17-year old searching for a family before he ages out of foster care

    4:53 PM, Oct 13, 2011   |    comments
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    • Tomas, meeting former NBA star Corliss Williamson
    • Tomas with his former foster mother & DHS case worker Betty Brewer
    • At UCA, getting a tour of the sports facilities
    • 17-year old Tomas
    • Corliss Williamson, Tomas, and THV's Dawn Scott
    • Tomas, meeting the UCA basketball players

    Adoption workers tell us one of the toughest things to watch is a foster child age out of the system, never to find a place to call home.

    But that's what could happen to 17-year old Tomas.  Yet, all those who know Tomas insist that whoever takes him home will be the one blessed.

    Tomas is a typical teenager, and he loves sports, especially basketball.  So we arranged for him to meet former NBA star Corliss Williamson, who now coaches the UCA basketball team.

    "Being a coach and player, I've had the opportunity to see plenty of kids from different backgrounds," says Williamson.  "You hate to see it when they don't have that steady environment, of parents at home."

    Yet that is a spot-on description of Tomas' life.  He has no parents, no home, no family to care for or love him.  In fact, he never really knows where he'll be next.

    "Foster families," he says.  "Facilities, anything they can find."

    Which is why this day, meeting Coach Williamson, for Tomas, is nothing short of a dream come true.

    He describes it as "sweet" and says "his workouts are pretty hard!"

    "Oh he loved it, he was so excited, this made his day," says DHS Adoption specialist Emily Burris.  She fears Tomas will age out of the system, as so many foster children do, never finding the forever family they so deserve.

    "They can choose to stay in care and go to college or some at 18 choose to leave the system," says Burris.  "Hopefully, that's not gonna happen to Tomas. Hopefully, we'll find him a good family that's gonna love him and support him and guide him."

    That's what Tomas wants too. And rather than focus on the past, this independent teen chooses to look forward, to a life he knows is good.

    "I want to be somebody who can help a lot of kids out," Tomas says.  "Because what I've been through in my life, it's just something I know how to do."

    "Tomas needs a two-parent family that's just gonna give him love and guidance and support," says Burris. 

    "It was a great opportunity to meet this young man," says Williamson.  "Hopefully share some happiness in his life. Seems to be a great kid and I wish him the best in the future."

    Special thanks to UCA's Athletic Department and Corliss Williamson for hosting Tomas. He had the time of his life!

    Click on the Arkansas Department of Human Services website if you'd like more information on Tomas or any of the children in state foster care.  There is also information on becoming a foster parent.

    There are no costs associated with adopting a child in Arkansas.

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