29 September 2011

Takes a Village, #4

Boom fairly early on,
without eye make-up.
Maybe a year after our Mongolian exchange student had gone back to his country, the exchange program people called again. They had a student from Thailand who had been placed in Mississippi. A few weeks after starting high school there, he had "come out."

Bad move, kid. The school and his host family "just didn't think they could keep him safe." Well, it was clear he shouldn't stay there then. The program asked us to take him for the interim while they found a permanent host home. But within a week of his arrival, we told them to consider him permanently placed.

And so Thanapol Ekatanachokul, a.k.a. "Boom," would be with us for the year. Mariah, 8, was still here with us; Asa was 6 or 7; and Boom was 16. With the two mommies, we had a full house.

Asa, Thanapol, Mariah

Boom had one of the more... enthusiastic personalities I have ever come across on the planet. Boom would cook, Boom would help clean, Boom would pull the kids around on a sled until I made them all stop. He became one of the most popular kids at his city high school in a matter of months. Yet, he was never loud or obnoxious or exhausting to be with. I don't think I could come up with a single bad thing to say about Boom. I wish he could have stayed forever. So did everyone else in the family. And a little bit, so did Boom.

Boom fairly late on,
in eye make-up.
He couldn't, though, and just as well. Boom was ready for the world. He had been just a boy when he came to us; he was a young gay man when he moved on.

Boom learned about and experimented with his gay identity while he was here. He became very sophisticated about such matters, but stayed true to his Buddhist faith. He did not drink, do drugs, or smoke--nor did he have sex while he was here. How do I know this? Because Boom told me and I have no doubt that he was honest and sincere.

Boom doesn't stay in touch with us. It doesn't surprise me. I'm sure his life is full and he is very busy with it, bringing light to any dark corner he finds. I think that someday we'll hear from Boom again. We were the first gay people to nurture him and he turned out marvelously.

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