The Story of a So-Called "Hard to Place" Child and the Moms Who Love Him

The Education section in yesterday's New York Times featured the story of Jesse Powers-Patey, a Massachusetts kid who at age ten still was living in foster care. At age four, he'd been adopted by a single woman, but two years later she returned him to the state claiming he was hard to manage.

Then along came Laura Patey and Leigh Powers, a gay couple who'd heard about Jesse through their Episcopalian church.

The two began going to his baseball games, then having him visit their place, a few blocks from his foster home. Jesse played basketball with Ms. Patey, and PlayStation with Ms. Powers. After school, he'd wait on the front stairs for them to get home from work. Soon, he was leaving important things at their house, like his baseball cards.
Not long after that, Jesse was adopted. Now, Laura and Leigh are his strongest educational advocates.
To help Jesse with school, Ms. Powers, a researcher who's a computer whiz, installed a program that reads his writing aloud to him. To make summer reading lists more manageable, they would get books on tape to listen to as he read along. "He'd been told he was stupid," Ms. Powers said. "We wanted to show him he could read."

Ms. Patey, who oversees disability services at Lesley University, concluded that he did not have learning problems -- "just big gaps in his education from all the disruptions" -- and got him switched to mainstream classes.

When it was time for high school, the Moms knew what they wanted. "A Catholic school," said Ms. Patey, who attended parochial schools and reluctantly left Roman Catholicism as an adult for an Episcopalian church where she could worship openly with her partner. "They say, 'A Catholic education is an advantage for life,' and I agree. It helps develop a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong and how to treat people with respect."
Their experience at Catholic Memorial hardly fits any neat storylines and is well worth your time to read in full.

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