Without intervention, only 22 percent of the older youth lingering in foster care will be adopted before their 18th birthday while the rest will ‘age out’ or a”emancipate” from the system.
The Way Home Adoption, Inc. is the only organization in Texas focusing exclusively on finding adoptive homes for these youth. Our mission is to find permanent homes for youth between the ages of 11 and 17, youth who, like Devante, are lingering in foster care at-risk of “aging out” of the system and for whom traditional adoption efforts have failed.
The foster care system, designed to be temporary, is permanently housing thousands of children who are eligible for adoption. Statistics show that once a child has lived in the foster care system for two years, he/she has a 75 percent chance of aging out and only a 25 percent chance of being adopted, no matter his/her age.
Most of the youth we serve, including Devante, are living proof of this startling statistic. Many of these children entered the foster care system at traditionally “adoptable” ages when they were babies and toddlers but who have subsequently spent most of their childhoods being raised by a system instead of a family.
The Way Home Adoption utilizes non-traditional adoption recruitment strategies which are proven to be more than twice as effective in finding permanent homes for older youth who are so often overlooked. These three strategies are:
- Reconnection. Our team conducts a diligent search for biological relatives and any other adults who may have played a significant role in a child’s life. Approximately half of our adoptions have been with relatives or other adults who already exist in the child’s life.
- Community Recruitment. For youth who don’t have a potential adoptive adult already in their life, we turn to the community at large. The Way Home Adoption uses child-specific and targeted adoption recruitment. This means that we get to know youth first and then go out into the community looking for the specific type of home that fits the needs of that individual child.
- Enrich and Engage. Enrichment events provide our youth with new experiences, giving them opportunities to learn new skills, identify new interests, and to establish positive peer relationships. Folks from the community who are interested in opening their homes to an older youth can volunteer with us at these events. Helping to transport youth back and forth is just one of many ways volunteers can spend time with our kids in order to see if natural bonds occur.
For Devante, the chance to get to know community members at our Enrich and Engage events could mean the difference between aging out of foster care in five years or finding his forever family.
Devante is outgoing, honest, and fun-loving. He has so many endearing qualities it’s hard to decide which to mention. He will thrive in a single-parent or two-parent home, ideally without a sibling that is close in age. Devante will tell you himself that he has trouble controlling his anger and wants loving, firm parents who will help him learn new ways to cope with the feelings of loss and rejection that burden him.
If you are interested in opening your heart and home to Devante or a youth like him, please contact The Way Home Adoption and inquire about volunteering at our Enrich and Engage events.