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Angels in our Midst (FamiliesFirst Network)
A couple of months ago, Christina Leavenworth introduced us to Eli; a Foster Child who has been waiting for a family for a very long time.
Tonight, Eli makes an appeal on behalf of all of the children who are waiting, especially the older ones.
They're looking for angels to love them.
Peggy Custred, Adoptions Supervisor; "We're looking for families who are flexible, who are committed, who really believe that children deserve a second chance if they've had some problems. Folks who want to give a child a new life; a new start."
FamiliesFirst Network is especially looking for forever homes for children like 17 year old Eli. Older children; many who've been in the Foster Care system for years. Eli had to be removed from his home when he was five years old.
"Do you know how many different Foster homes you've been in?"
Eli; "no ma'am. A lot."
Eli just made the basketball team at Tate High School and he hopes he can play out the season there. He's already been in five different high schools. The constant moving is hard.
Eli; "You have to adjust to them but then it's not permanent so you're going to have to readjust. And then, it's just tough."
But like hundreds of other older children in Foster Care, Eli's toughest transition is just ahead. At age 18, he ages out of the system.
Eli; "When I turn 18, it feels like I'll be on my own and I don't want that. I want to have somebody to fall back on, just as extra support or help if I need it. Or just someone to come home to."
Peggy; "Somebody they can come home to for Thanksgiving, for Christmas. Somebody who's going to be there to give them advice, to give them support. Our children need a family for a lifetime."
Peggy Custred, an adoptions supervisor with FamiliesFirst Network, works tirelessly to try to find families for *all of the waiting children. One of the first things she does is dispel the myths about what it takes to be an adoptive parent.
Peggy; "We have all kinds of children, so we need all kinds of families. We have single parents. We have folks who have parented before, some people who've never parented. We have older people. We have younger people."
There is no cost to adopt through FamiliesFirst. In fact, there are subsidies to help the families and the state of Florida provides college tuition for adopted children. As for the children, their "requirements" are pretty simple.
Eli; "Having people to accept me; definitely love me."
Peggy; "To see the children feeling like, I'm really gonna have a family that will love me and that's going to be there for me forever. And, I just, it's like a miracle."
So many are waiting for their miracle. The clock is running for Eli; almost to the day, he has just 11 months before he turns 18 and ages out alone.
Eli; "I've seen it when some of these kids turn 18, they struggle really bad and they have nobody to help them.
I just want for somebody to open up their heart and their homes maybe to help these people out."
Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.