Steven and Mark’s Story

Steve and Mark were neglected from a young age. As brothers, they looked out for each other. Steve often stole money or food in order to bring some back for his younger brother, Mark. At age 7, Steve would be responsible to look out for 5-year-old Mark when their mother would go missing for days. Steve and Mark’s parents were enmeshed in drug abuse which left Steve and Mark on their own most of the time.

With an absence from school and curious neighbors, Steve and Mark were taken into the custody of the state foster care system at ages 11 and 9. Mark was placed in a foster home, but there was no room for Steve. Steve was sent to a group home located 2 hours from Mark’s new foster home.

The boys struggled. Steve, now missing his sense of identity as the protector of his brother, spent most of his time being angry and causing trouble. This caused him to be moved to several different foster families and group homes. Mark stayed for a while at his first foster home, but he was very unhappy being away from his brother.

After 1 ½ years of being in foster care, Steve was told that his mother’s parental rights were being terminated. She could not agree to the court’s list of rules in order for her to regain custody of her boys. Even though Steve saw this coming, he was devastated.

In the wake of this overwhelming news, Steve received something good. He was to be moved to Goshen Valley where, shortly after, his brother Mark would be joining him. After 2 years, the brothers would be able to be reunited.

After the boys were reunited, they continued to work on shedding the sense of shame that covered their hearts. What they went through was not their fault, but they couldn’t help but feel a sense of ownership over the breakdown of their family. The boys slowly healed. They could not forget their parents, but they chose not to be defined by their mistakes.

Steve and Mark lived at Goshen Valley for two years and, one day, were introduced to a husband and wife who wanted to get to know them. They were unable to have children. They thought about adopting a baby, but realized that there were older children who also needed parents. Steve and Mark got to know the couple over weeks and months.

Within a year’s time, they were officially adopted. Steve finished high school and went on to technical school to pursue a career in sports management. Mark is still in high school and is planning to graduate next year.