It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to be a child growing up without a family. Sadly, this is a reality for too many.
According to the Adoption Network, there are more than 425,000 kids in the United States foster care system. Each year, about 135,000 children get adopted in our country.
17-year-old Haven from Oklahoma knows what it’s like to be part of this system. Since he was 12, he’s been in the Department of Human Services’ custody – and is currently residing in a shelter.
It’s a situation that’s understandably not ideal for Haven. In an interview with the news station KFOR, he explained:
“It gets old at times, just being there. Not being able to go out whenever I want.”
But besides his background, Haven’s just your typical teen who enjoys being with friends, playing Minecraft, and planning his future. Like many others, he dreams of joining the military once he turns 18, which will be in October of 2019.
His reason for wanting to enlist is to be, “part of something bigger than myself and to serve my country.” The teen’s even a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Another exciting aspect of the Army, for Haven, is that it would give him an opportunity to travel. In fact, he’d like to be able to travel around the world.
Turning 18 is a huge milestone for any person. After all, being considered an adult in the eyes of the law is a gamechanger. However, as we know, it doesn’t mean that you need any less love or guidance once you’re 18.
For Haven, it will mean he’s no longer under the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and it will also mean he can join the military. Yet, unless he’s adopted, he’ll be doing it without a support system by his side.
This is why if Haven could have one wish before he leaves, it would be to have a family adopt him.
Entering the world on your own is difficult to fathom, especially without people there to pick you up when you’re down. Haven told KFOR why it was important for him to have a family.
“So you can have someone to help you, like be there for you if you need help. Not just going into it all blind because that’s how you get into bad stuff.”
Out of the staggering number of kids in foster care, a great deal are teens. Many of which never have the chance to be adopted by families before they become “adults.”
According to Forever Family, here in America – approximately 24,000 of teens in foster care turn 18 each year.
There’s still hope that Haven will be adopted before the fall, but his chances are getting smaller. He really doesn’t even have many requirements for the type of family 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.”
Haven sounds like an incredible young man that is ready to serve our country. Hopefully, he finds his forever family soon – but undoubtedly, he will be making a difference in this world.
Watch the news story below to meet 17-year-old Haven for yourself.
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