Dejuan's Success Story - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Dejuan's Success Story

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We've known 13-year-old Dejuan more than half his life. He was first featured on Adopt 8 at the age of six. Through the years, Dejuan was featured three times on Adopt 8, as he waited, and waited to find a family he could call his own you could see him getting sadder.

Now, we have a wonderful update on Dejuan, a teenager whose life has been transformed by his forever family.

Seeing such a big smile on the face of Dejuan, as he pushed his little sister on the swing was simply remarkable to me. Because this is what Dejuan looked like the last time I met him three years ago. Dejuan looked so sad and was not at all engaging, having nearly lost all hope he would find a forever family.

"They withdraw because everyone who they're supposed to rely on has let them down," said Bo.

Dejuan's mom and dad say when he first joined their family two years ago, he was extremely reserved.

"He was very shy and didn't say much, so it was hard to get to know him," continued April.

April and Bo, who have two biological children Allen and Becky, had already adopted Dejuan's biological sister Alyssa when she was just five-weeks-old.

"When we adopted her, we knew about Dejuan, but he was in a placement that didn't work out. His social worker got in touch with us and said, 'are you willing to make contact?' and we said, 'Sure, of course,' and no idea we'd end up adopting later," said April.

When they looked through Dejuan's case file, the photos of him told a story of their own.

"His smile was beautiful as a young child, but through the years he refused to smile. As he got older, he just lost it, and it broke our hearts to see it," Bo explained.

It broke our hearts as well, we first featured Dejuan on Adopt 8 in 2005. He was a playful six-year-old boy, who had a dazzling smile and enjoyed being a kid.

Two years later, Dejuan was noticeably more withdrawn, though he didn't mind talking about his favorite video games.

"I like Spiderman and Venom," he said.

By 2010, Dejuan didn't want to talk at all - angry and scared to trust, after the person who planned to adopt him had health issues and could no longer commit.

But soon after that, Bo and April stepped into his life and slowly, they broke down Dejuan's walls.

"He's been amazing, because he was this boy who wore the hoodie all the time and just wanted to fade away. And his ideal setting would be to be in his room, alone, and if he could disappear he would," said April. "Now, he is a greeter at church, and he's the one who prompted this to get his story out there."

"I really enjoy being with my parents. They're just really good to me. I don't think I could have anybody as nice as them," Dejuan said.

Dejuan wants prospective parents to know there is hope for foster kids who are lost and broken. He says he's living proof.

"To see his smile, he's just such an incredible young man, so blessed to have him as my son. It's been really amazing," said April.

If you're interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U. To meet other children in foster care and discover how you can help restore their hope, please click here.

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