Barry Farmer is a single dad from Richmond, Virginia. He never thought he would be able to say that about himself at this point in his life.
“I look in the mirror all the time, and if you would have told me 10 years ago that this would happen, I wouldn’t believe you,” Barry said. “I wished to be a father, but it wasn’t going to be this soon.”
Barry became a single father eight years ago — when he was only 21 years old. Barry got his foster care license and took in a boy named Jaxon, whom he would eventually adopt.
“My oldest has been calling me Dad since the day I got him,” Barry said, adding:
“I really didn’t know how to respond to it — I was so young at the time. And I just said, ‘OK, I guess we’re gonna do this. I guess this is the role that I must play now.’ Knowing that the adoption was very final — that means I’m finally his father. He accepted me as his father. So those moments are unforgettable.”
Barry was inspired to adopt because he grew up in the foster care system and was raised by his grandmother.
Over the course of the following four years, Barry would add Xavier and Jeremiah to his family. The two were already older children, who are usually forgotten in the system.
“Older children are the babies that you’re looking for,” Barry suggested. “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.”
Barry is barely 30 years old, yet he has changed the course of three lives.
“Fatherhood has brought me lots of joy. I can’t imagine my sons not being with me,” he said,
Barry says he sometimes gets stares because his sons are not the same skin color as him. But this is not a factor for him one bit.
“Skin does not separate us; it does not define our family,” he explained. “It’s just a part of our family. So when it comes to things of, you know, pushback or ignorance, we’re really not paying attention to that, because they don’t know us.”
With his story, the single father hopes to encourage other families to adopt older kids.