A teen from Oklahoma has his sights set on joining the military once he becomes an adult later this year. But before he does, he has another wish: to find a family that will adopt him.
Haven, a 17-year-old from Oklahoma City, has been in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services since he was 12 years old and is living with four other children in a shelter, according to local TV station KFOR.
“It gets old at times,” the teen told KFOR. “Just being there. Not being able to go out whenever I want.”
Haven is eager to experience the world once he is able to and would like to travel. “The Army probably helps with that,” he said.
For Haven, enlisting in the military means being “a part of something bigger than myself.”
“[I want] to serve my country,” he said, adding that he is involved with the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC).
But he doesn’t want to go it alone. Before he turns 18 in October and ages out of the state adoption system, he’d like to find a family.
“So you can have someone to help you, like be there for you if you need help,” he told KFOR. “Not just going into it all blind, because that’s how you get into drugs and bad stuff like that.”
According to AdoptUSKids, nearly 20,000 children will age out of the foster care system when they reach the age of 18 or 21, depending on the state where they live. These young people will then be at increased odds of experiencing homelessness and becoming unemployed, the organization said.
There are approximately 400,000 children in foster care, with more than 100,000 of them waiting to be adopted.
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Haven said his heart was open when it comes to who would be willing to adopt him.
“Anyone who will take me,” he said. “I don’t really care. As long as it’s a family that will show love for me and be there for me.”