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After a traumatizing separation, 7-year-old boy finds security in Boys Town Foster Home


For a young boy named Jonhy, who had irrepressible joy and optimism, the moment was confusing and frightening. His devoted father was being deported, and Jonhy had to move into the home of an aunt he barely knew.

The stability of this new living arrangement proved fleeting.   

Jonhy's aunt had her own children to care for, and the burden of having another little one to feed and clothe was too overwhelming. She quickly relinquished guardianship, and Jonhy had to pack his meager possessions and prepare for an uncertain future in foster care.

Jennifer and Steven Scott were newly licensed Boys Town Foster Parents. They had provided respite care (short-term, temporary foster care) to children whose foster parents needed time away, but the Scotts had never had an official placement. Jonhy would be their first, and it didn't take long for loving bonds to form.    

The Scott's 8-year-old son Parker became fast friends with the 7-year-old, and the two laughed, played and behaved like brothers. Jennifer's parents, who also lived in the home, took on the role of surrogate grandparents, offering emotional support and serving as valuable role models to Jonhy.  

The love and security provided by the Scotts were exactly what Jonhy needed. He missed his parents terribly and sometimes broke down in tears, longing to be reunited with them in Guatemala. Despite geographic and technological challenges, the Scotts ensured Jonhy maintained regular contact with his family. They used instant messaging and social media apps that allowed Jonhy to connect with his parents and relatives back home.

The Scotts understood the goal was to eventually reunite Jonhy with his family in Guatemala. But until the legal and administrative obstacles could be resolved, they were determined to provide him with a sense of normalcy and stability.

“Jonhy is a very active boy, so we got him involved in bowling and gymnastics," Steven said. “He was very flexible, so gymnastics was something he was very good at. At school, he also enjoyed recess and PE class, as well as reading." 

Holidays also provided an opportunity to offer a sense of comfort. The Scotts made a special photo book for Jonhy as a keepsake to remember his time in their home. “He told us that was his favorite Christmas present, even over all the toys he received," Steven said.

After sixteen months in the Scott home, Jonhy's reunification plan was finalized and it was time for him to return to his family. 

“We always knew that reunification was going to be the end result, and Jonhy always wanted to return to Guatemala because he missed his parents a lot," explained Jennifer. “So that eased the sadness of letting go, and helped our son Parker say goodbye, too." 

Steven, Jennifer and Parker joined Jonhy on a flight to Guatemala City. They witnessed the moment when Jonhy and his parents set eyes on one another. Jonhy sprinted toward them for a long-awaited embrace, an unforgettable moment Steven said was simply “great."

Jonhy left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Scott family, and while they miss his rambunctious spirit, they take comfort knowing the little guy is exactly where he is meant to be… with his family.

May is National Foster Care Month, and the need for foster parents is growing. To learn more about Boys Town Foster Family Services® and how you can change the life of a child by becoming a Boys Town Foster Parent, please call 531-355-3036.