The New Face of “Orphans”

The story of Davion Navar Henry Only walking into St. Petersburg’s St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and making a plea to the congregation for a forever home, has rocketed through the Internet, hitting blogs, bouncing through social media, and making National news. As touching as Davion’s story is, he is one child in need of a permanent, adoptive home. Thanks to Davion, he has given a face, voice and story to the hundreds of teens awaiting loving parents in Florida’s foster care system.

When couples think about adoption, they tend to dream of babies or toddlers; however, the┬ámajority of children without permanent homes do not fit in these categories. Many families enter the child welfare system and most successful address their needs exiting stronger and together. Other parents do not successful address their issues and cannot be safely reunited. These children may be adopted by relatives, while others are adopted by foster parents. The children that do not find homes with their caregivers are the children who continue to need stable, loving homes the most – they’re over nine years old, bi-racial or minority races, and have siblings. Commonly, the children have medical, behavioral, or mental challenges, requiring a great deal of patience, commitment and love. These are the children who need families. These are the children not thought of when adoption comes to mind. These are the children you could help.

It’s important for Florida families to consider opening their hearts and homes to the neglected, abused and abandoned children available for adoption. Through no fault of their own, these children have experienced tragic circumstances changing their futures forever. There are many teens who were removed from their parents years ago still seeking someone they can rely on. Compared to adopting younger children, adopting teens is a very different experience providing its own rewards and challenges. These children need an understanding adult willing to guide them through the many impending decisions which will shape their lives. They need someone who will celebrate successes and use failures as learning experiences.

Ocala must open its eyes to the new face of children awaiting adoption. Youth and Family Alternatives in partnership with Kids Central is the nonprofit charged with coordinating adoption services in Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Lake and Sumter Counties. The child welfare system may seem confusing, but it’s not. Local nonprofit lead agencies, like Kids Central, contract with agency providers to offer specialized services, like adoption. Visit or call 352-547-3750 to see how you can help. All of the children featured in the sidebar are available for adoption and can be seen on .