On Thursday, President Trump and First Lady Melania were at their best as America’s First Couple. Declaring a national emergency to address the opioid epidemic unchecked by the previous administration, their compassion was on full display. But, for two young boys attending the signing, it was much more than a speech.
It was a promise of a better future.
For adoptive parents, Cyndi and Jesse Swafford, the opioid crisis is personal. The Swafford’s have taken in 13 children whose parents fell victim to drug addiction. Biological brothers Kalib, 12 and Brandon, 10 are two of those children. The boys were removed from their birth family in 2008 because their dad was a heroin addict.
Kalib and Brandon, along with Cyndi and Jesse, listened intently as President Trump delivered an emotional speech on the crisis that is devastating American families. “This epidemic is a national health emergency,” said Trump. “Nobody has seen anything like what is going on now.
“As Americans, we cannot allow this to continue. It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic. We can do it.”
A Gesture of Kindness
Just as he was about to sign, the president asked the boys to come closer. As Kalib and Brandon stood next to him, President Trump offered the boys his reassurance. “So important,” he says about the declaration. “We will win, right?” With a big smile, Kalib nods in agreement. Afterwards, the president gave the boys the pen he used to sign the document.
However, President Trump gave the boys much more than a pen. He gave the brothers, and their adoptive parents, hope. For Cyndi and Jesse, it is the hope that one day they will not have to cuddle babies who cry for opiates, instead of their mother’s milk. For Kalib and Brandon, it is the hope that families like theirs will no longer face the devastation of drug abuse.
Incidentally, the boys recently met their biological father who has been sober for 18 months. James Fuller had not seen his boys in ten years. Kalib told his father that he was “glad he was feeling better” so they could they see each other. “I’m glad now that you are able to be clean.” Kalib says meeting his dad, was the “best day of his life.”