This is a story about a young boy who has spent the majority of his life in foster care. We introduced you to Justin almost three years ago on KLTV 7 News. Unfortunately, he's still waiting for someone to love him. We met up with him again, now that he's almost 11 years old.
Justin carefully steps onto a simulated earthquake at the Discovery Science Place in Tyler. It resembles his childhood, which has been shaky at best. He has spent most of the last six years in foster care, removed from his home because of abuse and neglect.
All of the changes in his young life have left him developmentally delayed. "He's been through different school changes and foster homes. So those delays just never caught up with where he was supposed to be," explains Callie Reneau, his caseworker with Buckner Children and Family Services.
But in the past four years, Justin started making progress. Through therapy and one-on-one attention, Justin is now in the 5th grade. He's doing well in school and says math is his favorite subject.
Despite his past, he's a friendly, affectionate young boy. "I'm a nice person," he says sincerely.
And, he's honest. "I get in trouble a bunch," he says. That trouble, which is improving, comes along with being a typical 10 year old boy. "Justin does so much better when he knows what to expect out of his day and his boundaries and limitations," says Callie.
He is creative and determined. He likes sports and playing outside and gets along well with other children. But what's most important to Justin is having a forever family. "Cause you need somebody who will love you. Like a mom and a dad and a brother and a sister." Justin goes on to say, "I want a mom and dad that loves me and cares for me."
Callie says, "He asks me every time I see him if we have found a family for him. It's hard to tell him that we haven't but, one day, I know I'll be able to tell him that we have finally found that special family."
That special family will need patience, a desire to see him succeed and, mostly, one that is willing to offer Justin the Gift of Love.
If you'd like to know more about Justin call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-kids-275.
Gillian Sheridan reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org