TALLAHASSEE — He spoke up for himself and received international attention.
On Tuesday, Davion Navar Henry Only took his story to Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet to speak on behalf of all Florida teenagers looking for their forever family.
"Even though I'm going through an adoption process right now at the moment, I still hope that other kids in foster care get the benefit that I'm going to have to be adopted and to have somewhere to call home and to have a bed to call theirs," he said, shaking off his nerves as he spoke to a packed meeting.
Davion, 15, has bounced from home to home his whole life. He shared his story at a St. Petersburg church a couple of months ago, hoping the right family would answer the call to adopt him. His story, first published in the Tampa Bay Times, went viral. It has been overwhelming for everyone involved, and Davion is not being allowed to do more interviews right now.
Meanwhile, his caseworkers have whittled the thousands of people who said they wanted to adopt Davion to a few that he now is in the process of meeting. They hope to have him matched with a family by Christmas.
Dressed in a black suit and navy button-down shirt, Davion talked about teenagers in foster care needing that extra push to "see the light at the end of the tunnel."
"I think, like, when someone comes and grabs that kid and brings them and welcomes them into their heart, they will feel better about their self and I think that they will be able to tolerate a lot of things," Davion said.
Zack Gibson, director of the governor's Office of Adoption and Child Protection, said more than 8,400 children have been adopted since Scott took office. The Department of Children and Families has focused on finding families for sibling groups, children with special needs and teenagers.
"We are extremely proud of these adoptions because each adoption represents a child," Gibson said, "a child who wants, needs and deserves a loving and permanent family."
After the speeches, Davion and handful of local families in the process of adopting kids were called up to the front to take a picture with Scott and the Cabinet. Davion was in the center, right next to the governor and holding the proclamation that recognizes this Saturday as National Adoption Day.
While photographers took dozens of shots, Davion and Scott whispered back and forth. Scott's office said the governor was curious about the adoption process and offered to help Davion if he needed it.
Contact Tia Mitchell at (850) 224-7263 or [email protected]