‘Thomas on Finding His New Family’ by Danny Harris

Thomas, left, is pictured with his mother, Joi, center, and brother, Dawson, right, at the 24th Annual Adoption Day at the D.C. Superior Court.

Danny Harris is a DC-based photographer, DJ, and collector of stories. He launched People’s District, a blog that tells a people’s history of DC by sharing the stories and images of its residents. You can follow People’s District on Twitter @PeoplesDistrict, and can read his previous columns here.

“I feel like the first 17 years of my life were hell. I grew up pretty much on my own until I was put in foster care at 11. Until then, I had no support and lived with anyone I could find who would help me. My father tried to raise me the best he could, but he wasn’t around that much. He was more like a social worker than a father and would find people to take care of me when he wasn’t around. So, my story has a lot of heartache because my childhood was filled with a lot of broken promises and tears.

“When I turned 11, I entered the foster care system due to a shooting. I was staying at the home of a woman who I called my grandmother. The house was full of drugs and people doing all kinds of bad stuff. It was July 22, three days before my birthday, and I was sleeping on the couch when someone fired a shotgun by accident and it hit me in the spinal chord. I guess someone brought in a shotgun and was playing around with it when it fired. I remember feeling this sting and then feeling like I was fading in-and-out of life. Then I heard the guy who shot me say, “Well, this is my third strike, so I got to get out of here.’

Continues after the jump.

“I crawled off the couch to my grandmother. I was partially paralyzed, and she kind of kicked me off and put me back on the couch. Then she called my father and told him there was an emergency. Someone finally called the police and an ambulance to come and help me. When they did come, my grandmother lied and said that the shooting came from outside the house. I found this out later because I was in the ambulance headed to a helicopter to go to Children’s Hospital. I stayed in the hospital for a little while and had to learn to walk again. My father started coming around to see me, but after that I was put in foster care.

“Living with other families was hard on me because I had so many anger problems. I mean, look at my life, I was just so angry at the world because nothing went my way. Things got so bad that I was put in the psychiatric ward at Children’s Hospital for my anger problems. Things got a little better and then I spent the next seven years with seven families. At the end, I was put in a group home because things weren’t working out with me and the families. Some of that was my fault and some was theirs.

“I guess things changed for me when I met Dawson in 6th grade. I was new to his school and this girl starting talking to me. Dawson looked at me and said, ‘Dang, you just got here and the girls are already after you.’After that, we started talking and started hanging. I started to spend every day at his house and our friendship moved so fast. We became like brothers and it was the greatest friendship that I ever had.

“I never told him that I was in foster care, but him and his Mom found out when I was featured on Wednesday’s Child. Until then, I just told him that I was moving around a lot to stay with a godfather or different family members. When I did tell him, I was planning to get adopted by a family. Then, things starting going downhill with the family and it didn’t work out. Because Dawson was my best friend and I really grew to love his family, I asked if his Mom would adopt me. They thought about and then she said, ‘Yeah, we’ll do it.’

“She took the classes to go through with the adoption and I started living with them on the weekends when I was not at the group home. Every Sunday, I hated going back and it brought tears to my eyes to leave Dawson and Ms. Joi. It took some time to get this adoption through, but now I have been living with them and am a part of their family. Now, I have a home and a mother and brother who is also my best friend. It brings tears to my eyes to think about all of the love that they give me after all of those years of pain and heartache.”

Thomas’ adoption was finalized on November 20th as part of Annual Adoption Day at the D.C. Superior Court. Thomas was one of twenty-two children adopted by 18 families. Learn more about adoption and foster parenting opportunities in the District here.

Recent Stories

1630 Connecticut Ave, NW at R Street According to their IG they opened 5/25!

photo by River Scout You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may…


Sweet City Ride

Thanks to Mark for sending Excalliber! Sweet City Ride is made possible by readers like you!

Karen joined the Well-Paid Maids team as a cleaner in January 2021, and she was recently promoted to an operations manager! This well-deserved promotion is part of Well-Paid Maids’ effort to deliver better customer service with responses to phone calls and emails seven days a week.

To celebrate Karen’s promotion, we caught up with her to learn more about her time at Well-Paid Maids, the area’s only certified living-wage cleaning company.

  1. Why Well-Paid Maids?

Karen: I saw the company was paying a living wage and had great benefits. Also, they were very flexible with my schedule, especially since I have kids.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

The Potomac Roasting Company is stocked with excellent coffee to meet almost any palate. But that’s not the only good news. We now offer free shipping for orders over $35.

The Potomac Roasting Company is a local micro-roaster specializing in artisan coffee. We precision roast high-quality beans sourced from small farms in Latin America and Africa that are owned and operated by women. We will make sure that your coffee is roasted the way you want it and delivered fresh.

Our newest coffee comes from Mbozi, Tanzania. We secured a shipment just before this small batch of delicious beans sold out. In Swahili, Usawa means balance and Kahawa means coffee. The beans are grown on small farms that are part of a cooperative promoting gender equity and market access for women. This is a smooth and balanced coffee that is sure to please.

We also received coffee shipments that were delayed following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. That includes the most recent harvest of La Morena coffee beans from Huehuetenango, Guatemala. We have plenty in stock, so that you can stock up! Rounding out our specialty coffee choices are fresh roasts from prime coffee-producing regions of Colombia and Peru.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Open Sunday

4125 7th Street NW.

Open Sunday 1-4

Renovations in 2023 (new kitchen in in-law suite and separate washer/dryer for main house). Loads of space, spread out all over this 4-level, 4-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom home. Meticulously renovated this year without losing

Bethesda’s Outdoor Movies

The Bethesda Urban Partnership will present the 20th annual Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue on July 26, August 2 and August 9, 2024. Three evenings of major motion pictures in various genres will be showcased, including new releases,


Subscribe to our mailing list