It was a promise made to a young boy crying in a California school yard that would eventually lead Luis to fostering.
“I was an educator at the school and the boy told me he was in foster care. His foster parents weren’t the best. It was heartbreaking and after a really long conversation, he told me I would be a great foster parent. I promised him I would look into it once I settled down,” recalls Luis.
When that time came, Luis wasn’t sure he could be a foster dad — after all, he didn’t have a partner. He called a few agencies and learned that it was fine to be single and foster — what you really needed was patience and love.
Luis was working at a summer camp in the Berkshires when a 10-year-old boy was identified. He took the child to camp with him every day and eventually ended up adopting him. That little boy is now 22!
“Fostering brought me to my son. And into the lives of about 20 other children who needed foster care. It’s an amazing experience,” shares Luis.
Luis explains that every foster home is unique. Growing up as a member of a vibrant Puerto Rican family, his home was always active and still is today. His family stays very involved. There are a lot of activities — birthday parties and outings at the beach or park. He wants the children to feel like they are part of the family.
He adds, “I believe in schedules and routines, so I run my house like clockwork. The kids know what to expect. They know what is for dinner each night. They know Sunday is cleaning day. They do their own laundry, sweep, and help around the house.”
During COVID, Luis paused his role as a foster dad — he needed to take some time for himself. He want back to school and started a whole new career as a speech pathologist. When he was ready to foster again, he worked with HopeWell to start slow, welcoming youth who needed assistance over the weekends. Now, he works with youth who need “emergency sheltering,” meaning the child will stay with him for up to 45 days. While he often gets attached to the kids, Luis says he feels good to know he has helped them through a difficult time.