Braxton wandered through his days at the children’s home in despair. He had come to realize that he would never be as good at soccer, or as smart in school as the other kids. And therefore he would probably never be adopted. He was lonely and his only dream was to have parents.
On most days he went and sat with the new babies in the nursery. Mrs. Henry was a kind old woman that let Braxton sit and rock the babies until they went to sleep. Braxton thought, “If I can’t have parents, at least I can be like a parent to the littlest, most helpless ones.”
Braxton watched out the window at the other kids playing soccer on the dirt field. Every now and then a young couple would come by and watch the kids play. Those were the days the kids tried their hardest to score goals. Then the young couple would ask to see their grades. And last of all they would ask to sit with the child and talk with him for a while.
Braxton never got to meet with the young couples.
It always seemed like the fastest, strongest, smartest, cutest kids in the children’s home were picked. Braxton was none of those. But at least he got to be around Mr. And Mrs. Henry, the house father and mother. They were the nicest people that Braxton knew.
Mr. Henry was the disciplinarian. Kids got sent to his office when they were in trouble. But a lot of the time when kids cautiously opened the door, they found Braxton in there drawing or reading or watching out the window. He felt bad for the kids who had gotten in trouble and Mr. Henry let Braxton stay in there to make the kid feel more comfortable. The kids who got in trouble knew they were not likely to be adopted, so with Braxton they were in good company.
One day a new young couple visited. They toured around the facility and watched the kids play. The kids played their hearts out, pushing each other down in order to score the glorious goals. They held their hands up in the class room. On these days, everybody seemed to know the answers.
It was on this day, like many of the other days, Braxton was rocking babies in the nursery. He knew he wasn’t good enough to be chosen. But what was strange was that he got called into Mr. Henry’s office.
He walked hesitantly into Mr. Henry’s office. The young couple turned around and smiled at Braxton as he entered.
“Come here, Braxton.” Mr. Henry smiled wide at him and motioned for him to come around the desk with him. “I want to introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. Laylock. They are going to be the parents of some of the kids after today.”
“Really?” Braxton looked up at them, not letting himself get hopeful.
They nodded, proudly.
Braxton said, “I’m happy for them. There are some really lucky kids that will have you as parents.”
The young Mr. Laylock said, “Well, aren’t you going to tell me how many goals you’ve scored or how good your grades are?”
Braxton lowered his head and responded, “Oh, no. That’s ok. They’re really not that good.”
“Hmmm.” Both Mr. and Mrs. Laylock nodded and smiled. They were entertained by something Braxton was not aware of.
“What Braxton is not telling you,” Mr. Henry said, “is that he rocks babies to sleep every day. And he is kind to the kids that get in trouble a lot. He’s our best little helper, doing errands while we’re trying to show the couples around. And so he never gets seen by them.”
The young Mr. Laylock clicked his tongue and shook his head. “It’s a shame we don’t get this one.”
Braxton’s heart fell, even though he hadn’t let it float very high.
“But you get all the rest.” Mr. Henry waited for Braxton to look at him. “Braxton’s ours.”
Braxton looked at Mr. Henry. It sounded so mean to Braxton. But Mr. Henry’s smile was not mean at all.
Mr. Henry spoke again. “Hey Braxton, buddy. I wanted Mr. and Mrs. Laylock to meet you, because I don’t think they’ll ever get to see someone else quite as special as you. They are taking over the Children’s home. Mrs. Henry and I are retiring.”
Braxton’s eyes got big and sad.
Mr. Henry continued, “But we want to adopt you, and have you come live with us.” Mr. Henry’s smile got big. As soon as Braxton realized what he was saying, Mr. Henry held his arms out to him. Braxton flew into Mr. Henry’s arms. Mrs. Henry came through the door and apologized for getting hung up with the kids. She went over and joined the hug.
Mrs. Henry said, “Braxton, you were so good when no one was watching. You were good to the people who had nothing to give you. The others are trying to show off and be stronger than the rest, but you humbled yourself and loved the loveless. That is why we chose you.”
And Braxton left the Children’s home with Mr. and Mrs. Henry. They lived in a cottage in a quaint mountain town. And Braxton had what he had always wanted. He finally had parents that loved him.