An orphan decided to visit his foster family ten years after moving out in order to thank them for all they’ve done for him. When he arrived in front of their dilapidated house, he asked what happened and how it ended up that way.
Chuck looked around the room with a smile on his face, savoring the moments he had with his foster family. He had just turned 18 and was now ready to go to college.
He watched how his foster mom sang him a happy birthday as she clapped her hands, and how his dad had an arm on his mom’s shoulder as he sang along. Then he looked at his foster brother, Ivan, who looked bored out of his wits with his head on the table, refusing to sing along.
Chuck loved his family dearly because they never treated him as an outcast. Although he and Ivan did not get along, he knew that his parents loved him because they spent their own money raising him.
“I will miss you guys so much. Thank you for this birthday celebration,” he told them before blowing out the candles on his cake.
“We will miss you too, son. I hope you come back and visit us once you’re done with university,” his foster dad Chase told him.
Chuck blew out his candles and made a wish. They enjoyed one last meal together before he was off to college.
“Oh, sweetheart,” his mom sighed. “I can still remember the day we got you and took you home. I can’t believe you’re all grown up and going to college,” she said, tears forming in her eyes.
“I know, mom. I am the luckiest boy. I am so thankful that you took me in. Without you, I am nothing,” Chuck said, holding his mom’s hand. “Thank you for all the love and care you gave me.”
At this point, Ivan had enough. “Oh, please,” he rolled his eyes. “Can we just eat in silence? Your sentimentality is making me sick!”
Instead of fighting back, Chuck smiled. “I know you’ll enjoy not having me around anymore, Ivan, but I’ll miss you too.”
That night, Chuck couldn’t sleep in excitement. His bags were all packed and he was ready to take the bus to the university the following day.
“It’s time to go, honey,” his mom called out to him the next morning.
Chuck looked around his room one last time, knowing it was the last time he would be seeing it in a long time. He embraced his parents one last time before heading out the door.
“I’m on my own now,” he said. “You gave me all I needed, and I’m sorry if I was an added burden to you because of that. I promise I’ll do my best to become a successful person. I will come back and repay you for all you’ve done!”
It was Chuck’s personal decision to leave the foster care system once he was able. Although he loved his parents dearly, he chose not to get adopted legally to save his parents the money it would cost. After all, knowing they loved him was more than enough for him.
Chuck really did his best in school, keeping his promise. He studied law and was motivated to become a good lawyer after he graduated.
After passing the bar, he started working for a top law firm. From being just an associate, he rose up the ranks until he became a partner in the firm. Ultimately, he lost touch with his parents. While they wrote to each other in the beginning, his work made it less possible, until their communication stopped entirely.
It had been ten years since he last saw his foster parents. Chuck had a client in the city where he grew up, so he decided to drop in on his old home. He realized it was about time he visited his foster parents, so he took a day off to spend time with them. But what greeted him there was totally unexpected.
Apart from an unkempt lawn, you could hardly see the white paint on the walls which had been entirely covered in vines. As he walked towards the front door, he even wondered if anyone still lived there.
Chuck rang the doorbell, but it was no longer working. He was about to turn back thinking no one lived there anymore until he heard a voice from inside. He decided to knock.
After a couple of seconds, his foster dad opened the door. “Chuck?” he called out. “Is that you?”
“Dad,” he said, embracing him tightly. “What happened here?! Are you alright? Where’s mom and Ivan?” he asked. He had so many questions running through his head, and he wanted answers.
“Come in, son. I can’t believe you made it home. How long has it been? 10 years?” he said, bringing his adoptive son inside the house. “Honey, it’s Chuck! Chuck is home!” he called out to his wife.
As soon as his mom came out of the kitchen, Chuck’s heart sank. She was no longer the healthy woman he once knew. She looked frail as if she hadn’t eaten properly in weeks. “Mom!” he cried out. “What happened?”
“Ivan told us he was starting a business about five years ago. We were so happy because even though he didn’t want to go to college, we thought he had found a direction in life. It turns out, he just wanted us to give him money so he could do whatever he wanted,” his dad shared.
“He promised he would give us a share of his earnings, but that never happened. Because of him, we’re in debt,” his mom added with tears in her eyes. “We didn’t think we would ever see you again, sweetheart. I am so glad you visited,” she said, embracing Chuck again.
Chuck could not believe what his parents had gone through at the hands of his brother. He took them out to dinner, and when they got home, promised to be back the following day.
The next day, he returned and told them that they had nothing to worry about anymore. “I paid off the loan and any legal damages it incurred. I also hired someone to repair the house. I would also like to give you this,” he said, handing them a passbook.
“Chuck!” his mom cried. “You didn’t have to do any of this. It’s too much. We didn’t raise you thinking you’d ever pay us back,” she told him.
“I never saw you and Ivan differently,” his dad added. “To me, you were both my sons. But now, I can’t believe that it’s you who genuinely loves and cares for us. And Ivan left us for dead.”
Chuck shook his head. “I owe you both so much more than just money,” he replied. “You gave me a home – a family. Money is nothing to me. Family is everything! I love you both and will take care of you for the rest of my life,” he promised.
What can we learn from this story?
Never forget those who helped you. Chuck never forgot his foster parents, who did so much to raise him. He lived comfortably because of them and wanted to give back to them as much as he could.
Family matters over everything. Ivan betrayed his parents over money, valuing material possessions over familial relationships. Meanwhile, Chuck always cherished family over everything else, so he was more than willing to cut his fortune in half if it meant his parents living comfortably.
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