RJ’s mother died when he was 11. His father, battling addiction, was unable to parent him, and he entered the foster care system. After bouncing between foster families and group homes for several years, RJ came to live at Plummer. He was 16.
When he arrived, RJ had some limited contact with his sister, 11 years older and living 20 miles away in Boston. Beyond that, we were unaware of any additional family.
As soon as he moved in, we started talking with RJ about the importance of family. He was both interested in the idea and skeptical that family was possible for him.
Through his sister, we learned he had an Aunt who lived in another state. We soon learned that she thought RJ had been adopted. Through her, we learned of other family members in the Northeast. And we reached out to them. When RJ’s Dad died not long after, he was able to attend services in New York with family, that, less than a year earlier, RJ didn’t know he had.
At 18, RJ moved from our Group Home to our Supported Apartment. During his stay at Plummer, he flourished in our music program, playing, singing and writing songs.
By the time he was 20, he moved out to live with his sister. Today, at age 21, RJ is living on his own in Winchester. He is working full time in a book store café, and is taking classes at Bunker Hill Community College.
He has a very tight relationship with his sister, and they are in regular contact. And he’s written a beautiful song to his parents, reflecting love, anger and forgiveness.