A 60-year-old single father who raised six adopted children over the past decade is about to adopt a seventh son and has no regrets about becoming a dad.
Joe Toles, 60, from Queens, told the New York Post in an interview Wednesday that he will add a seventh son to his family, a 20-year-old named Jhon who has special needs and is a native of the Dominican Republic.
“There’s never going to be the perfect time to start or expand your family,” Toles, a former guidance counselor, told the Post. “But this feels like the right thing to do.”
Toles was inspired to adopt those most in need— teenagers and young adults— based on his experiences growing up in the foster care system.
“It takes work, but I make the effort in nurturing the relationships,” Toles says. “Until I took the plunge, I would never have understood the real difference it’s made to all our lives. Love happens and it changes everything.”
Although most foster kids who are not adopted are at a higher risk of becoming homeless and dropping out of school, Toles said his experience was different after a track coach at his high school provided guidance to him in high school.
Toles added that he not only completed his high school education, but he got accepted to Alabama’s Auburn University on a full athletic scholarship.
“The coach said, ‘I treat you the way you deserve to be treated,’ and that’s the way I raise my sons,” Toles says.
While many children enter the foster care system, some have been lucky to find their forever homes. In December 2018 in time for Christmas, an Arkansas family adopted seven siblings out of the foster care system.