Home for the Holidays
It isn’t often you hear a story of a teenager being adopted. Most families want to adopt babies or younger children, but not the Betheas. Mr. and Mrs. Bethea actually enjoyed adopting teenagers. "Everybody needs somebody. I wanted Tyler to feel that he belonged to somebody and somebody belonged to him. Whether you're 17 or 27, everybody needs somebody to love. You know, that's my Dad, that's my family. It's really sad that I see 18 and 20 year old boys and girls walk away from foster care with no family," said Mr. Bethea.
Tyler, a 17-year old teenager, was placed in the Bethea household through PHILLIPS Teaching Homes (PTH). PTH provides therapeutic foster care with youth with special needs. PHILLIPS staff recruits and train foster parents, which we call Teaching Parents.
When Tyler came to PTH, he had the choice of seven families that he could be placed with- Tyler choose the Betheas. What started out as a random decision, ended up to be the place Tyler would call home. Tyler had been with Mr. and Mrs. Bethea for over a year when Mrs. Bethea decided she wanted to make Tyler a permanent part of their family. Sadly, this January, Mrs. Bethea passed way. With the support of PTH, Mr. Bethea was determined to carry out his wife’s wishes and make Tyler a part of their family. "My wife left a legacy. The legacy she left was she wanted him in the family. She said that we will adopt him, and I wanted to carry that out," said Bethea.
In November, Tyler Freeman, at 17, officially became Artie Bethea's son.
"I could visualize my wife sitting there next to him during the adoption ceremony. And I cried. I know she'd be happy," said Bethea. And like a good parent, he is giving Tyler the unconditional love and stability he desperately needed.
"It's joyful. To have a dad like him. Who would do anything for a child like me. Despite the bad things I've done wrong. It's touching, touching," said Tyler.
This is a wonderful holiday story of a family that has joined together and a lasting bond between a father and a son.