Raised in foster care, this single guy paid it forward by adopting three kids of his own.

"Fatherhood has been everything I imagine it to be."

via Barry Farmer / Pinterest

Barry Farmer of Richmond, Virginia, from is a tremendous example of what it means to pay it forward.

He was raised by his grandmother through a program called Kinship Care that allows family members to raise a child when their parents aren't capable.

As she aged, Farmer went from being her charge to taking care of her.


Having grown up without a father, Farmer knew the importance of having one around, so in 2011, at the young age of 21, he received his license to be a foster parent. He took in eight-year-old Jaxson fully prepared to return him to his family when they were ready.

When Jaxon was able to live with prospective adopted parents, he asked Farmer to be his "forever dad."


"Becoming a foster parent was like a tribute to my grandmother because I could never pay her back, but I was definitely able to pay it forward," Farmer told People.

"It was touching that this child of a different race felt comfortable enough to call me Dad, he was a child searching for belonging in a not so typical situation," he added.

Two years after adopting Jaxon, Farmer thought he could use a brother, so in 2013 he adopted 11-year-old Xavier. A year later, the family took in four-year-old Jeremiah as a foster child, assuming he would one day return to his parents.

"Jeremiah's plans to return home had changed during that time," Farmer explained, "and that's when my two older boys and I decided to welcome him into our home permanently."

Just seven years after adopting his first child, Farmer had adopted three boys.

"Fatherhood has been everything I imagine it to be because I'm the father I wish I had growing up. I'm involved, I'm there when my boys go to sleep and when they wake up," Farmer said.

"I'm their biggest cheerleader when helping them achieve their goals. I try not to miss a beat in their lives. I take the responsibility of being their father very seriously and never for granted," he continued.

Men like Farmer are much needed in a country where over 400,000-plus children are in foster care. They are also very rare. According to The New York Times, only 3% of adoptive parents in the U.S. are single men.

Farmer has some great advice for anyone out there who would love to make a huge difference in a foster care child's life but may be reticent.

"There's no reason to be afraid of our foster children who are waiting to be adopted," Farmer told CBS TV. "And all they need is some security, some love, some attention, stability. Because older children are the babies that you're looking for."

There are a lot of firsts to the experience as well: you can still have your first bike ride, your first trip to the beach, first roller coaster, first day of school. All of that can be experienced through foster care adoptions," he added.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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