“The Ride,” a new film set to be released on July 31, is based on the true life story of former BMX biking star John Buultjens, who was born in Scotland into a troubled home. Buultjens gives a powerful performance playing the role of his own biological father in the film.
According to an article in the Irish Examiner, Buultjens’ first childhood memory was from toddlerhood. When he ran to greet his father who was arriving home from work, his father picked him up and threw him in a fire, damaging his foot. By age five, Buultjens was often living on the streets with his two older siblings, preferring to be anywhere other than exposed to their father’s alcohol-fueled anger and violence at home. At age seven, he tried to stab his father, who was beating his mother so badly that Buultjens thought she might die. His father in turn beat him unconscious. Buultjens’ mother arranged for him to be put into a children’s home the very next day.
Within several years, unable to process the trauma not only of his family of origin but also the violence of the children’s home he lived in, he was on a path to complete self-destruction. After a rocky start with his foster parents, John was offered a chance to return to the children’s home or to remain in his foster home. When he told the social worker that he wanted to go back to the children’s home, she told him had a choice but believed her would “die in there” if he chose the children’s home. He stayed with his foster parents, and was eventually adopted by them.
Buultjens’ gradual healing journey began when he watched the movie “E.T.” Speaking during a webinar jointly sponsored by the National Review Institute and the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture during National Foster Care Awareness Month, John said that the movie actually introduced him to BMX biking, which would become his life’s passion. Fast forward several decades, and he is now living in California, working as the global brand manager for the well known mountain bike and BMX bike manufacturer Haro Bikes. He is a passionate adoption advocate and serves as an ambassador for AdoptionUK.
During the webinar, Buultjens said “Deciding to be an inspiration versus a victim changed my life. I am not a victim. I want to advocate for those that just can’t speak up [for themselves].” He said of his adoptive parents, “They are my closest friends. My parents are my life. I talk to them often on FaceTime, and I always tell them how grateful I am, that I love them.” Buultjens’ autobiography is “Ride: BMX Glory, Against All the Odds.”
The May 27th webinar also featured Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, as well as Kristin Allender, executive director of Tennessee Kids Belong and the spokeswoman for America’s Kids Belong. Allender noted, “While not every family is called to foster or adopt, every one can take on some type of role to support these children.”
Allender also encouraged webinar viewers considering becoming foster parents to start by learning to understand trauma, a common denominator for virtually all children in the foster care system. She spoke about the I Belong Project, which “uses high-quality videography to give children in foster care a face and a voice.” She said that the videos are powerful because “[t]hey change a child from a statistic to a soul.”
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