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kirk franklin-1Adopted children make up roughly two percent of the total population under age 18. GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin, 45, fell into that small percentage as a child.

Forsaken by his birth mother at age three, he was taken in by a great aunt.

Born Kirk Smith in Fort Worth, Texas, after Gertrude Franklin, a 64-year-old widow, adopted him, he, in turn, adopted her surname.

In a recent blog post, Franklin fondly reminisced about Gertrude, calling her “the angel that raised me as a kid,” while he reflected on her scrumptious home cooking.

“Sundays after church, we’d go home to a wonderful, delicious Sunday dinner that filled the whole house with the smell of food cooked from her soul,” he wrote.

In an interview with LA Times, Franklin said of her, “She taught me everything. She taught me how to respect people and respect myself, and that’s something I’ll never forget.”

One thing Gertrude didn’t teach him, however, was how to cook. So after she passed away when Franklin was only 17, he had to compensate.

“I spent most of my life before I got married hanging out with other families that were nice enough to take me in after moms died,” Franklin explained.

“So every Sunday after church, or during the holidays, some kind family, would let me roll through, blend into the fabric of their domestic narrative, and get my grub on.”

The decorated songwriter and producer really found stability in 1996 when he married Tammy Collins (now Franklin), a then 26-year-old Fort Worth native who worked as a makeup artist.

The two just celebrated 19 years of marriage on Jan. 20.