Forever Family: Teen running out of time to find his ‘Forever Family’

Forever Family edition for Nov. 21

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Right now, 140 children in the care of the Department of Social Services are eligible for adoption in South Carolina. Nearly 100 of them are between the age of 10 and 17, according to DSS.

They’re at risk of aging out of the system without finding their forever family.

Shawn, 17, is one of them. He’s been in foster care for 3 years and he’s legal free to adopt.

“I’m just trying to get out of foster care and DSS. So, basically any kind of family now, as long as they’re nice,” Shawn said.

He hopes to celebrate his 18th birthday with his forever family.

“Basically, I’m just looking, I’m just desperate for a family,” Shawn shared with WMBF News.

He said he’s looking for a mom and dad he can bring his friends home to meet. He also describes himself as being laid back.

“I’m a very chill person, relaxed, nice to people. I just like to help around with people, just, I like to make people smile,” Shawn explained.

Shawn is also a sports fan. When it comes to college football, he’s a Clemson Tiger fan. He also likes to cheer on the Chicago Bulls. He enjoys reading and playing video games.

Though soft-spoken, Shawn believes conquering his fears and exploring new things will help him transition into young adulthood. He also believes finding a family will help him find success in life.

Gov. Henry McMaster agrees. He declared November as National Adoption Month in hopes of raising awareness for children like Shawn.

The United States Department of Health & Human Services declared the theme of this year’s National Adoption Month as “Youth Voices: Why Family Matters” to emphasize the need to secure safe and stable family connections for older youth and teens.

“It’s a fact that fewer families adopt older youth, who linger in foster care and are most likely to age out of the system without the support and safety net they need. As an agency, we want to change that and help youth secure stable connections to become independent, productive adults. We all benefit when that happens,” DSS State Director Michael Leach said in a news release.

Once children turn 18, they can choose to leave DSS or sign themselves back into care. If they choose to sign themselves back in, they can participate in programs designed to help them transition into adulthood.

On Monday, South Carolina will celebrate the birth of 60 new families with Statewide Adoption Day.

Horry County is one of four counties set to participate as 80 children are officially welcomed into their forever families, something children like Shawn hope to find someday.

If you’re interested in learning more about foster care or adoption you can call the region’s Division of Adoption Services at (800) 763-6637.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.