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Youth Adopted at 17 After Long Search for Right Match

Denny was born cocaine dependent. He never knew his father. He and his brother were removed twice from his mother’s care before her rights were terminated when he was 3 years old.

As he grew, it became clear that Denny had significant challenges. Quiet and polite, Denny was extremely uncomfortable in social situations and connected with few friends and family members. His most stable relative was consistently in and out of jail. He and his brother were separated in care and had very little contact. When Denny entered school, he was identified as having a low IQ and placed in special education classes. At age 9, Denny was placed in a group home where he remained for eight years.

One Hope United (OHU) received Denny’s case when he was 13, and began recruiting a family for him because he wanted to be adopted. However, Denny had trouble connecting with adoptive families, and as an older child of minority status with special needs, it seemed that a family would never be found for Denny. His case manager did her best to prepare him for life on his own, but worried about his ability to do so with his challenges and lack of support system.

One day, OHU-Miami sent a home study to OHU-Orlando for a single man living in South Florida. He worked at a school, had experience in adopting and knew a lot about the services in his area. He had a passion for adopting children from the system and providing them with better opportunities for their lives. After speaking to him on the phone, the adoptions supervisor thought Denny and the gentleman might make a good match. OHU coordinated a series of visits between Denny and the potential adoptive parent.

In November 2010, at 17.5 years old, Denny was placed with his adoptive parent. On February 7, he was officially adopted. Although he still has challenges to overcome, Denny’s adoptive parent is committed to supporting him on his trek to independence. The best part of Denny’s journey, for the OHU Adoptions Team, is that he will not travel alone.