FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — For an easy going guy, you wouldn’t know that 18-year-old Joseph Ryan has a challenging past.
“I’ve been in foster care for 10, 11 years,” Joseph said. “It’s not as bad as people make it out to be, but it’s not an easy situation either.”
He moved in and out of foster homes most of his life. When he met the Sjodin family, there was an immediate bond.
“It’s a gift to raise other people’s kids,” Cynthia Sjodin, from Fridley, said.
Cynthia and her husband have fostered hundreds of children for more than 25 years while raising six of their own, two of them adopted.
They could only care for Joseph temporarily as a child because they were a girls’ only foster home at the time. Still, the family never lost touch with Joseph and when he graduated high school this year, Cynthia threw him a graduation party.
Unfortunately, someone stole Joseph’s cards and money.
“If I talk about it I cry,” Cynthia said. “I thought not Joe because he’s never able to catch a break.”
Again the family jumped into action. Cynthia’s daughter created a GoFundMe to try to make up for the lost funds. Strangers are donating to a young man who never asks for help.
“It’s unreal,” Joseph said. “I wish I could tell them each individually thank you so much.”
Joe will be starting college this fall. While he isn’t officially adopted by the Sjodins, he knows where he’ll be spending his Christmas: With family.
“They’re always there when I need them,” Joseph said. “They’re amazing.”
Joseph is staying with the Sjodins for the summer and will attend classes at Ridgewater College in Hutchinson in the Fall. He’s trying to save up to buy his own car for school.
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