Fatherhood can be scary and a challenge. Curtis Compton, however, appears to have it all under control.
For more than 20 years, Compton has been a foster parent, an adoptive parent, a biological parent, a mentor and a coach. He works here in maintenance at HCJFS. He credits his ex-wife, Cheryl, and her mother for introducing him to the world of foster-parenting.
“Her mom fostered for years and I never really knew what it was about, ” he says. “Cheryl wanted kids though, and one son wasn’t enough.”
They still wanted to make some more permanent additions to their family, though. Curtis and Cheryl eventually adopted sisters Latrice, now 27, and Tessa, 25, Maria, 23. They picked up Sean, 21, straight from the hospital.
“We were there to pick up another foster child, and he [Sean] was in the same room. Someone said, ‘Hey! Do you want to take this guy too?’ We couldn’t say no,” Compton recalls. Their house had rapidly grown.
Compton fostered children for 12 years, but he slowed down once he and Cheryl were divorced. Annika, 7, is his biological child.
“(Divorce) is always hard on the kids,” he says. “That’s what I hated the most about it, but we pulled through.”
With most of his children grown, Compton helps out now at Hamilton County’s juvenile youth centers – 2020 and Hillcrest Academy. He also has coached football, basketball, and even his nephews’ soccer team.
“I like hanging out with (kids),” he says. “Any time I could get those boys outdoors, I would.”
He saw himself as a mentor, not just to his nephews then, but also to all the kids he coaches now. “I’m just trying to teach them something. That’s the important part.”
He hopes they learn from him, and part of that is letting them experience the world. Compton says when his children were younger he would take them outdoors and let them play in the woods. His favorite part was watching their faces as they saw something new and exciting.
“That was always really fun. All they want to see now are their phones and the TV,” he jokes.
HCJFS Adoption Recruitment Manager Carrie Fiasco says Compton “is someone who is always smiling and friendly when you see him” and “you can tell that he cares about others, especially kids, when you talk with him.”
Compton says he doesn’t have any big plans to celebrate Father’s Day, but he fully suspects an ambush.
“They always spring it on me, last minute,” he says. “I never know what we’re doing.”
Annika, however, has been preparing for weeks.
“She says, ‘Daddy, what do you want? It’s Father’s Day – you have to have something.’ And I just tell her, ‘No, Daddy has everything he needs. As long as he gets to spend time with you.’”