Teen fears 'aging out' with no family

Teen fears 'aging out' with no family
Dale is 14 years old and fears aging out of foster care with no family.

ALLEN PARISH, LA (KPLC) - A heartbreaking plea from a teen in foster care: adopt him before he ages out of the system.

At 14 years old, Dale has lived in more places than most of us will ever see as adults.  He has been in 20+ homes and spent half of his life in foster care. That is why he is pleading for an adoption to happen soon.

"I was in first when I was four, then I went back home," he said. "Then I came back to foster care when I was eight or nine."

The past six years have been a series of new homes, new faces, new schools, but the same old growing fear that Dale will never be adopted.

"What's scary about that to you," I asked him.

"I have nowhere to go," he responded.

"Aging out" is the term used for teens in foster care when they turn 18 and no permanent home has been found.  Dale does not want to become a statistic.

"I want to get adopted," he said.

"Why is that important to you," I asked.

"I don't want to age out," he said.

Dale is in ninth grade and admits school has been one of his hardest challenges.

"School grades," he said.  "Last year I almost failed, because I moved around so much that I didn't catch up with my grades or my classes.  I couldn't keep up."

Dale knows a forever family would give him the stability he has never known, and Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services adoption specialist, Tiffany Gamble, says it will undoubtedly change the rest of his life.

"They'll have a family, someone they can go to when something happens in life, holidays, all those things," said Gamble.

Gamble says a two parent home would be best for Dale, where he could be raised by a mom and dad.  

Dale says he sees how quickly babies can be adopted, but teens like him should not be forgotten.

"We need love, too," he said.  "Everyone needs love."

Dale is legally freed for adoption through the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.  Before a child can be moved to an adoptive placement, you must be a certified home.  To get that process started or make an inquiry about Dale, call 337-491-2470.

Click here for more information on adoption through foster care.

The next orientation in the Lake Charles region to learn more about foster care and adoption is Monday, April 24 at 6:00 P.M. at 1919 Kirkman Street.

Copyright KPLC 2017.  All rights reserved.