Everyone just wants to be loved and accepted.
Last 2018, Dominique and Kevin Gill decided that they want to open their humble home in Nashville, Tennessee, to a child named Andrew. At that time, their hearts ached when they heard the child’s story.
According to his file, he has been in custody since he was just six years old. By this time, his parents’ legal rights were already terminated, and his four siblings were all adopted immediately, Dominique shared in her interview.
For a boy his age, this was a very traumatic experience. Soon, little Andrew became more and more withdrawn to the people around him. The Gills wanted to foster him, and they wanted to show Andrew what it feels like to belong.
“During his first week with us, he sat in his room with the door closed and looked at old pictures. He didn’t want to talk,” shared Andrew’s foster parents in their interview.
A child should grow in a home where love, respect, and care prevail. Sadly, this isn’t the reality that most of us know. Andrew is just one example of a child longing to be in a family he can call his own.
When you’re waiting for someone to accept or adopt you, the sadness builds. Expectations and heartbreaks often cause these children to feel unwanted. That’s why some of them choose to act tough, be difficult, and stay withdrawn.
Andrew was no different. Dominique shared that Andrew often behaved badly, and he was very withdrawn. He would stay in his room and shout if anyone wanted to try and get close to him.
The Gills didn’t want to give up on Andrew. They knew he was going through something, and they wanted him to feel like there are still people who are willing to try to extend their love to him.
Joc, Dominique’s son, didn’t feel any connection with Andrew when he showed up to their home. That is, until they found out that they have so many things in common. One day, they both decided to play video games, then they found out that they both love Pop-Tarts, and that became the start of a beautiful friendship.
“As the years went on, they got pretty close,” Kevin Gill said to WBIR Channel 10. “It’s good to see that bond they have grown over the years.”
Kevin and Dominique saw how much the two boys have gotten closer. Slowly, Andrew opened his heart to them, and they were happy to welcome him into their home.
Soon, after more than a year with them, Joc and Andrew remained close friends. They were happy to see such great improvements in Andrew, and their only wish was that he would soon find his forever home.
It wasn’t their plan to adopt him. The family only wanted to foster. They wanted to help by fostering as many kids as they could, but they didn’t expect that their journey with Andrew would take a surprise turn.
“Our mindset was we’d help him until he found his forever home,” Dominique explained to TODAY Parents. “But after the second adoption didn’t work out, I realized God put Andrew in our lives for a reason. God made sure the adoption didn’t work out so he could come back to us.”
It was a clear sign that Andrew belonged to their family.
One day, Andrew was surprised to see Youth Villages Counselor, Molly Parker. She asked the young boy if they could have a talk and if he could go on a walk with her. The boy agreed.
Then, while walking, Andrew saw familiar faces. He was confused at first. Everyone was there. They were all smiling at him, holding balloons, and asking him to come closer.
“I just turned around the corner and saw everybody,” Andrew said, remembering when he saw the Gills surrounded by friends holding signs and balloons,” Andrew shared with WBIR Channel 10.
The Gills asked Andrew if he wanted to become part of their family, to which Andrew smiled and simply said, “Yeah.”
Joc was also wearing a shirt that says, “Will you be my brother?”
Andrew’s shirt had a “YES” written on it.
The people around them started cheering, happy to see that finally, Andrew had found his forever home.
“From the beginning, Andrew has always said, ‘Thank you for accepting me,’ ‘Thank you for not giving up on me,’” Dominique shared in her interview with TODAY Parents. “People would read his file and get scared away. But I knew he was a good child who had experienced a lot of trauma.”
On July 16, 2020, Andrew Gill found his forever home.
It was a heartwarming story of a boy who never knew what it meant to have his own family until a family opened their home and their hearts to him.
“Love doesn’t have a color. (Andrew) is our son just like Joc is our son,” Dominique said during her interview with TODAY Parents. “He’s a part of us.”
Now, Andrew didn’t just find his forever home, he also found happiness, love, and a best friend.
“This is my brother, Joc,” said Andrew, and “This is my brother, Andrew,” said Joc, ending the beautiful video.
Andrew’s story teaches us that love can conquer many things and that everyone deserves to be accepted and to be loved.
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