Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adopted at 21

Some stories truly melt your heart.

Last Christmas I had the opportunity to talk to a family in western Iowa who was in the process of adopting their former foster son, now an adult. Sometimes these journeys take time, and so I was so excited this month to hear from the mother, Renee, that her family will be finally be adopting Larry this Thanksgiving.

It's pretty rare for a teen in foster care to be adopted, let alone a 21-year-old. Larry came to live with this family when he was just 13, facing some tough issues. "He was only our second foster placement," said Renee, "and he was in residential care at the time, waiting to be adopted. We drove 3 and half hours every weekend to visit him before he came to live with us."

Larry and the family still had a tough road ahead of them. He had greater needs then the family could meet at the time, and so he moved back to treatment and other homes for several years. But he always managed to keep finding his way back to Renee's family. And now he's finding ways to help others.

"I was an EMT when Larry first lived with us," said Renee, "and he would always tell kids at school that he was dispatching his mom to calls."

 Larry's the one being dispatched now, after he recently earned his EMT certification and a job with the ambulance crew at his local fire department. It's easy to see who inspired him to achieve that dream.

"It's amazing that something could have such an impact in such a short amount of time," said Renee.

We hope this family has a seriously amazing Thanksgiving together and a time of celebration. Each year 29,000 youth age out of foster care without ever finding a forever family or having the support of a caring adult in their life to help them succeed.

Here's the truth of National Adoption Month. Everyone deserves a permanent, safe and loving place to call home. Larry's story reminds us that we're never too old to find family or create that family with the people who are closest to us.


Stacey said...

If you enjoyed reading Larry's story, you can check out the interview he and his family did with KETV. Make sure you have a kleenex box with you while you read! :)

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