Marty Hock has known his adopted son Alex for over four years. As an elementary school principal, Hock took an interest in Alex when he entered foster care halfway through kindergarten.
“Foster kids are vulnerable and I like to make sure they have good teachers and a good support system at school,” Marty says.
He was impressed by his positive attitude and resilient nature. He saw that, despite having an unstable home life, Alex had the confidence of a natural leader and was involved in extracurricular activities and student leadership.
“Alex is shockingly well adjusted for a kid with such traumatic life experiences,” he says. “He’s been moved from home to home, yet he has a glass-half-full attitude.”
Marty was astonished Alex wasn’t adopted quickly and that he kept changing homes. Eventually, while watching Alex emcee the school talent show, he realized that his family — which already included three biological daughters — was meant to adopt Alex. His wife, Kerri, agreed.
“Marty had told me how great Alex was, and that he wished Alex could find a family,” Kerri says.
The Hocks are what social workers refer to as non-related extended family — people who are already present in the child’s life, like teachers, neighbors or sports coaches. These individuals make great resource parents because their existing relationship with the child makes the transition to foster care easier and often allows the child to stay in his neighborhood and school.
The Hocks transitioned Alex gradually throughout the summer of 2015, working with his foster parents to coordinate weekly visits. Eventually they invited him for a sleepover and then took him on a family vacation to Monterey.
“Alex didn’t know we were working toward fostering him, so I was amazed when I heard him tell my girls they were like sisters to him,” Marty says.
The Hocks were cleared to foster Alex at the end of the summer. He was greeted by a “Welcome Home Alex” sign and learned that the “guest room” he helped decorate over the summer was actually his.
“It’s challenging, yet so rewarding, to help Alex reach his potential,” Kerri says. “I knew there were no limits to what he could do with the advantages of a stable home.”
The Hocks adopted Alex in the summer of 2016. Marty says that when the judge asked Alex why he was in court, he said, “Because I finally get my family and my home.”