Apr 21, 2017
by Kimberly Offutt, MSW, National Foster Care Adoption Director, Bethany Christian Services
Fifteen-year-old McLyne represented one of nearly 112,000 youth in foster care waiting for an adoptive family. Like many other teens in the foster care system, McLyne lived in the sterile environment of one residential facility after another, without the security a foster family could provide. Through no fault of her own, she could have been one of the 21,000 young adults who age out of foster care every year.
Enter Operation Forever Family
The Operation Forever Family (OFF) team believes every child deserves to have one person who is absolutely crazy about them! Children want families, and we believe every child is adoptable. Teens like McLyne want a family too, even though they may push us away. They are afraid to be disappointed, too afraid to hope. And yes, they hear the whispers:
“She’s too old.”
“He’s probably seen too much.”
“I wonder why she’s been in a facility?”
“Those kids are damaged goods.”
What if they hurt my real kids?”
Our “Been There Done That” recruiters have heard it all too, and they come alongside our OFF youth and breathe hope back into their situation. Having been in foster care themselves, they know what it's like to grow up as a product of “the system” without the support of a caring family. That's why they provide that to our kids.
Amber, a Been There Done That recruiter, introduced McLyne to a family that wanted to love her. Regardless of what her case file said (a file that detailed McLyne's every traumatic experience and behavior), this family believed they were capable of peeling away the hurt and replacing it with hope. They believed McLyne deserved a chance to experience the safety and security of a family, and they committed to give that to her.
Meet 17-year-old McLyne.
Gone are the insecurities, doubts, and worries about her future. No more closing herself off from the world. This girl is carefree, happy, and ready to launch into a bright future ahead.
She won’t be alone.
She has a family.
What a difference a family has made in McLyne's life.
“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” — Josh Shipp
- I Remember: Understanding teens in residential foster care
- We Believe: Finding families for teens in foster care
- An Alternative for Michigan Teens Aging Out of Foster Care
- Fostering Teens from Hard Places