A Boy and His Horse

Karen sent me this NYT story which breaks and warms your heart simultaneously.

Few people begin life with so many strikes against them as Maurice had when he was born with AIDS on Sept. 11, 1990, to a crack-addicted mother in a hospital in Washington. There were physical and developmental issues severe enough that his twin sister, Michelle Reed, lived only 20 months. Deserted by his parents, he got his first break in 1993 when two men, intent on caring for a baby with serious physical needs, agreed to take him in.

The two, who came to be known as the Tims, Tim Mannion and Tim Vanover, were told he would probably live six months. But, to everyone’s amazement, he began to thrive. He gained weight. His T-cell count steadily increased. In 1996, they adopted him, becoming the first gay couple in Washington to adopt a child. A year later, they adopted a second son, Kindoo, eight years older. When Tim Vanover got a new job in New York, they moved to Montclair in 1998.

Eventually, the family of two white gay men and two black children became two men, two children and one horse, Rocky, short for Rockefeller. The Tims bought Rocky, a 4-year-old cross between a Morgan and a quarter horse, for $3,500 in 2002 and gave him to Maurice on Christmas Eve.

Montclair, a densely populated suburb, isn’t exactly horse country, but they had a double lot with an old carriage house near downtown. And Maurice had fallen in love with horses, almost transformed by their presence. Atop a horse, seemingly glued to the saddle, the slender child seemed to blossom, his back straighter, his eyes brighter, as if on top not of a horse, but of the world.

Published by Susanna Forrest

Writer Amazons of Paris, The Age of the Horse and If Wishes Were Horses.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. We recently had to budget a bit more and canceled our subscription to the Times so I would’ve missed this bittersweet story. After a weekend in which I became convinced that most people are rotten, it was reassuring to read a sad but uplifting story like this one.

  2. The (London) Times has an editorial today saying that we need to change our adoption laws. At the moment a huge number of potential parents are turned down because they don’t have the correct ethnic background. I understand why people have these concerns, but then I read a story like this and think that maybe there are hundreds of British children who could be having a home and a childhood like the one Maurice had, and are missing out because of the current UK rules.

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