Devlin entered foster care when he was 8 years old. Although he was a pleasant, fun-loving kid, his age became an adoption challenge that would grow with the years. After six years in foster care, at age 14, Devlin was invited to try a new approach. Rather than passively waiting for a potential adoptive family to notice him, Devlin worked with the staff of the Children's Home Society of North Carolina to identify the kind of family he'd prefer to live with.
In the summer of 2007, Devlin was filmed in his own "Adoption Chronicle," an online video profile in which he talked about himself, his interests in graphic arts and video games, and the kind of family he hoped to join. He also helped create a personal profile book that recorded milestones in his life, personality traits, hopes and dreams. Like the video, the profile book featured a photograph of Devlin holding his favorite game.
As Devlin was creating his Adoption Chronicle and profile book, Joe and Jane Hood were finishing their adoption approval process. Eager to find a new son or daughter to love as their own, the Hoods signed up to attend a Children's Home Society picnic at a local lakeside park, where they met Devlin for the first time.
They were taken with the boy's ready smile and enthusiasm, and later asked his caseworker to share his profile book and Adoption Chronicle. Both Joe and Jane were video game aficionados. They were delighted to see that Devlin's favorite game was theirs as well.
The Hoods felt a strong connection to Devlin and, over several visits, bonded with him through a shared love of graphic arts and music. They began spending more time with Devlin through the Children's Home Society's visitation process. Although there have been bumps along the way, they now are close to formalizing their adoption. After six long years of waiting, Devlin's opportunity to play a stronger role in choosing his potential adoptive parents is paying off, and he is proud to have a family to call his own.
(The names and identifying details about the parties in this story have been changed to protect client confidentiality.)