Everyone understands that adoption is important. But unless you’ve met an adopted young person in your own community, it’s easy to overlook the world of difference that adoptive parents make every day in our backyard. So let’s meet Andrew, a local teen who has experienced the transformative power of a loving adoptive home.
Andrew had no idea how much his life would change in 2015. As the year began, times were tough for the then 14-year-old young man. He struggled with anger management and had poor grades. As a result, he was placed under heavy restrictions in the group home where he had lived for four years.
“I used to keep to myself,” he said. “It was hard for me to look up in school or when I was around others. I didn’t say much, but I was crying on the inside.”
In February 2015, Andrew embarked on a new journey when he entered Charmaine and Nick Schultz’s home as a foster child. He immediately felt that he fit in with the Schultzes and made an immediate turnaround in every aspect of his young life. And when Charmaine and Nick adopted him, Andrew was so happy that he announced it in every one of his classes at school. He was home at last.
“It feels good to be part of a family now. Having people around you who actually care—that’s most important to me,” he said. “Being part of this family has given me a much better attitude, and my grades are better.”
Before Andrew, Charmaine and Nick cared for other foster children, but they had no experience fostering teenagers and were hesitant about bringing a foster teen into the family. After learning more about the need for families for local teens and welcoming Andrew into their lives, they are now active advocates for teen adoption.
Hundreds of older children and teens in our community—especially those 9-15 years old—still need loving families. Andrew and his family urge people who are considering adoption to think about the many teens who, like him, deserve a nurturing home and a strong foundation for life.
“Those who want to adopt shouldn’t just go with the blond-haired, blue-eyed babies. Teens can contribute more to the family, and they can be easier to work with,” Andrew said. “Give a teen a chance.”
Please ask yourself if foster parenting or adoption is right for you. To learn more, please call Paula Mealy of Kids Central at (352) 387-3487 or visit KidsCentralFosterParents.org for further information. Kids Central is the nonprofit lead agency charged with caring for abused, neglected and abandoned children in Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties.
Kids Central, Inc. › 901 Industrial Drive, Ste. 200, Wildwood › (352) 387-3487 › KidsCentralFosterParents.org