A 15-year-old boy stood before a 300-strong congregation at a church and asked to speak.
“My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born … I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either,” he told St Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St Petersburg, Florida.
“I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
Davion was born when his mother was in jail and has spent his entire life in foster homes.
He had behavioural problems until in June he used his birth certificate for the first time to try and find his mother. He found his mother La-Dwina Ilene ‘Big Dust’ McCloud was a criminal, a petty thief and cocaine addict. She had died aged 55, on June 5 – just before he began his search to find her.
His mother’s death has had a profound effect on Davion. He has lost 18kgs and has studied hard in 10th grade, achieving ‘As’ in all subjects bar geometry.
His anger has been replaced with a belief that his adopted parents do exist and it was his idea to approach St Mark Missionary Baptist Church.
“I know they’re out there,” he told his caseworker. “Maybe if someone hears my story …”
Davion wants to play football, but there’s no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door, wrote Lane Degregory, of the Tampa Bay Times.
More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.
“He’s come a long way. He’s starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you’ve been rejected so many times,” said Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion’s group home, Carlton Manor, where he lives with 12 other teenage boys.
Two couples have made inquiries about Davion but he remains in the foster care system.