Dominique shared, “People would read his file and get scared away. But I knew he was a good child who had experienced a lot of trauma.”
Two years ago, Dominique and Kevin Gill welcomed a reclusive foster boy, Andrew, into their home in Nashville, Tennessee. Since his parents' parental rights were terminated when he was 6 years old, Andrew, who was only 10 at the time, had already been in foster homes for almost half his life. “Andrew has four siblings and they were all adopted right away,” Dominique told TODAY. “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."
One day, Dominique's son Joc asked Andrew if he wanted to play a video game. Joc was surprised to see Andrew nod his head. Dominique shared that the boys, who are now inseparable since that day has been best buddies.
Dominique and Kevin asked Andrew, now 12, if he wanted to join their family permanently in May. When they started fostering, the Gills had no intention of adopting; all they wanted to do was help as many children as they could, much like Dominique's parents had done when she was a child. But Dominique realized the shy seventh-grader was meant to be their child when Andrew's second adoption attempt failed.
"Our mindset was we'd help him until he found his forever home," Dominique shared. "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."
When the Gills asked Andrew if he wanted to live with them permanently, he sobbed uncontrollably. “From the beginning, Andrew has always said, ‘Thank you for accepting me,’ ‘Thank you you for not giving up on me,’” Dominique shared. “People would read his file and get scared away. But I knew he was a good child who had experienced a lot of trauma.” Andrew would initially "scream and behave badly" to try to fend them off, according to Dominique. “He’d start shouting, ‘Just let me move out!’ But I refused to give up on him.”
Dominique said, “I was like, ‘We are going to get you together.’” The Gill family accomplished this by acting with love and constancy. Andrew has improved his ability to manage his emotions and has not acted out in more than a year.
The Gills still draw a lot of attention, though, whenever they are out in public. "Because Andrew is white and we're Black, people will stare at us," Dominique said. "They're confused."
In an Instagram post, Dominique writes, "Joc said his friends said 'That's not your brother, he's white' Can we normalize that white kids can be adopted by us 🥴"
The subject of race has never come up for Andrew or his adoptive parents. When asked if he had a preference for one race over another for his foster parents, he ticked the "no preference" option. "Love doesn’t have a color. (Andrew) is our son just like Joc is our son," Dominique told TODAY Parents. "He’s a part of us.”
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