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When my sister and I moved to our new foster home, we had no idea how much our lives would change. We came with a lot of problems that stemmed from the destructive home life we had survived. Now we were finally in a stable environment with a family that loved each other and extended that love to us. My foster father spent a lot of time in the evenings telling stories and teaching us principles of life that if followed would make us happy. He seemed to have a limitless amount of these stories, some about his childhood and how he dealt with the problems he had growing up, and some were copies of stories he had read, saved, and filed to share later. Slowly, day by day, week by week, he taught us through these stories, and then he stepped back and watched as we tried to incorporate what he had shared with us into our lives. He had great wisdom when he didn’t expect us to become perfect overnight. He and my foster mother showed us true charity by accepting us as we were and demonstrating the way to improve. For example, my sister and I had fought with each other since we were little. We knew just which buttons to push to make each other mad. This did not change when we moved, even though we progressed in other areas. I’m sure it tried our foster parents’ patience when we quarreled over the stupidest things. But in my last year of high school, I thought, ‘My sister is going to be so happy when I move out and go to college.’ This made me sad. The things my foster father had taught me through stories about patience, tolerance, kindness, and service sank deep into my soul, and I felt ashamed of the way I had treated my sister. So I resolved to change: by the time I left for college, my sister and I would be friends. And so, when we both jumped into bed for the night, and K said, ‘Who’s going to turn off the light?’ I volunteered. I held back the snarky remarks and tried to give her true compliments. Instead of making fun of her or berating her, I listened and was kind. I did small things for her. It was very hard at first, but it worked. By the time I left for college, we were best friends, and we have been ever since. I owe so much to my dear foster parents. I can never repay them for the time and love they poured into us. I am especially thankful for my foster father’s stories. Thank you, Dad, and Happy Birthday.

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