In just a few short months, a 17-year-old boy named Haven will age out of foster care and be forced to fend for himself. He’s now desperately seeking a family to call his own.
The teen living in Oklahoma City has been in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Humans Services since he was 12 years old. After living in a shelter for the past five years, he says that he is losing hope that a forever family will adopt him. With his upcoming 18th birthday in October 2019, time is now running out for Haven.
Haven says that life at the shelter feels limiting and frustrating.
He is currently staying there with four other children who are in similar situations.
Getting a driver’s license, he adds, would go a long way in making him feel more confident and independent.
And like many teens his age, he also loves video games (Minecraft in particular) and hanging out with friends.
But besides all these, Haven’s real passion is to one day join the military, as it would entail "being a part of something bigger than myself,” and allow him to “travel the world.” That option might become his main focus should he fail to find the family he is so desperately seeking. He's already got one foot in the door as a junior officer-in-training.
"I'm involved with Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, AKA JROTC," he explained.
Yet, this young teen still understands the importance of having loving parents who will serve as role models and be able to guide and support him as he takes his first strides toward adulthood. He seems to grasp what he's missing out on, perhaps better than some of us who have always had it.
"So you can have someone to help you, like be there for you if you need help,” he told KFOR. “Not just going into it all blind because that's how you get into drugs and bad stuff like that."
In his current, urgent situation, he adds that he’s not fussy about what kind of family he'd like, and at this point says he's looking for “anyone who will take me.”
"I don't really care. As long as it’s a family that will show love for me and be there for me," said Haven.
Arkansas couple adopts 7 siblings, and they say it's the 'best Christmas ever'Terri and Michael Hawthorn didn’t think they were ready to adopt a child, let alone seven. That all changed this year, however, and on Dec. 3, after a lengthy court battle, a judge finalized all seven smiling siblings’ adoption papers.
A few years ago, the couple, from Arkansas, decided to try fostering children in need of homes from the state’s foster care system, a decision that eventually turned into a much larger commitment.
“Our first words were, ‘Ok we’ll do it for a couple of years, but we will not adopt,’” said Terri Hawthorn, who, with Michael, was already a parent of one daughter, named Micah.
Eventually, though, the Hawthorns had a change of heart, and last April, they decided to adopt two children: sisters Korgen and Haizlee. Yet, this was hardly the end of their mission to give care to needy children; the two girls also had five other siblings who were still in foster care, and the Hawthorns were determined to bring them into their home, too.
Prior to their adoption, the seven brothers and sisters had gone through a lot, shuffling between different houses and schools for three years in the state system. According to their own words, they often went without food to eat or a bed to sleep in.
“The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” said one of the five siblings, Kyndal, who finally joined the Hawthorn household in December. “We didn’t have a can opener, and they’d give us the cans that we didn’t know how to open. So sometimes we just didn’t eat.”
But the process of adoption wasn’t all smooth sailing, as Terri and Michael fought for months before the court finally approved the papers. It turned into “the best Christmas” present the siblings could ask for, though, when at last they found that they had a home with two loving parents who would take care of them.
“When I got here I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we get our own beds,’” said Layna, one of the sisters who recently joined the Hawthorn family.
“This has been the best Christmas I could ever have, actually knowing I have a mom and dad,” added Kyndal.
Micah, who is older than her newly adopted brothers and sisters, took several memorable photographs of the big day, when they stood before the bench in the courthouse, and on the front porch of their new home.
“They are a blessing,” said Terri. “Every day these kids wake up, and they are giggling, and they are happy, and you see the smiles on their faces, that’s what makes this worth it.”
There’s no better story to show us how lucky we are to have our family members who love us—for not everyone is so lucky. What better time is there than the Holiday Season to share time with them and show appreciation toward those dear loved ones. This will most certainly be the case in the Hawthorn household this Christmas!