The Gift of Family

Brydie Harris and Xian Brooks
Children: John, 14 and Emma, 11 months

Brydie Harris and her partner Xian Brooks saw the gift in waiting for the family they wanted.

For six months, the couple was on the St. Joe’s waiting list for foster care and hadn’t been paired with anyone until they met *John and *Emma in April 2022. They learned about Emma from friends who also adopted children through St. Joe’s, so they inquired about fostering her but didn’t know what to expect.

Prior to submitting their request for Emma, the foster care and therapeutic team at St. Joe’s suggested they do an observational visit with John and meet his care team. Although they expressed interest in adopting younger children who were part of a sibling group, Brydie and Xian wanted to explore the possibility of bringing John into their family. However, they were in for a much bigger surprise.

As they pulled into the St. Joe’s parking lot for the observational visit, they received a call letting them know they could foster Emma. Still, they had no intention of canceling their visit with John. Brydie and Xian dedicated themselves to doing whatever they could to forge a strong connection with him.

The bond started with a pair of Jordans. “I knew he really liked sports, so in preparing for the observation, even though I knew we weren’t going to meet him, it was still going to be a first impression. I wanted to make sure I got a haircut. I wore a really cool sweatshirt and a pair of Jordans…and he was just as they described. He was very chill and confident. Fast forward to when we first met him, the staff was trying to give him a point of reference for who we were. They said: ‘Do you remember the people who came to do the tour?’ And he said: ‘Oh, yeah, the guy who was wearing the Jordans’,” Xian says. He adds: “I think for young Black people, culture is important so I wanted to have that cultural relevance for him.”



John has a younger sibling whom he lost touch with through the foster care system, but now he has the opportunity to be a big brother to Emma. Brydie believes their newfound sibling matchup was meant to happen. “He loves her. He is a kid who definitely needs to have someone to love and wants to be a big brother…he genuinely loves being an older brother because has been an older brother and he lost that and Emma doesn’t replace his brother, but she replaces that ability to pour love into a younger kiddo.”

And love is what keeps this medically fragile child thriving. Emma was born without intestines and stayed in the hospital for the first seven weeks of her life before Brydie and Xian could take her home. Now, she has a healthy appetite (her weight has increased from seven to 18 pounds), and it doesn’t take much to make her smile – especially when she sees John. For Brydie and Xian, their smiles come from knowing they can give John and Emma the type of life they need and deserve. “You asked why John? Why Emma? It is not that our kids are more valuable or that they have certain characteristics. We are adopting them because they are kids who need a family…birth parents don’t choose their kids and neither did we.”


Photo by Kennisha Fisher Photo by Kennisha Fisher

*The children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.



P.S. Interested in foster care, adoption or respite care? Call or email us with questions at (502) 893.0241 or Also, become a SJ Stories subscriber to read more inspirational stories about our SJ families along with advice for foster, adoptive, and bio parents.

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St. Joseph Children’s Home
2823 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 893-0241
(877) 893-0241