Forever Family: Meet Jacob
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - With each child that we film through Forever Family there are facial expressions and characteristics that stand out to me that I can recall nearly 4 years later. To the extent that if you were to give me the first name of a child I can describe multiple things about them and share with you things that make them smile or made them laugh. I guarantee you that years down the road I will hear others say the name Jacob and I will respond by trying to mimic his distinctive half-frown and deep voice.
What stood out to me the most was how challenging it was to get this young man smiling or laughing. Throughout the entire day Jacob was so incredibly serious and slow to engage, impossible to a smile from, let alone a laugh. However, what was distinctive about this eleven year old is that in his serious disposition there was not an absence of joy. Normally when you think of a serious person who smiles or laughs infrequently you associate them as one who is unpleasant or one you'd prefer to not engage with. However, Jacob was exactly the opposite.
This boy was one of the most respectful kids we have ever filmed in the four years I have held my position with Forever Family. In the interviews you will hear him respond to every question with “yes sir” or “thank you sir”, to the extent you would think he was raised in a military school by his short, decisive, respectful approach to communication. He was captivating in that even when we tried to get him to laugh or smile to no avail, there was something in Jacob that made you want to keep trying.
Everything about Jacob communicated that this is a boy who has a certain light in him. He has the potential to be carefree, silly, and let go of the serious disposition he clings to so tightly. In his voice you can hear not only respect, but there is also a thoughtfulness and intentionality with his relationships and interactions. You could see in his manner of direct eye contact that there was a depth and a hope in his ability to see past circumstances. In the cadence of his voice you heard a sense of consistency and patience which he possesses. Every so often when we caught a smile from him we had a deep appreciation for Jacob in how he was willing to let his guard down a little and share with us what an incredible young man he is.
Jacob desires to have someone walk alongside him and appreciate this serious disposition and all those respectable qualities that he exhibits. However, he also needs that person to be willing to protect him and love him fiercely in a way that he can let go to be carefree and silly. The type of love that can come from one person… the unconditional love of a forever parent. That is the key to what this young man needs to set him up for a future of not only respect and love, but of joy, fun, and silliness.
This article was written by Ashley McKinley. the Program Development Director and North Carolina Forever Families Coordinator with Seven Homes Inc.
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