It’s not uncommon for a child to open a lemonade stand with a goal in mind, like a new bike, the latest video game, or a cool pair of shoes.
But one Missouri boy has opened a lemonade stand in the hopes of paying for a new life.
Tristan Jacobson, 9, began selling lemonade, cookies, and bottled water near his foster family’s home in north Springfield last Thursday.
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“You’re welcome, and thank you for helping our adoption,” Jacobson said as he thanked each customer who stopped by, according to KY3 News in Springfield.
Jacobson is hoping to raise enough money to cover the legal expenses surrounding his adoption. His foster mother, Donnie Davis, has a long history and personal connection with the boy and wants to legally make him a part of her family.
“He’s already a part of our family. In mine and my husband’s hearts, that’s our son. Nobody can tell us any different; that is our son. He wants to be legally ours,” Davis said.
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As detailed in a post on the family’s crowdfunding page, Jacobson is actually the son of Davis’ ex-husband, fathered during an affair with an underage girl.
Jacobson’s father was arrested shortly after his birth on gun charges, and Davis agreed to help Jacobson’s teenaged mother raise him for the first few years of his life.
But Davis alleges Jacobson’s biological mother descended into drug abuse and prostitution.
“I could notice a huge difference in his physical appearance, clothes being dirty and not fitting and in her activity in both of her boy’s life,” Davis writes. “For the next year, it got worse and worse.”
Four years ago, police informed Davis that the then-five-year-old Jacobson had been abandoned on the steps of a homeless shelter in -10 weather.
“I was scared to death,” Davis said. “If he was scared, if he was hurt, what was going on through his mind.”
What followed was a long and trying adjustment period, as Davis says Jacobson suffered from learning disabilities and PTSD as a result of his upbringing.
Now Davis is facing a legal battle to have Jacobson declared legally her own child.
“I reached out to the county and then was informed that since Tristan was never placed in actual foster care, they could not assist me with anything,” Davis said. “Even though they removed him from the home and placed him with me, there is nothing available for kinship placement.”
So the family has been trying to raise money to cover their legal costs any way they can: yard sales, online fundraising, and yes – even a lemonade stand.
“I’ve kind of coached [Tristan] on some things to say, and he gets a little nervous and stuff,” Davis said. “Sometimes he’ll just sit there, and I’m, like, ‘You have to greet them.’”
The goal of their online fundraising campaign was US$5,000, but as of Tuesday afternoon, they had raised almost US$20,000.