This story is being featured as part of our “Yahoo Best Stories of 2015” series. It was originally published in April 2015.
A 16-year-old in foster care whose plea to be adopted went viral in 2013 has finally found a home. His adoption case worker, who has known him since he was 7, will become his adoptive mother this month.
In October 2013, Davion Only spoke in front of a church congregation in St. Petersburg, Florida, and made an appeal for adoption. He had recently learned that his biological mother, who’d been in jail since Only was born, had died. He’d spent years bouncing between foster homes. “My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born,” he said. “I know God hasn’t given up on me, so I’m not giving up either.”
In 2013, Davion Only made a plea at a local church for a family to adopt him. (Photo: Melissa Lyttle/Tampa Bay Times/Zuma Press)
The heartbreaking plea went viral, and Only’s foster agency received calls from more than 10,000 people, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Only ended up traveling to Ohio to live with a minister’s family. But after Only got into a physical fight with one of his older would-be siblings, the minister and his wife changed their minds.
Back in Florida, Only passed through four different temporary homes over the next year, until he called Connie Going, his adoption case worker, to make a special request.
Only had known Going for nearly ten years, and had asked every year if she would adopt him but she always hesitated. “I always believed there was a better family than us out there,” Going tells Yahoo Parenting. “He deserves so much in this world.”
Connie Going, who will adopt Davion Only later this month, has known him since he was 7. (Photo: Melissa Lyttle/Tampa Bay Times/Zuma Press)
But this past July, when Only called and asked again if she might adopt him, Going says something felt different. “In adoption there is a ‘claiming moment,’ when you know [someone is] your child. When he called me to ask, in that moment, I just knew,” she says. “When he asked me, my heart felt this ache and I just knew he was my son.”
So Going, 52, invited Only to start spending time with the rest of her family — her two daughters, Sydney, 21, and Carly, 17, and a son Taylor, 14, who she also adopted out of foster care. Eventually, after seeing how well the arrangement was working, Going, who is divorced, rented a bigger home, got a lawyer, and started adoption proceedings. Only moved in with her family in December.
Only will officially join Going’s family on April 22, when the adoption goes through. “Today, I am feeling blessed and honored by being chosen to be the parent to all my children,” she says. “I work every day on being the best parent I can to them, to be patient and creative so that I can meet all their needs.”
But it’s not always easy. Going told the Tampa Bay Times that the kids do fight, and that a family therapist meets with them as a group and individually, twice a week. “I’m okay with messy and difficult,“ Going told the paper. “You just have to have your armor on all the time, but it’s more than worth it. And every day things get a little bit better.”
A spokesperson for Eckerd, Only’s foster agency, told the Tampa Bay Times they were pleased with the new development. “We are truly thrilled that Davion has been united with his forever family.“
While Going is waiting for the newest addition to her family to become official in the eyes of the law, she says Only is already her child. “I want him to know he is unconditionally loved for who he is, the way he is,” she says. “The changes he chooses to make in his life, and the choices, are his to make. As a family we will be there through it all, the good and the bad for our lifetime. He is home.”
(Top photo: Melissa Lyttle/Tampa Bay Times/Zuma Press)
Yahoo Parenting has chosen this story, originally published on April 13, as an example of one of our best of 2015.