Man inspired to adopt by film ‘Antwone Fisher’ celebrates first Father’s Day
James Cotten(NEWARK, N.J.) — One man was inspired to make a major change in his life after seeing the 2002 film, “Antwone Fisher.”
“When I saw that movie, it was very touching,” James Cotten told ABC News.
“Antwone Fisher” — featuring and directed by Denzel Washington — centers on a man with a troubled past, played by Derek Luke, after he was abused in a foster home. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy, he’s inspired to reconnect with his mother in an effort to forgive her.
Cotten, a 39-year-old diversity sourcing specialist for a global chemical company, said that although he’s an only child, his parents have a combined total of 23 siblings.
“So it was really heartbreaking for me to even watch that [film],” Cotten continued. “To think there were people that didn’t necessarily have a family was very heartbreaking. Outside of church, I’ve never felt like I’ve been ministered to.”
The Newark, New Jersey man said he felt a calling to adopt a child. But he was waiting until the right time.
“I had set all of these goals for myself — when I buy a house, I’m actually going to do it,” he explained. “I thought I’d be married. I thought I’d be in a different place in my life by now. I had this checklist that I created… but it just became the right time.”
In 2013, Cotten began the adoption process. After three years, he finally got a call about a 3-year-old boy named Caleb, who is autistic and needed a home.
“Because of his profile, most households [couldn’t take in] an autistic kid with screaming bouts. Once I realized they didn’t have a place to put him, he just stayed, and we just figured it out,” he said, noting that before adopting him he had to foster Caleb.
Ten months later, on April 28, Cotten officially adopted Caleb. A photo of the two — with Cotten holding a sign that reads, “Today is my last day in foster care because I’m being adopted!” — went viral on Facebook.
Today Cotten, who is still a single dad, is celebrating his first Father’s Day. He said he’s most looking forward to being a family man.
“I’m looking forward to PTA meetings. I’m looking forward to school projects. I’m looking forward to helping out with school plays and dance class,” he said. “I’m looking forward to providing as much exposure as possible.”
“I was blessed as a kid to have the ability to go to other countries [and] dance classes thanks to my mom. And now that my mom is gone, I really look forward to giving him those experiences that my mom gave me,” Cotten added.
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