When people think about adoption, they mostly think about adopting babies or toddlers. After all, those are the most vulnerable children, trapped in a system during their most formative years. And many parents want to be able to raise a child from infancy. But the truth is, there are hundreds of thousands of older kids in the foster care system in this country. Kids who have been in foster care or without a permanent family for most of their lives. Once those kids turn 18 or 21, depending on the state in which they live, they will age out of the system and be on their own.
Can you imagine how difficult that must be? To face adulthood without the support and love of a family behind you? It breaks our hearts. One teen in Oklahoma is taking his desire for a family public, hoping to be adopted before he ages out of the foster care system later this year.
Haven is 17 years old, and lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He's been in the foster care system since he was 12, and currently lives in a shelter with four other kids. He turns 18 at the end of this year, and has some big plans for his future! Haven plans on enlisting in the military. He believes that being a part of the Army will give him the chance to experience the world, and be a part of something bigger than himself.
He wants to serve his country, and involved in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) through his school. But before he enlists, he's hoping to find a family who will adopt him. He wants to find a family who will be there for him, to love him and support him on this journey, so he doesn't have to go it alone.
Right now, there are 400,000 kids in the foster care system in the U.S., and more than 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted. Approximately 200,000 kids will age out of the system, according to AdoptUSKids. Sadly, when a child ages out without any sort of family or support system, they're at increased odds becoming unemployed or experiencing homelessness.
Every kid deserves to have a family to call their own, no matter how old they are. We hope Haven finds his family soon!