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Andrew and Joc haven’t known each other their whole lives, but the two are best friends — and brothers. Andrew, a 12-year-old White boy who spent half his life in foster care, was recently adopted by Joc’s Black family, making the two not just best friends but also family.
Meanwhile, young Black children are in foster care at higher rates than their White counterparts. In 2018, Black children made up 14% of the population of the United States, but 23% of all children in foster care.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in fewer families willing to foster children due to health and safety concerns. Many families have been unsure what the future holds, with job losses and other pandemic-related changes to family life.
A warm welcome to the family
But Andrew’s experience has been different. He lived with the Gill family as their foster son for several years before he was adopted. Even still, the legal adoption process was a surprise for Andrew.
While playing at a local park, “I just turned around the corner and saw everybody,” Andrew said, seeing the Gill family surrounded by supportive family and friends. The Gills then invited Andrew to become part of the family forever. “They asked ‘will you?’ and I said ‘yeah!'” said Andrew.
“I just really love them,” Andrew said, of his family.
Two brothers of different colors
In particular, Andrew loves his brother Joc. The two have a lot in common, sharing a love of screen time through video games, Minecraft — and also eating junk food and snacks together. On a recent day, in between playing on their home computer, the two agreed the family needs more Pop Tarts.
Kevin Gill, the boys’ dad, said “When we see them together, we’re glad we decided to adopt Andrew. It just seems like it was meant to be.”
Both Andrew and Joc agree. The pair, who share a room, introduce each other as forever family. “This is my brother, Andrew,” says Joc. “This is my brother, Joc,” says Andrew.