Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

After growing up in kinship care, Virginia man adopts 3 kids before turning 30

Barry Farmer wanted to find a way to pay back his grandmother for raising him, and in doing so, changed the lives of three children.

At 21, the Alexandria, Virginia, man became a foster father, and now, nearly a decade later, he's a single dad to three sons. "If you would have told me 10 years ago that this would happen, I wouldn't believe you," Farmer told WTVR. "I wished to be a father, but it wasn't going to be this soon." Farmer was raised by his grandmother in kinship care, and nine years ago, wanted to pay the kindness she showed him forward, and became a foster father to Jaxon, 7. Right off the bat, Jaxon started calling him "Dad," and after a year, it was official — Farmer adopted him, an "unforgettable" moment.

He wanted to give Jaxon a sibling, so in 2013, Farmer adopted Xavier, and in 2016, Jeremiah, who needed respite care, joined the family. "There's no reason to be afraid of our foster children who are waiting to be adopted," Farmer said. "All they need is some security, some love, some attention, stability." Like babies, older children also have several firsts, from the first day of school to the first time riding a bike. "Fatherhood has brought me lots of joy," Farmer said. "I can't imagine my sons not being with me." He said the family does get some stares — he's black, and his sons are white — but "skin does not separate us," Farmer told WTVR. "It does not define our family." Catherine Garcia