CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Forever Family filming days can be a bit of a whirlwind, not just because of the sheer volume of people but also because of the many scheduling components necessary to complete filming for the day.
From hair and makeup, to getting lighting set, making sure microphones are clipped on, and finishing the multiple interviews conducted, it can feel like a jam packed day even for those of us who are used to it. This is why we always pair a day filming with a fun activity and lots of delicious kid friendly catered meals. When we do filming we set out to make it all about new adventures and fun experiences.
When Jonathan arrived, he appeared reserved but we thought we would be able to quickly get him engaged and laughing. However, despite our attempts to persuade him to smile with junk food and Eric Thomas, who was cracking jokes, we could not seem to get Jonathan comfortable. We thought that maybe he was nervous about the interview so we talked about doing that first, until the owner of Cherry Mountain Farm quietly walked over and gently touched his arm and said, “It’s ok to be nervous - why don’t you and I go see some animals, they prefer the quiet too.”
That was when we all saw it, the sparkle in his eye that we were searching for. We had found something that eased Jonathan’s anxiety, discovered something he loved, and created an opportunity to see the many more things that make this 11 year old unique. Jonathan loved every minute with the animals on the farm. He approached each animal with a quiet and gentle disposition.
He was thoughtful and intentional about how to approach each animal and asked respectfully, “Did I feed that goat too much? Would I be able to brush the horses tail as well?”. He did not move quickly, nor did his pre- teen boy energy or lack of awareness take over like you often see with middle school boys. From that moment on it was as if someone found a missing puzzle piece and slowly the rest fell into place.
He opened up more and more with each minute because we had found something that instilled peace and comfort in him. The ability to nurture the animals, the chance to take a moment away from the business and enjoy the simple moments outdoors with the staff and the livestock they care for. Sometimes that is all it takes with kids from hard places. The willingness to take the time to find one missing puzzle piece that can help a child feel more understood, more at ease. It is also that same puzzle piece that makes us feel a little more connected to them as an individual.
That is what Forever Family is all about. That is why this day with Jonathan is so important to each of us. Discovering something about him that you may not read in a profile on an adoption site so that you can put more pieces together as the viewer to see the whole picture. This is a picture of a beautiful 11 year old boy waiting to be home. I hope that image will soon be a reality where Jonathan will again be outside, but this time he will be throwing the frisbee as he runs next to the family dog in his yard.
Instead of rolling his eyes when mom asks him to come in for dinner, he smiles because he found someone who saw his complete portrait. He found a mom who was willing to make the effort to connect and over time give Jonathan the chance to be himself, to be comfortable, and to be home.