Tremica grew up in the inner city of East Palo Alto, with a mother hooked on drugs. When Tremica was about 10, a youth minister invited her and her neighborhood friends to Bible study. She didn't know much about God, but the message appealed to her. "We thought we had to fight to gain respect, but they taught us that we didn't have to always fight."
She prayed daily for her mother to get off drugs, and she eventually got clean. The youth minister paid Tremica's tuition to attend private school. Without the help, Tremica says, she'd have ended up in state care or foster care.
"That's how we ended up with Charles. It wasn't even a second thought when we were asked to take him in," she says. "It was like: I know I have to do this for what was done for me."
In the gardens behind the couple, a fountain with oval stones rests next to the front door of the chapel. Etched into each rock is the name of a child.
Charles will soon have his stone.
"We thought we were teaching Charles to be a child, how to just be a kid, how to grow up, how to go through school, achieve certain things in life," Tremica says.
Charles ended up being their teacher.
Forest's arms wrap around Charles in the hydrotherapy pool. Dad closes his eyes to cherish the moment, to release months of agony held inside. "You're with me now," he whispers.
He wasn't there the day Charles was born. But he wants his son to know his father is with him to the end.
"I felt something in that water," Forest says later. "I don't think I've ever felt somebody's energy like that."
Charles died three days later, on Friday, January 14, 2011 -- 19 days after he entered George Mark. It was supposed to be family picture day. Trayshaun walked down the hall to fetch Charles' favorite shirt, a tuxedo T-shirt he purchased on a family trip to downtown San Francisco, and returned to the room just in time.
Charles took three deep breaths. Mom, Dad and Trayshaun stood at his bedside.
A week after his death, more than 50 friends and relatives crowded the chapel for a Celebration of Life service.
Charles' aunt, Janice Mays, read a message she imagined Charles might've written:
I won the battle. I am in heaven now. That ole cancer has no way to cause me any more pain or discomfort, nor does it live within me. So, to my family and friends, thank you for being a part of my life and loving me in your own special way.
On a television screen, an image of a vibrant Charles appeared. It was the video from the trip to Los Angeles. The family beamed as they listened, one more time, to Charles croon.
More than a year after his death, photographs of Charles adorn the house he called home the last three years of his life. The sheets are tucked in tightly on his bed, his favorite stuffed animals sitting where Charles once slept. "I always keep it nice, because that's exactly the way he would want it," says Nate. He has moved into the room with Trayshaun and sleeps on a third bed.
Many nights, Forest awakens with tears in his eyes. Charles performs Madea skits in his dreams. Other times, they're on vacation in Los Angeles. Charles dances and sings.
"It's like the loss just happened," he says. "Just not having Charles here with us, not being able to see him grow up into a man, to go out on his own ..."
Tremica keeps Charles' rosary on display in the master bedroom. When the pain of losing him overcomes her, she holds the cross.