STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And it's time again for StoryCorps. On this Friday before Father's Day, we have a conversation about foster dads. In 2007, after volunteering to care for drug-addicted infants in Baltimore, Juan Calvo wanted to do more. So he and his husband, Darrow Brown, became foster parents. At StoryCorps, they recall the moment they met their first child.
JUAN CALVO: The worker came in, she chatted a bit. She left some formula and said here, here you go. Sign this paper (laughter). And this little baby, he was so beautiful.
DARROW BROWN: I remember his first reaction when he saw you was that he smiled even though he was not in the greatest shape.
CALVO: He needed some food. He needed to gain some weight. And his cry, it was so wimpy. You know, he couldn't belt it out (laughter). Eventually, he really found his voice.
BROWN: He found his voice.
CALVO: Yes, (laughter).
BROWN: Yes, he did. Three and a half years he was with us, from 9 months till almost 4 and a half years old.
CALVO: He was, in essence, our son. We loved him that way. We treated him that way.
BROWN: Do you remember the day that he went back?
CALVO: Yeah. How could I forget? And as much as I tried to prepare myself, there's no way to prepare for that kind of thing.
BROWN: I remember getting the call from the caseworker that he had to go back, like, now. And I remember panicking. And I remember picking him up from day care and got home and had to pack his clothes and pack some toys. And I just remember being on autopilot and just sort of in shock.
CALVO: Yes. It was hard to be in the house. Nobody would set foot in his room. It was sort of the ghost of the kid that used to live there. It was a very sad place.
BROWN: So then we decided to do it.
BROWN: It was Thanksgiving weekend when we got the call for the siblings. And I remember just thinking...
CALVO: How can we not?
BROWN: ...How could you say no?
BROWN: How has being a foster parent changed you?
CALVO: I think in some ways having to love someone and then give them up makes you less demanding of other people. I think the other thing is being a foster parent made me want to be a foster parent even more. It's hard to lose kids, that's for sure. But I can do this, and I can help them.
BROWN: I struggle with how they'll - how they'll remember us. Like, I want them to remember that they were loved.
CALVO: Part of me doesn't want them to remember us. I want them to forget that there was some disruption in their life that caused them to have that family pulled apart. I want them to remember the loving, the warm feeling that they're protected, they're safe. But I hope they don't remember us.
(SOUNDBITE OF YANN TIERSEN'S "COMPTINE D'UN AUTRE ETE")
INSKEEP: Foster dads Juan Calvo and Darrow Brown in Baltimore. Their interview will be archived at the Library of Congress.
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