The brothers had been separated from Maria’s sister and brought into care, after she was found to have a marijuana grow-op in her home and was diagnosed with mental illness. Maria’s parents – who were in their 70s at the time – took them in for a few months and then realized that they weren’t able to look after them. Maria saw the hurt in their eyes when the boys heard that their grandparents had to give them up. “I didn’t want them to be punished for what their parents did, and I didn’t want to see them up for adoption,” says Maria. “And I thought I could do a better job.”
The three boys (the eldest left home a few years ago) have been living with Maria for ten years. Aside from the regular tumult of life with young boys, they have had the added stressor of dealing with serious health issues, which for the youngest son means vision problems, high blood pressure and tumours, and for Maria means countless late nights, trips to the hospital and worry about the health of this otherwise happy boy.
“It helps that the boys get along so well, together and with everyone they meet. People come up to me and tell me how nice and polite the boys are, and how hard it is to find young boys who are so considerate. They’re the kind of boys that will take the extra few seconds to open a door and hold it for someone. They’re very well adjusted.”
Maria and her family enjoy family dinners, talking together, going bowling and to the movies.
“I treat them as if they are my own children. The love I have for them is so great. They aren’t like my family. They are my family.”
“The best reward is seeing how these boys have adjusted and have grown to be good kids.”
Today, we send a special Merry Christmas to all those who are helping make homes for children, in Toronto and around the world.