GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- As FOX 17 continues helping foster youths in West Michigan find adoptive families, we’re introducing you to Tommy.
Tommy is an intelligent, extremely kind-hearted 15-year-old you may remember from our RiverTown Crossings shopping story, providing presents for foster youths in West Michigan.
“I’ve never stayed in a place for very long,” Tommy said.
At 15 years old, the amount of time Tommy has been in the foster system without a parent, a permanent home or the basic necessity of love is gut wrenching.
“Fifteen years, since I was a month old,” he said. “Nobody should have to go through what I’ve gone through but let alone for so long.”
Tommy came to our interview donning the shirt and tie he purchased with his Christmas gift card from RiverTown Crossings Mall, a dress outfit he wanted to use to impress a forever family.
“It would be something I’m looking forward to because I’ve never really had that and everywhere I’ve been I’ve tried to make the best of it, everywhere,” he said.
Through his 15 years in the system, Tommy has used his time selflessly working to start a nonprofit organization to ensure no other child has to endure the pain of being in the foster system for this long.
“My goal is to help kids in foster care that don’t have anywhere to go find a place to go,” he said. But in general kids with disabilities because it’s a lot harder to find a placement.”
Tommy loves to cook, direct plays, help people and play sports.
“My disability doesn’t stop me from doing anything,” he said. “When I say I’m going to do something I’m going to do it.”
And though many around him have given up hope, Tommy says he’ll keep a smile on his face because he knows his loving family is out there.
“They’ve given up all hope for everything right now. I haven’t and I’m really trying not to because I’ve been in for 15 years,” he said.
If you’re interested in adopting Tommy — or any other youth from the Michigan Foster System — call Orchards Children’s Services at 1-855-694-7301.
A special thanks to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum for welcoming FOX 17 for this Forever Home taping.