EARLY YEARS: Campaign encourages more adoptions of teenagers in need of forever homes

AdoptUSKids featuring real- life stories of teens who were given forever homes
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 6:46 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -AdoptUSKids is hoping hearing stories like this one in a new public service ad campaign will reach the hearts of prospective adoptive parents.

“Regardless of our age, we are all deserving of stability, permanency and normalcy,” says Tawanna Brown.

Brown knows that firsthand.

She entered the foster care system when she was 12, after being removed from her home. Brown stayed in foster care for the next three and a half years, until a family member stepped in.

“So, my four siblings and I were adopted by our maternal grandmother. So, fortunately for us, were were able to stay together,” says Brown.

According to AdoptUSKids, there are more than 117,000 children and teens in the US foster care system waiting to be adopted.

But traditionally, teens have much lower adoption rates than younger kids.

”It actually breaks my heart to hear some of the misconceptions about teens and the fact that - a lot of people do believe that teens do not want to be adopted,” says Brown.

Brown says prospective adoptive parents might hesitate, wanting to experience all the firsts with children.

She says there are many more meaningful moments to share with older kids.

“Those are the years that really matter the most, when it comes to transitioning into adulthood. And if I wasn’t adopted, honestly, I don’t know where I would be today,” says Brown.

Where she is today is a proud student at Seton Hall University.

“I can sit here and tell you that I’m a trailblazing young adult, and I’ve been able to step into my purpose and really understand that I do belong in this world and that I was given a fighting chance through adoption,” says Brown.