Florida teen finds 'forever'-ever home

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Davion Only tells the the congregation at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla. that "God hasn't given up" on him, in pleading for someone to adopt him. After his plea went viral, he was sent to Ohio to live with a family when that didn't work out, was returned to Florida where his longtime former caseworker finally gave him a "forever" home. | ABC News/SCREEN SHOT

TAMPA, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – In foster care since he was born, Davion Only did not hold back a few years ago when he got up in front of a church and pleaded for a '"forever home."

"I know God hasn't given up on me, so I'm not giving up either," the then 14-year-old told the congregation at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, in October 2013.

The Tampa Bay Times picked up the news story and it went viral -- around the world. More than 10,000 people contacted the foster care agency and the Florida Department of Children and Families lauded the part it played in raising awareness about foster teens needing homes.

The story would have ended there perhaps, however, if Connie Going, a caseworker Davion met when he was seven years old had not taken a personal interest. She navigated tough waters when family members he did not know said they wanted to meet him.

Still, six months passed until a minister's family from Ohio, with three other children, finally invited him home.

The arrangement did not last, however, and three months later Davion was back in Florida. And he was not talking either.

Until finally Connie, who had left DCF, called.

Davion Only and a friend in foster care. | ABC News/SCREEN SHOT

The question he had asked years before came out.

"Well, how do you feel about adopting me now?"

She readily agreed, much to the teen's surprise.

Life is busy at Davion's new home with a mom and three siblings -- Connie's two daughters and Davion's best friend (another foster child Connie previously adopted).

But not too busy for Davion to take time to reflect on the Bible he brought from the boys' home and the memory of being baptized in Ohio.

In 2014, Davion told ABC news it was tough being a foster child and learning that his birth mom died only weeks before he decided to look for her. He would not let her life define his, he told the news station.

"People sometimes don't know how hard it is and how much we try to do good," Davion said in the broadcast.

Going is upbeat but realistic about blending in one more child.

The kids do fight, she told the Tampa Bay Times. However, a family therapist meets with them as a group and individually, twice a week.

"I'm okay with messy and difficult," Going told the paper. "You just have to have your armor on all the time, but it's more than worth it. And every day things get a little bit better."

Only officially becomes Going's son on April 22, but she says he already is her child.

"I want him to know he is unconditionally loved for who he is, the way he is," she said. "The changes he chooses to make in his life, and the choices, are his to make. As a family we will be there through it all, the good and the bad for our lifetime. He is home."