ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy who went to a St. Petersburg church to plead for a family now has more than 10,000 people who want to adopt him.
Strangers from every state have expressed interest in adopting Davion Navar Henry Only, who was born in prison and raised in foster care. He lives in a group home with 12 other boys and has never had his own room or felt wanted.
When he heard his birth mother had died last spring, he decided to find someone to adopt him. So he went to St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and told his story from the pulpit.
"I know God hasn't given up on me," he told the congregation. "So I'm not giving up either."
The teen's story was published in a front-page story in the Tampa Bay Times and went viral on social media and was picked up on news sites and television shows around the globe. The boy's case manager, Connie Going, told the newspaper Sunday (http://bit.ly/19FFCbO ) the response has been overwhelming.
"I've never seen anything like this," Going said. "His simple plea just struck a chord with the world."
Going said every adoption offer is being followed through. Couples who have already passed adoption home studies are being considered first, and families without young children or who have experience with teens and traumatized kids will also receive priority.
Teens are often the most difficult to place. Davion said he's pleased his story has raised awareness about the struggle of other foster teens to find a home.
"I know what it's like to have nobody, with no light at the end of the tunnel, no one who wants you," Davion said. "I just keep saying, 'There's only one me. But all my friends, all the other guys at the group home, all these other kids need families too."
Adoption specialists hope to narrow the thousands of inquiries for Davion down to 100 or so, Going told the Tampa Bay Times. The 10 best options will be presented to the teen.
Davion said he is amazed that "so many people actually want me."