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After years in custody, Andrew experiences the joy of a forever family

February 5, 2015

Dawson, Tracy, Andrew and David

Dawson, Tracy, Andrew and David

Andrew’s father passed away when he was 9 years old. He was placed into state custody due to his mother’s drug abuse. After his older sister attempted to parent him, he was readmitted into custody at age 15.

Andrew spent two years with foster parents who were not willing to adopt him. Although Andrew seemed indifferent to their refusal, he hadn’t yet experienced the committed support of a forever family.

When Tracy and David came to Youth Villages to adopt their second child, they were looking for a son younger than their first. After seeing a photo of Andrew and reading part of his story during adoption orientation, they decided to take Andrew under their wing despite his older age.

“When Andrew met Tracy and David,” said Youth Villages Adoption Specialist Melinda Wilbanks, “he was so excited that they still wanted to adopt him even after hearing his story.”

Andrew was placed in Tracy and David’s home in April. It took only three months of fostering for them to sign an intent to adopt. In another three months, the adoption was finalized.

Youth Villages’ adoption staff thoroughly prepared Tracy and David for Andrew’s unique needs. Andrew’s Department of Children’s Services team joined the YV staff and Andrew’s loved ones at the adoption finalization celebration.

“This is truly a story of unconditional love and commitment,” Melinda said. “Not many people are open to adopting an older teen boy but Tracy and David were. They kept telling me that it is all for Andrew.”

Finally experiencing the joy of a forever family opened Andrew’s eyes. He flourished with the consistent support of Tracy and David. His grades have improved and he has taken on a part-time job. He has learned to save his money and organize his time.

“It is never too late to adopt a child,” Melinda said. “He will be 18 in February.”

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