Thursday, April 21, 2011

“I Hate Moving Around”, Teen Wants Adoptive Family

In the card game of life, the dealer has given Corey more than his fair share of tough hands to play. When his mother died two years ago while he was 14, it was after her long struggle with self destructive behavior. His father had long disappeared from his life, and the State of Florida became the orphan's only parent.

His first foster care placement found him forced to clean house and do chores while the family’s biological teens did nothing. “So I went on runaway”, Corey says, and he’s bounced from one placement to another ever since. Temptations not resisted led to spending a year at a structured camp on the edge of the Everglades.

Teenager Corey describes his life in foster care and why he wants an adoptive home.
iPad friendly version.

Corey is the subject of the second multimedia audio slide show I’ve produced on commission for the Heart Gallery of Broward County, the traveling photographic portrait exhibit of children in foster care that long for permanent adoptive homes. Only one in ten teens are adopted from foster care, and multiple agencies will deploy the shows in recruitment and training seminars and on line hoping to improve those statistics.

Last October Corey finally moved to a Broward County home where his foster mom “Miss Michelle” and foster brother “Q”, as he calls them, are providing a loving environment that he says he’s thriving in. He’s attending school, has a girlfriend, is pulling his weight at home.

It may be the momentary clarity of a 16-year-old, but he says he wants to become a chef  and attend culinary school after graduating from high school in two years. He’s done with temptations, he says, and adds “some people try to get you into doing bad things, but you just have to show them you are a leader and not be a follower.”

All Corey says he needs now is a family to adopt him, before he ages out of the foster care system at age 18. When be becomes an adult he knows the State of Florida will support him if he stays in school, but he longs for that permanent family. One that can sustain him and give him love, which he can return unconditionally.

Last month two teen girls’ shared their thoughts about why they should be adopted, and the advantages over adopting a baby. See more stories featuring Miami multimedia photography that blend public-radio-style interviews with photojournalism.