The foster care system is not perfect by any means. It is intended to be a way to take care of children who do not have parents, who have lost parents or who were removed from abusive households. There are many amazing foster parents who take care of children for years providing them with hope and a solid foundation for adulthood.
Unfortunately, there are also foster parents who are just as abusive as the people the children had left behind. It can be hard to identify these households because so much abuse goes unreported by frightened and confused foster children. This is what was happening in Pittsburgh just a year or two ago. The story starts with a Pittsburgh police officer named Jack Mook.
He had been a police officer for 22 years at the time. Mook patrolled Pittsburgh streets during the day and volunteered during his time off. He volunteered at a placed called Steel City Boxing. It was a gym for boxers that also held classes for kids. Most of the kids that Mook worked with at the gym were born into poverty. They often had nowhere to go and sometimes lived on the streets. The gym helped to teach the kids about being responsible. It also kept them out of trouble by taking them off the streets. Mook started to develop a special bond with two of the boys that regularly came to the gym.
Josh and Jesse were the names of the boys. Josh was the older brother of Jesse. The boys would show up to the gym for boxing classes whenever they were being held. Mook learned that the boys were living with foster parents and had been for some time. The boys seemed bright and motivated. This is why Mook was surprised when they stopped showing up one day. Mook knew that something was wrong. Mook immediately used his police skills to go out onto the streets looking for Josh and Jesse. He managed to track them down at the foster home where they lived. When talking to the boys about why they had stopped showing up at Steel City Boxing, Josh just broke down. The boy started to cry.
He then began telling Mook about the conditions they were living in. It turns out that the foster parents Josh and Jesse had been living with were severely abusive. This included physical violence. The foster parents were also extremely neglectful. They often did not take care of the basic needs of the children. The home they lived in was a mess. The boys were forced to live in horrendous conditions. This is why they stopped showing up at the boxing classes.
Mook was outraged and decided to take action immediately. He started to pull strings through the police department and the social services offices. He called in old favors. Mook eventually was able to become the foster parent for Josh and Jesse. He rescued them from an abusive household. Mook did not stop there. He then went on through the family court system and fought to adopt the two boys. He finally did adopt them and officially became their father in 2014.
Mook was a bachelor when all this was first reported in 2014. The local station reporting the story was flooded with requests from eligible women to meet Mook. It turns out, however, that a local woman named Mary would eventually win him over. Mary found out what bar Mook usually went to and traveled out to meet him. Mook and Mary hit it off. They were married soon afterwards. Mary had three of her own children already. The entire family is now happier than ever living together in Pittsburgh.