“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 that I could be.”

These were the words of Davion Only, the 15-year-old orphan who made headlines in October when he stood behind a pulpit of a Florida church and begged to be taken in by a good family. Thousands nationwide responded, offering to adopt him.

Only was born in a prison and has bounced from foster home to foster home throughout his entire life. He currently lives in a boys’ group home, but there is a good chance he will be with his “forever family” by Christmas.

It looks like Only’s story will have a happy ending. But his plea in the pulpit is an echo of the cries of thousands of other teen orphans in our nation who long for a home.

Bethany Christian Services, a Christian-based child welfare organization, reports that 26,000 teens “age out” of our nation’s foster care system each year. Of these, more than 50 percent will not graduate from high school, and nearly a third of them are expected to be homeless or incarcerated.

It is also projected that more than half of the girls who age out of the system will have children who become foster children, continuing the cycle.

“It is increasingly difficult for any child to find a family, the older that child gets,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission—and an advocate for adoption.

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