A Christmas wish for a 15-year-old orphan, who was born in prison and raised in foster care, has come true. Davion Only has found a family to answer his plea.
Only had visited St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg September, intent on making a plea for a family to adopt him. Only had never had a home, having moved from one foster home to another, and never settled anywhere permanently. He had searched for his biological mother, but she died a few months prior, at age 55. He did not have any more hope that she would look for him, but this was the catalyst for him to start turning his life around by doing well in school and learning to keep his anger in check. His caseworker, Connie Going, said it was Only’s idea to approach the church congregation. He wanted a family that wanted him.
To the congregation, Only had said, “My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born. I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either … I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
Many people listened, and Only’s story soon went viral on social media. He received 10,000 responses from potential families interested in adopting him; the calls came from other countries such as Canada, India, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain and Iran. And now he has a potential “forever” family. Just in time to fulfill orphan Davion Only’s Christmas wish.
Only just moved out of a group home, Carlton Manor, where he lived with 12 other teenage boys and in with his potential adoptive family for Christmas. He is very excited at the prospect of getting to know this new family during Christmas.
In November, Only went to see Florida Gov. Rick Scott to tell his story, and explain how there are other boys in the foster care system that need forever homes. Currently in Florida, there are 750 children in the foster system waiting for families to adopt them. The director of the governor’s office reportedly says more than 8,400 adoptions have been completed since Gov. Scott took office.
According to Judy Grutza, vice president of Eckerd, an organization that works with the state of Florida on foster cases, the adoption process can be lengthy: “We know that there is great interest in who will become Davion’s forever family, but we request patience and understanding as we protect the delicate process of identifying the most appropriate family for Davion.”
There are approximately 425,000 foster children in the U.S. alone. Florida’s Children First, founded by child advocate attorneys, advocates for at-risk children and helps ensure that they receive proper clothing and food, education, medical care and housing.
As stated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau, between the years 2002 and 2012, the number of foster children has decreased. Blacks, Hispanics, Whites and Asians have all seen a decrease in foster children, but Blacks had the most dramatic decrease, with a 47 percent decline. It is with high hopes each of these children will have their own Christmas wish come true. Only shows how to never stop believing.
By Juana Poareo