When foster children turn 18, they're essentially on their own - it's called "aging out" of the system. So the teenage years can be stressful for foster kids who are waiting to find a forever family, knowing they have limited time left.
That was the case for Roy until he met the local couple that would soon become his parents.
"I always know I'm going to have my parents there with me wherever I'm going. So that's, that's one thing that I really enjoy when I think about the future knowing that they'll be there, no matter what," said Roy.
Nineteen-year-old Roy *found his forever family, just in the nick of time.
He was 16 when he moved in with them, celebrated his 17th birthday in his new home and finalized his adoption before he turned 18. The big adoption day in court was a day Roy feared might never happen, while growing up in the foster care system.
"I entered when I was 11," Roy said. "I just kept going from foster home to foster home, and then I met them in 2009."
Roy says, before he met his mom and dad, he was worried he'd end up with no where to go, no one to count on, as soon as he turned 18.
"I was always scared about what would happen because basically people in the system would tell me, ‘Oh, when you turn 18, you age out ,you're done, they usually don't want anything more with you' and I was always scared of what would I do," continued Roy. "I'm supposed to go to college, how would I do that, I don't know."
Today, Roy is in college. He's a sophomore at UC Riverside and his mom and dad couldn't be prouder.
Roy was a junior in high school when he first moved in with Luis and Heather.
"I think the tough thing with a teenager, they move in, and if they're fabulous enough to be like Roy to be so resilient and work so hard to go to college, they move in and they move out and so we didn't get 17 18 years of him living with us, learning from us, and us learning from him and growing up with him," explained Heather. "So we really try to cherish that time we had with him before he went to college because he was already mature, and had his own beliefs, and morals and all that."
Heather, who works with foster kids, says she's always wanted to adopt.
"There's just so many kids out there that are so fabulous and need homes and so I kind of always just knew I wanted to do it," added Heather. "Finding a partner who was open to that was important."
Her husband Luis was on board too, but the age range they were initially considering, was much younger. Then, their social worker suggested they meet Roy.
"We were very nervous. There's a difference between adopting someone who's 10 or 11 versus someone who's 16," said Luis. "But after getting a chance to meet him, he's a pretty charming kid."
Roy told them he really wanted a family and that's what he now has.
Though the transition period was difficult at times, Roy was a perfect fit for these parents despite the puzzling looks they sometimes get.
"We were all out to dinner and the waiter came up and asked if we wanted separate checks," said Heather. "That's our favorite story. Yes, I'm old enough to have a 19 year old who doesn't want to turn 20."
And though Roy is still deciding what he wants to do, he's no longer scared.
"I still have no idea what is going to happen in the future, but I definitely have more of a set idea of who's going to be there so that definitely makes me a lot happier and confident to see what's going to happen," Roy explained.
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.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 4:08 PM EDT2013-05-22 20:08:18 GMT
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