Marcio Donaldson, 28, grew up in foster care, along with his sister. He said his mother did her best, but she couldn’t save her kids.

Then something happened that was fairly predictable because cycles repeat themselves. Marcio’s sister had a baby.

Meanwhile, Marcio decided to audition for American Idol. He made it to the Hollywood round, but then got sent home from the group performance.

When he went home, shortly after his audition, he was faced with something that shocked him. Would he take his sister’s baby?

Police and a social worker were prepared to place the baby, named Rashad, in foster care because the mother couldn’t care for him. Marcio said that drugs played a big factor in that. But first, the police and social worker took the baby, who was only a week old, to see her next of kin, Marcio. He had two hours to decide: could he take care of this baby or not?

Marcio came from a neighborhood that is riddled with crime, drug abuse, etc…He lived in a roach-infested apartment with his mother and his sister. He couldn’t stand the thought of this precious baby having the life that he himself has had.

After thinking carefully about what he was about to undertake, he made the decision that he has never regretted. He said he would take Rashad and raise him as his own.

“They came to me, they told me I only had 10 minutes to decide or he goes into the system,” Marcio said. “So I said, ‘No thank you, I’ll take him.’ I took that responsibility on because I didn’t want him growing up the same way I grew up. I want to do this for him,” Marcio said.

He said “I had no idea what I was doing, but he’s actually a real gift,” and “he’s changed my life.”

It was a hard road, but Marcio knew he wasn’t going to give up. He made the decision to try again for American Idol. He wanted to do this for the baby, who he now calls his son.

“Now I’m not only performing for me. I’m performing for my son. I want to show him what a man can really do when you step up to the plate. I want to give him a better life.”

When he went to audition, he took Rashad with him. One of the judges held the baby while Marcio sang.

His performance was mind-blowing. It was an emotional performance that he and Idol fans will never forget. He was given the Golden Ticket.

Watch his emotional audition video, where he tells his story, below.