Three years in foster care grow Cristen's desire to be adopted - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Three years in foster care grow Cristen's desire to be adopted

14-year-old Cristen has spent the past three years in foster care.  He is legally freed for adoption through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. (Source: KPLC) 14-year-old Cristen has spent the past three years in foster care. He is legally freed for adoption through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. (Source: KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Three years in foster care have only grown the desire of 14-year-old Cristen to be adopted.

He knows how to reach new heights, it is something Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services adoption worker, Katrina Evans, has seen first-hand through Cristen's years in foster care.

"I have seen him go from a shy child and he's grown into a fine, respectful, Christian young man," said Evans.

For the past three years, Cristen has lived with the Gallien family, who has accepted him not as a foster child, but as a member of their family.

"I feel welcomed at the home I'm in now because they treat me like I'm actually their son, like I'm family," said Cristen.  "All of their family that I've gone to, they treat me like I'm part of their family, too."

His foster father, Andrew Gallien, Jr., says that has come naturally.

"Treat him as a person.  Accept his personality and work with him, that's very important because that makes him feel at home, feel accepted, that makes them feel like they're loved," said Gallien.

As the years have passed, Cristen said the label of being a foster child does not sting as much, but it has not gone away.

"I've kind of gotten numb to it, because once you're in the system for more than three years you kind of get used to the fact that you're going to have to talk about it eventually," he said.

Evans knows the challenges of finding a match for a teen versus a young child in care.

"We are not going to give up," she said.  "We know there are lots of families who look for the little ones, the babies, but don't forget about our older children.  They still can contribute so much to a family."

That lifelong bond with parents - even siblings - is what Cristen longs for.  Family traditions, holidays in the coming years, and parents who can guide him as he grows into a young man.

"Even though I may be only in the home for a few years, it doesn't matter," said Cristen.  "As long as you take me into your home and treat me like I'm family."

Cristen is legally freed for adoption through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.  Click here to learn more about that process.

Adopting through the state requires certification and that process starts with orientation.  To sign up for the next orientation and to make an inquiry about Cristen, call 337-491-2470.

Here's a schedule of the upcoming orientations for the Lake Charles region at 1919 Kirkman Street in Lake Charles:

Monday, August 15 at 6:00 P.M. 
Tuesday, September 6 at 6:00 P.M.
Monday, September 26 at 6:00 P.M. 
Saturday, October 8 at 10:00 A.M.

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