A boy we know boy just turned 16, and he is the light of his foster parents' lives. As he is not legally adoped (he is a 'ward of the state" and cannot legally be adopted), I cannot give identifying information, but I can sketch out his story. I am hoping someday he will be strong enough to help his parents write the book of their lives.
5 years ago, the mother ran into a kid in the community (in a shelter where she was volunteering), and he was a wreck. Angry, violent, huge for 11.5 years old, using drugs, sexually active and fully in puberty, in and out of group homes, wards, shelters, streets, etc. He never smiled with adults, trusted no one, and looked doomed. He was refusing to go to any school, and was in behavioral schools at that point. No decent attachment to any adult.
Long and short, he and the woman became friends, and very soon after another reunion with his bio mother broke down, a social worker saw that he was becoming attached to this woman. She approached the woman, happily married, 40, and happily childless by choice, about fostering. In shock, the woman spoke with her very reluctant husband. After many tears, therapy, and foster care training the boy moved in to their fairly perfect, ordered home.
He tried like hell to break them- tantrums, screaming, ruining trips, depression/threats of self harm, pounding doors off hinges, refusing to go to school, saying how he hated them and wanted to leave, etc.
They responded with love, understaning, and surreal patience. (Remember, no kids of their own, mid 40's, and happened to be atheists).
Today, this beautiful young man is happy, confident, handsome, in a health loving relationship with a very nice teen girl, attending regular schools, has friends, talents, a future and a very strong bond with the couple (who adore him).
Recipe: Unconditional love. No threat, ever, that he would have to go. Never, ever, yelled back, called names, responded with anger in any way. Trust. Never hid, locked up, anything. Two people with money, resources, lots of higher education (psychology helps) time, patience. Hugged and held hands whenever he wanted, which is still very often.
He is their everything, and he probably would have been dead by now. He is beyond a success story. As I said, they are unable to 'come out", but they, and I, beseech anyone who has similar strengths, and a bond with a teen, to go for it. The rewards are incalculable.