It’s not yet Christmas, but Seth Miller has already gotten his dream gift: a family. The 18-year-old teenager from Rockwall, Texas, had been in and out of foster care since the age of 7 and lived with five different foster homes over the years, according to Dallas's WFFA News 8.
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As a legal adult, Miller had aged out of the system and was on his own, living in his car. Thanks to donations and a volunteer, Virginia Barrett from Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children, he moved into an apartment of his own.
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Although many teens may envy a high school senior with his own pad, Miller would have traded it in for just one thing any day of the week: “One family," he told the local station. "Even if I had to live in a box
His hard-luck case was featured in a local story on WFAA. And here’s where things got interesting. It turns out Miller has a biological sister, adopted into a different family as a baby.
Her family knew about her brother, but had learned of his whereabouts only a few months before. After seeing the news story, the family met with Miller and not only invited him to live with them but decided to adopt him too.
"It's almost like a kid's first Christmas or a kid's first birthday,” he told WFAA. “You don't really know what to do. You don't really have the words to describe how joyful you are and how grateful you are for everything."
Another adoption case in Florida may also have a happy ending. Davion Only, a 15-year-old orphan, bravely stepped in front of churchgoers recently at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, and made a plea to be adopted.
"I'll take anyone," Davion said to the parishioners. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
News of the gut-wrenching request quickly went viral, and 10,000 queries about Davion poured into the agency working on connecting him with a family. “Without a doubt, Davion will have a family," his caseworker Connie Going confirmed on "The View
But not all kids in the foster system have such good results. “Those stories are just wonderful stories, but it is a really complicated thing to get the kind of outcomes we want for that many kids,” Michael Piraino, chief executive officer of the National CASA, tells Yahoo Shine. The organization is a volunteer advocacy network for foster kids.
Foster care can be a rough road. According to the organization Children’s Rights, some 26,000 foster kids age out of the system each year, often with no life skills, no job, and no high school diploma. A study cited by the organization notes that 31 percent of foster children are homeless.
“It is a human tragedy to see how life can be so difficult for kids,” Piraino adds, noting that around 600,000 children are currently in the foster care system.
He points out that there are ways to get involved. Foster parents adoptive families are needed as well as volunteers who wish to advocate for foster kids in the system.
“Individual care and attention is the only way you can possibly help a system to do the right thing for the kids,” he says, adding that these are “really meaningful ways to change these lives for the better.”
Just ask Seth Miller.