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Local children also in need of loving families

The story of a 15 year old orphan in St. Petersburg asking for a family tugged at the hearts of many, but hundreds of local children are also in need.
Davion Only stood before a church congregation asking for someone to adopt him and give him a family.  His story went viral and more than 10,000  people called about adopting him. However, Davion's story is a common one. In our area at least  500 kids are being fostered.

16-year-old Eli Smith is not asking for a new playstation, a car, or even new clothes. All he wants is a family. He's one of hundreds of kids in Escambia County waiting to be adopted.  He's had a tough life. He's been in more foster homes than he can count. He was removed from his parents when he was five because it was unsafe environment. The past 11 years have been an emotional roller coaster for him as he's searched for a family. He said, "You never know when you are going to leave if you are going to stay or not."

Eli is now a Junior at Tate High School and he hopes to stay here. In the past 3 years, he's attended five different high schools. "It's tough going from school to school. And having to learn new people, living in a strangers home." said Eli.

He prays every night for a family. He says the hardest part is feeling unloved and that he doesn't belong to anybody. "I'm not picky. I just want somebody, that will love me and trust me and all that have a family."

There are hundreds of kids just like Eli. His case worker, Kate Peabody has 20 teenagers she's trying to get adopted. She said, "Kids want to belong somewhere, belong with somebody. In Eli's case, his other siblings were adopted and he wants his own family."

She says it's harder to get teenagers adopted because families usually want younger children. But Eli promises he will be the best kid. He loves basketball and football. He hopes to go to college and do social work, so he can help kids just like him. In the meantime, while he waits for his forever family, he will keep smiling to get through the pain. He said, "When you go through a lot, all you can do is smile."

If you are interested in adopting a child, you can contact Families First network at http://www.ebaptisthealthcare.org/FamiliesFirstNetwork/Adoption.aspx

Parents are given help. The adoption is free, they get a $400 dollar monthly subsidy per child, a 13-thousand dollar tax credit and adopted children receive free college tuition.