Skip to comments.An orphan goes to church and asks someone, anyone to adopt him
Posted on 10/16/2013 1:59:17 PM PDT by lone star annie
ST. PETERSBURG As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.
''Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."
In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.
Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one.
''Are you ready?" Going asked. Hanging his head, he followed her into the sanctuary.
This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his own sweaty hands.
Davion Navar Henry Only loves all of his names. He has memorized the meaning of each one: beloved, brown, ruler of the home, the one and only.
But he has never had a home or felt beloved. His name is the last thing his parents gave him.
He was born while his mom was in jail. He can't count all of the places he has lived.
In June, Davion sat at a library computer, unfolded his birth certificate and, for the first time, searched for his mother's name. Up came her mug shot: 6-foot-1, 270 pounds -- tall, big and dark, like him. Petty theft, cocaine.
Next he saw the obituary: La-Dwina Ilene "Big Dust" McCloud, 55, of Clearwater, died June 5, 2013. Just a few weeks before.
In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him.
Davion sat beside Going, his caseworker from Eckerd, and struggled to follow the sermon: something about a letter Paul wrote. "He was in prison," said the Rev. Brian Brown. "Awaiting an uncertain future ... "
Sometimes Davion felt like that, holed up at Eckerd's Carlton Manor residential group home with 12 teenage boys, all with problems. All those rules, cameras recording everything.
Davion wants to play football, but there's no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door.
More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.
''You may be in a dark place," said the preacher. "But look for the joyful moments when you can praise God."
Picking at his fingers, Davion wondered what to say. And whether anyone would hear him.
Davion always longed for a family. His caseworker took him to picnics, put his portrait in the Heart Gallery, an organization devoted to helping foster kids find permanent homes. But he had thrown chairs, blown his grades, pushed people away.
When he learned his birth mother was dead, everything changed. He had to let go of the hope that she would come get him. Abandon his anger. Now he didn't have anyone else to blame.
''He decided he wanted to control his behavior and show everyone who he could be," Going said.
So someone would want him.
''I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
All summer, he worked on swallowing his rage, dropping his defenses. He lost 40 pounds. So far in 10th grade, he has earned A's -- except in geometry.
''He's come a long way," said Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion's group home. "He's starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you've been rejected so many times."
Davion decided he couldn't wait for someone to find him. In three years, he'll be on his own.
''I know they're out there," he told his caseworker. Though he is shy, he said he wanted to talk at a church. "Maybe if someone hears my story ... "
The preacher spoke about orphans, how Jesus lifted them up. He described an epidemic, "alarming numbers of African-American children who need us."
Then he introduced Davion, who shuffled to the pulpit. Without looking up, Davion wiped his palms on his pants, cleared his throat, and said:
''My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born ... I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either."
(At publication time, two couples had asked about Davion, but no one had come forward to adopt him. If you want more information about Davion -- or any of the 120 foster children in Pinellas and Pasco counties who are waiting for families, call Eckerd at (866) 233-0790. If you can't adopt but want to donate time or money, call Eckerd at (727) 456-0600.
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Tissue alert. Any Florida Freepers who can help this fine young man?
My two adopted children have saved my life.
I recommend it to anyone.
I could only read half-way through. Heartbreaking.
Poor baby. Goddam Democratic policies that led to this situation.
Every day, I thank God that I was fortunate enough to grow up as a wanted child in an intact family with members who liked each other (mostly). I would guess that teen adoption is uncommon, with adoption of a 6ft 200lb male being even more rare. I hope to be wrong on that.
If you can’t be an adoptive parent, then consider giving to One Simple Wish (http://www.onesimplewish.org/) Orphans post their wishes and generous people donate to make them happen. It feels really good.
Hope this young man knows the love and support of a family.
This is one of the reasons why one of my favorite movies is “ The Blind Side.”
Michael Orr and the Tougy’s live in my town
I’m adopted, my sister was, my parents both where.. I’m not in FL but send him up. We’ll give him a humble home.
he’s got the right foundation. I think we can build a great person.
>> He described an epidemic, “alarming numbers of African-American children who need us.”
Sad. But the Dimmocraps got what they wanted. When asked why he was pushing the “Great Society” program, that vile slimebag LBJ was reputed to have answered: “Because if we succeed is passing it, we’ll have them ni—ers voting Democrat for 100 years”. Evil, just plain evil.
Bless you, cable.
Wearing his only suit and with Bible in hand, Davion Only, 15, gets some last-minute help with his tie before walking into St. Mark Missionary Baptist church with Connie Going, his Eckerd case worker. (SHNS photo by Melissa Lyttle / Tampa Bay Times)
He'll make now that he has stopped blaming everyone else for his problems.
Or consider mentoring a teen in foster care/group home. I mentor a teen in care. Right now, I give her 60-90 minutes of my time once a week at the home. It’s positive, undivided attention for her.
Don't get me wrong, but I've become a sceptic of all charities and donations that claim go to the designees....There's always a group at the top who are cashing in on all these donations.
I just saw your reply on the Davion Only story. Thank you for what you do. I was orphaned just before my tenth birthday and was never lucky enough to get adopted - but people giving me time in the way you are doing for the kid you are mentoring gave me so much. It really does mean an awful lot and we don’t always know how much at the time.
Sure wish hubby and I were young enough to take this sweet young man. We are too old now to do justice for a child.
Wow, I hope you really mean that and he can be with your family!
Never too old, WVNan!
As long as there is breath!
Yep and to me, he became a living miracle having to live where the place he had to call home, a laundramat. It is a teaching lesson that often times, there is more than just incidents, rather there are “God incidents.”