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Blake’s anxiety fades when he realizes he’s found his forever home

February 16, 2015

Blake and Nicole

Blake and Nicole

Blake came into state custody in 2008 due to sexual and physical abuse, abandonment and neglect issues and a history of drug exposure.

He spent time at Youth Villages’ Boys Center for Intensive Residential Treatment when he disrupted from previous foster homes. His struggle with severe anxiety caused him to initially oppose any discussion of adoption.

Theresa and Wyatt began fostering Blake two years ago. His Youth Villages team worked patiently to stabilize his anxiety and behavior. With creative interventions, he has learned to cope with his anxiety and transition into a permanent home.

“Blake has always struggled with anxiety,” said Nicole Shepherd, Youth Villages foster care counselor. “But realizing that Theresa and Wyatt are never going to leave him caused his anxiety to fade more each day.”

With time and counsel invested in him by his foster parents and YV staff, Blake experienced a change of heart. He expressed the strong desire to be adopted and reflected that God had intended for his journey to lead him to this family.

“Blake told me that after 2,615 days in custody,” Nicole said, “he would go through it all again to be with this family.”

His family adopted another young boy from Youth Villages two years ago and felt that Blake made a perfect addition to their family.

“This home couldn’t have been more perfect for Blake if we would have designed it ourselves,” said Joli LaRoche, Youth Villages adoption specialist. “They want to make the lifetime commitment to him.”

Blake’s adoption was a joyful event celebrated on National Adoption Day. It was attended by his adoptive family, friends from church and his Youth Villages and Tennessee Department of Children’s Services teams. They celebrated with brunch and special appearances by Blake’s favorite Disney characters.

When the judge asked Blake if he were ready to be adopted into a permanent family, he answered, “I’ve been waiting my whole life.”

Blake told his counselor that he would like to be an inspirational speaker when he grows up. He wants to encourage others in the foster care system and let them know there is hope for finding a forever home.

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