Why I Chose Children Awaiting Parents

Leo Ramos recently presented Children Awaiting Parents with a silent auction donation on behalf of his employer.  He agreed to share his personal story and the reasons he chose CAP.

Q: When you were considering organizations for your donation, what resonated with you about Children Awaiting Parents?

A: This was the first time I had an opportunity to donate proceeds from a silent auction. When tasked with selecting a charity, I immediately knew I wanted to help children. I’ve always had a soft spot for them. As a father, I’m always looking at ways to help children. I came across CAP in my research and within minutes, CAP’s mission resonated with me. The success stories on the CAP website were what inspired me. I knew that this organization cares and truly wants to help children.

Q: You were legally adopted at 12-years-old. What is your own adoption story?

A: I have an older brother and a younger sister. We were living in the state of Maine. One day, I was 7, I remember coming home from school to Police officers in our home. I would later learn that my birth parents were in trouble with the law and had been arrested. Not knowing what to do, I called my mother’s best friend. She arrived within minutes and could take us home with her. As events unfolded, she was granted guardianship of my siblings and I. Unfortunately, my brother was mentally ill and would become a ward of the state. My sister and I were adopted. I was 12 by then and my sister was 10. I did reconnect with my older brother as an adult. We plan on meeting for the first time since we were children this holiday season.

Q: What would be your personal message for children waiting for a forever family?

A: You are loved. Never forget that. A family is not always those that share your blood. Sometimes a family is comprised of your friends, other kids, or caring adults. There will be those in your life that will move mountains to show you kindness and caring. It’s up to every one of us to pay that forward.

Q: How has your childhood situation influenced the way you look at family?

A: Family is a group of people that you love unconditionally. They will irritate, annoy and bother you. But, in their own way, they care for you. You see it in the small things. The sharing of a candy bar, the gift of a tender hug and the sharing of life moments. A family doesn’t have to share DNA. A family can be friends from school, caring adults from the neighborhood, or a counselor that meets with you every week. Don’t let the actions of those that couldn’t care for you impact how you can see the rest of the world. You decide who you call family.

Q: Anything else you want to say?

A: Your future is undefined. You have people that care for you within CAP – ones that are tirelessly working to find you your forever home. Don’t give up the search for your own definition of a family. We are driven to love in this life and love will find you if you are looking for it. I wish I could do more for you, I wish I could open my home to you and let you just be a kid. Although my current circumstances won’t allow it, doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop trying.

Leo Ramos is Operations Manager at the Rochester, NY, office of Concentrix.