'He wiggled into our hearts': 12-year-old boy is adopted after nearly eight years in foster care

August 10, 2017 was a very important day for Rocky. After 2,858 days in foster care, Rocky was adopted by his forever family! As part of National Adoption Month, Oakland Family Services would like to share the story of this 12-year-old boy’s journey from foster care to adoption.

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About four months after his father went to prison, Rocky, 4 at the time, and his 7-year-old brother and 6-year-old sister were removed from their mother’s home for neglect. Rocky was placed in Mary and Helmut Wolf’s foster home, along with his brother, who only stayed a few days. His sister came to the Wolfs' home a few years later for a short period before being permanently placed in another foster home.

Rocky arrived at his future adoptive parents’ home full of anger. He felt abandoned by his parents and by the time he was 6 years old, he was regularly seeing a psychiatrist. The boy’s anger intensified as the years passed, causing him problems not only at home but also at school.

“He would kick, scream, cuss, and beat his head on the wall or the floor or anything that was close,” said Mary, who became a foster parent through Oakland Family Services. “I would try to talk to him and stop him from hitting his head. I learned quickly to not restrain him or I would be bitten, kicked at or spit on. He’s been diagnosed with ADHD, mood disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

When Rocky was 6 years old, he had a brief stay with his mom, whose parental rights ended up being terminated. When he was 10 years old, his dad was released from prison and Rocky was able to visit him. The child had hoped to be reunited with his father, but his parental rights also were terminated.

“He became defiant and angry,” Mary said. “That’s when he went to Crossroads for Youth. I couldn’t handle him.”

Rocky stayed at Crossroads for Youth, a treatment program for at-risk youth, for six months before heading back to the Wolfs’ home. Through therapy and over time, Rocky’s anger significantly improved.

“He is sweet and caring,” Mary said. “He’s loving and very compassionate for a child, especially a 12-year-old boy. When it gets hard, it’s really hard, but the bright side is the blow ups now are less frequent and violent.”

The Wolfs, who have three adult sons, had never intended to adopt another child but after Rocky’s parents’ rights were terminated, she and her husband began to rethink their plans.

“He wiggled into our hearts," Mary said. "We knew all of his issues weren’t going to go away. I asked my husband, ‘Can we really sleep at night not knowing where he is, who has him and how long are they going to keep him?’”

If it weren’t for the support from Oakland Family Services, Mary said their lives would be very different.

“Caseworker Kenesia Cheatham is an absolute saint,” Mary said. “She returned every phone call and helped me find help for him. She went to school meetings with me. Without her, this adoption would have never happened. I would have never gotten to where I am today. She was always there for me. She took a personal interest in our situation and went far above.”

Throughout Rocky’s long adoption journey, the Wolfs have shown unconditional love and support.

“He wants to be an engineer or an inventor,” Mary said. “He’s very hands-on. If you have something that’s’ broken, he will take it apart for you and 60 percent of the time he can put it back together. Sometimes it works!

The Wolfs, with the support of Oakland Family Services, have built a brighter future for a boy who once questioned what his future would look like.

“He has issues and will always have issues," Mary said. "Our home is where he is comfortable, this is where he is loved, and nobody else could love him like we do.”

You, too, can make a difference in a child's life by becoming an Oakland Family Services foster or adoptive parent. Learn more here. 

Watch this video to learn the benefits of adopting teenagers.