By any estimation, Gene Binsbachar, Jr. should have become a statistic. Plunged into the broken foster care system of the 1970s at the age of five, he would spend the next fourteen years bouncing from one home to the next, unwanted and unloved, or so it seemed. He was convinced that he would die homeless and alone, just another life that slipped through the cracks. But it is easy to underestimate the power of kindness…
A coming-of-age tale first witnessed through the eyes of a child and then a young gay man, Broken Boy is the true story of Gino’s journey through foster care. Part manual for prospective foster parents, part emotional exploration of the value of family, this riveting account is filled with hard-won lessons of
kindness, cruelty, redemption, and the ultimate triumph of unconditional love.
"It has been my extreme pleasure to help Gino bring his remarkable story to the page. It’s one of those stories where the truth outmatches anything you might find in fiction. Full of twists, gut-wrenching horror, and ultimate unbridled joy, it’s the kind of book you can’t put down."
"Gino gives a detailed and factual account of an extremely difficult childhood while at the same time holding back a bit on his emotional reactions to it. This allows the reader to discover their own emotional connection to his story.
Broken Boy is well written, engaging, heart wrenching, funny and eye opening. It is a short and an easy read that is filled with unimaginable stories and life lessons.
Gino has spent his entire adult life working through his adverse childhood experiences. He has an amazing and happy life that he has fought hard for."
Gino V. Medeiros (born Gene W. Binsbachar, Jr.) lives on a small farm in Northern California with his husband, Tony. Together, they run a small construction business lifting and moving entire houses. Gino and his former husband fostered and adopted a teenage girl from the foster care system who has gone on to graduate from college and is living her best life. Shortly after building their home, Gino and Tony were presented with the opportunity to take in a 15-year boy. They both describe the experience as intense and difficult at times but overall, they have no regrets. They ultimately became his legal guardians. Gino states clearly that he “will always be my son in my heart and my only hope for him is that he lives his best life! He is an amazing human."
As a self-proclaimed “city boy,” it still surprises Gino that he has the life he has now. “Talk about a head scratcher,” he says. "I was the least likely to land here out of all of my peers! But I wouldn’t change a thing. I found the man of my dreams in Tony so I have no regrets. I can’t imagine living any other way."
In 2022, his mother, Judy, who figures heavily in his upcoming memoir, Broken Boy, passed away. He is dedicated to carrying on her legacy of boundless compassion and caring for others. He made his mother that promise before she passed and he is committed to that promise.
After working for fifteen years at University of California, San Francisco, he is now a passionate advocate for children’s rights. Drawing on his experiences growing up in the foster care system, he has been a keynote speaker at foster parent trainings and industry conferences where he educates on the additional challenges of being gay as a foster child.
When asked what advice he would give to kids transitioning out of foster care his answer is as passionate as it is clear: "Whatever shame you feel is not yours to carry! Give it back to those that are responsible for what happened. to you. It's their shame, not yours!"
Broken Boy is his first book. It was inspired by a chance encounter with the legendary Maya Angelou in 2001. While managing a vintage furniture store in Oakland, California, Ms. Angelou came in to purchase a new dining room set for her son. The two of them ended up spending more than two and a half hours sitting at the table that she eventually purchased. She wanted to “get a feel for it.” Gino describes the conversation as a “transformative experience.” “I’ll never forget what she said to me,” he says. She told him there was power in his story and encouraged him to write it down. “She told me to write it down, even if no one ever sees it. ‘The power of writing will help set you free.’ Boy, was she was right!"
"I can remember being completely emotionally walled off for the first half an hour of our conversation. I sat across from her straight backed and rigid, with my arms crossed, not even realizing what I was projecting. She gently put her hand on the table and told me about some of her experiences. I immediately relaxed and opened up. When she saw that I had opened up she smiled and said, 'There you are. Now, I see you'. She smiled at me with the smile that only she could give. I remember feeling pure light and joy. Her presence made me feel totally safe. She gave of herself without hesitation. She was a true gift to this world."
It took Gino a few more years of thinking about their conversation before he put pen to paper (so to speak).