply so uneducated about homosexuality even though they were firm about their stand on it. My other friends or people I worked with were either ignorant of the subject or held worldly views. I kept reading and researching and spent a lot of time at the NARTH and People Can Change websites. I read everything I could. I tried to redirect Steven away from his feminine activities and even talked with him about it and he always expressed a desire to get married someday and have a family. We learned later that he had no intention of being open about his feeling “gay” because he thought we wouldn’t adopt him if we knew.
We also have another person living with us who was too old to adopt but is a part of our family. Steven seemed to fit in so well and just completed our family. We decided to adopt him and it was final in the spring. Our eldest “son” who is now 21, was finally able to graduate from high school at the same time. We planned an adoption/graduation party for them. The morning of the party our biological son took me aside and told me that he had caught Steven “watching him take a shower”. From that day on, our lives have been turned upside down. The revelation of that day was that Steven is homosexual and had been having sexual fantasies about our biological son for over a year and had been “peeking” at him whatever chance he could get. We contacted the program manager who had changed from the original one since we moved from fostering to adoption. Steven was placed in a therapeutic foster home until we could sort things out. His relationship with our son was damaged. Our son who had accepted and loved Steven as his little brother felt violated and betrayed.
While he was in that home, he expressed his homosexuality to the foster parents and the other people in the agency. We spoke to the therapist that Steven had been seeing for the 2 ½ years he has lived with us. I confronted him with the question “What do you think causes homosexuality?” He expressed that he had a “salad” of opinions on the subject. He believed that homosexuality was environmental but that a small number were born with a same sex attraction. He also stated that he knew many same sex couples who were “perfectly healthy and adjusted.” He told us that he had asked Steven if he was okay with homosexuality. Steven said that he believed it was wrong because the Bible states it is wrong. The therapist asked him to forget about the Bible and tell him what he thinks about it. Steven repeated that he believed what the Bible states.
It became clear to everyone involved (the therapist, therapeutic foster family, and the licensing agency) that we were not going to “embrace” Steven’s homosexuality and that we did not believe this was God’s plan for him. We had to consider breaking our ties with them and going it alone. But God was not going to leave us all alone in this. He has always been there for us in every other situation. I don’t know why this seemed so different. But I went back to the places that seemed to offer hope, and those were the websites that had provided so much information for me already.
I went further and found Hope for Wholeness and I e-mailed for help. Interim Directorresponded immediately and said he could help. I talked to him on the phone for almost two hours, and for once in 2 ½ years, I was talking to someone who knew where I was coming from and understood. Eventually we met with McKrae. My husband, Steven and I spent over four hours with McKrae, but it didn’t seem like that much time. I have never seen Steven “listen” to someone the way he listened to McKrae. Someone had finally gotten into his head and knew what was going on. Steven appeared to bond instantly with McKrae and has never connected with anyone so much the entire time he has lived with us. I feel safe in saying that Steven has never connected with anyone else ever before; period. He told us later that evening that he liked McKrae. This is the kid who didn’t even want a male math tutor.
We know a lot of work has yet to be done. But God had led us in the right direction. Where there seemed to be a dead end, God has provided a path for us to take and for Steven to find sexual wholeness. I believe that’s really all he wants…to do what God desires for him and to become the man that God has planned for him to be.