He entered another house in a countless number of foster homes. It was mid December and his new foster mom asked what he would like for Christmas. His request was simple. Never before had he been in any home long enough to even celebrate Christmas. He wanted his own stocking – which Diane had planned on getting anyway.
They went out that night and allowed him to choose his very own stocking and made sure his name got written at the top. He beamed for days and asked for permission to take his sock with him to school. For him it represented a sense of belonging, something he hadn’t felt for almost ten years.
His biological mother had abused him and who knows how many others? He had been recycled in the system so many times it wasn’t any wonder that he understood what it was to feel neglected and abandoned.
The first time I remember seeing him, Mark had a tremendous speech impediment as he had an obvious stutter. He was hard to understand, I thought. It must have required great patience on Tim and Diane’s part. But they raised him. They made him feel secure. They made him feel whole. He got to the point when it didn’t bother him to be hugged or touched appropriately – whereas before he’d been majorly uncomfortable about it.
What a huge difference this couple had made in Mark’s life. He was reared in the LDS Church and had many positive influences – but there were some who still continued to have problems with him and would often make fun of him and his speech. There were a tremendous amount of obstacles that he was able to embrace or allow to work to his advantage.
In time he learned to speak without stuttering. When he turned eighteen, and the state cut off financial ties for him, he remained a part of Tim and Diane’s family. They loved him and he loved them.
True story. Except for the names. There are thousands of Marks in this world. How fortunate we are to have the many who are like the Tims and Dianes among us who can wipe out the negative and insert the positive. I feel so blessed to have been part of their lives myself – even if it was only for a short time.