Helping America's Most Vulnerable

A Son Tells His Family’s Story

My name is Hans Fleming. I’m 11 years old and live in Metairie. I’d like to tell you about my family. My dad’s name is Ken and my mom is Frieda.

My parents always wanted to have children. After a few years of marriage, they learned that they would need to build their family through adoption. They already knew people at Volunteers of America, which has an adoption program. They decided to apply to adopt a child through Volunteers of America. They wanted to share their love with a baby who needed a family. They didn’t care if it was a boy or girl.

Six months later, they were approved as adoptive parents. They got excited about having a baby of their own and wondered when it would happen. Waiting was hard.

Six months later, my mom, who is a teacher, got a call at her school from Volunteers of America. They had a baby. She started paging my dad at work but he was in an important meeting and it took him a while to get the news that he was a father.

You might have guessed this by now, but I’ll just say it: That baby was me.

My Mom says when she held me for the first time, she cried and cried. My parents say that I am a true gift from God. That makes me feel pretty good. Later that day, when they brought me home, the house was filled with all of our family and friends. Even though I don’t remember much, it was a happy day.

When I became a Fleming, I was three months old. My birthday is June 20, but my family also marks the day we were united as a family as our “gotcha” day. That day is Oct. 9, and we celebrate it every year.

Every night I say a prayer for my birthmother. Her name is Rachel, and she made it possible for me to have a great life with my mom and dad. It was the greatest gift. Some people don’t A Son Tells His Family’s Story understand what open adoption is all about. It means that there are no secrets. Information about a child’s birthparents and adoptive parents is shared, so important questions are answered. I think this is a good idea.

I want to say thanks to Volunteers of America on behalf of my family. I want to tell you something important, too. Volunteers of America needs all kinds of help from people like you to help them keep the Adoption Program and other programs going strong. Volunteers of America also helps find adoptive parents for children in foster care. There are hundreds of foster kids in Louisiana waiting for forever parents.

If you want to help kids of all kinds find families, I recommend supporting Volunteers of America. It’s one of the best things you can do.