Noah learning how the TV camera works. (Photo: Dawn Scott, KTHV)
This was not how the afternoon was supposed to go.
Foster child Noah was serving up drinks and food at Little Rock's Purple Cow restaurant.
"He is absolutely having a blast," says his D.H.S. adoption specialist Katy Townsend. "He is enthralled to be able to be here and help."
And help he did. Not only did he mix up purple shakes, but he also filled the ice bins and did it all with a very sweet smile.
"He is eager to please, eager to help, affectionate, sometimes shy," says Townsend. "He's very selective in who he is willing to speak with and visit with. But once he warms up to you, he is a joy."
A quiet joy who Townsend suggested would love a simple milkshake and a puzzle. So, a Spiderman puzzle and purple shake was the plan. But as Noah knows all too well, plans often fall apart. So this day, he put on an apron, proudly wore his custom name tag, and quietly got to work.
"I've actually known Noah since he was a baby crawling," recalls Townsend. "So to see him as big as he is now and helping serve people and doing puzzles and being so excited to have small successes is a joy for me."
Small successes are a big deal for this 3rd grader who makes B's and C's and lives in a group home. He's been a foster child nearly 5 years and has been dealt countless disappointments and far too much heartbreak.
"He does have some developmental and learning delays, so he's in some special education services and has a speech delay," explains Townsend. "He has a form of mutism known as selective mutism. He can speak but because of his traumatic past he often chooses not to."
There wasn't a lot of talking this day. But as the Purple Cow servers told me, he's doing a lot of communicating in his own way on an afternoon he won't soon forget, as he waits for a family to bring him home.
"He's been waiting for a family for a very long time," says Townsend. "He deserves and would appreciate a family to love and love on him and nurture him."
The Purple Cow went above and beyond to make young Noah feel welcome.
Special thanks to them for the shakes, the name tag and their time and attention.
If you'd like more information about Noah or any of the children in state care who are up for adoption click on the Arkansas Department of Human Services website.
There are no costs associated with adopting a state foster child.