Local Agency Promotes Teenage Adoption

Andrew Fowler

Updated Thu, Nov 29, 2012 12:57 pm

Fifteen-year-old C.J., whose last name has been omitted as a safety precaution, lives with a foster family on a Southeast Ohio farm. 

"He’s funny. He has a really dry sense of humor so sometimes it takes a second for me to realize that he’s making a joke then it’s like, oh, okay, where did that come from?" said Kelly Riley, an adoption care worker with Athens County Children Services.

As part of “National Adoption Month,” Athens County Children Services is placing a special emphasis on finding permanent homes for teenagers like C.J.

Riley said finding homes for teenagers is more difficult than placing younger children.

"[He's going to need] someone who can help him adjust to the fact that he's going to be an adult soon and get him ready for some independence," said Riley. "We'd like a family who's going to stick by him for longer than just his 18th birthday because he's going to need some additional help as an adult."

C.J. has special needs and takes medication to help him control his behaviors and mood. He has a seizure disorder, but has been seizure free for the past two years. 

As a yearly participant in the Special Olympics, he said he enjoys sports like basketball and football.

"I like gym, and I like art and music and then I like lunch," C.J. said.

While agencies nationwide are promoting adoption this month, Riley said the Athens County agency is always recruiting families to adopt their children.

"We have caseloads of kids as well as families that are wanting to adopt, but our families don’t always match the needs of our kids, so we do recruit outside of our agency," she said. "We recruit all over the state of Ohio."

As he waits for his forever home, C.J. said he spends a lot of time interacting with animals on his foster family's farm, hoping to gain experience for his long-term goal of becoming a veterinarian.

This is the first part of a monthly series focusing on adoption in Athens County.