CINCINNATI -- For Andwele, Dylan, Devon and Dominic, Christmas isn’t about toys and presents but instead something far more meaningful and something they all share: a search for a family to love them.
Or as 10-year-old Dominic puts it: “I want a forever family for Christmas this year.”
Meet the three foster brothers
Dylan, the quietest of the trio, is the eldest and protector of the brothers. His sweetness is visible once you break through his shy nature.
The first thing this 13-year-old wanted to reinforce is that while he desperately wants to be adopted, it has to be along with his two brothers.
“They’re all I have right now,” he said.
Middle brother and aspiring baseball professional, Devon, said other than an adoptive family for Christmas, he’d really like to have some Pokémon cards.
“I want a forever family and I want to stay with my brothers and have a dad and a mom,” he said.
This 11-year-old is a book lover, especially of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and says his favorite subject in school is math.
When asked what he would say to a perspective adoptive family, Devon wasn’t shy.
“I would say, I’m an awesome kid. I like to play sports, I like to have fun with other kids and family and stuff like that.”
Bright eyed and chatty Dominic is the youngest of the clan and couldn’t keep a smile off his face.
His favorite thing to do? Sing Carrie Underwood songs. And you guessed it; he want’s to grow up to be a singer.
Dominic said his favorite subjects in school are reading and math. “I like (math) because I get to learn multiplication and stuff that I didn’t know before because my mom didn’t take me to school,” he said.
He was very vocal about wanting a forever family for Christmas, and didn’t even list anything else he wanted.
When asked why he wants to be adopted?
“Because I don’t want to be in foster care anymore, and I want to be with my brothers,” he said. “It’s hard and it’s sad because you barely get to see your (former) family.”
One thing is clear, these three brothers (who all jumped to politely open doors for strangers) want to have a family who loves them, and most importantly, they want to continue to stick together.
Andwele is quick to jump out of his chair and offer a firm handshake with a giant and gentle smile on his face.
He’s a lovable 10th grader that has waited patiently to be adopted.
“Being adopted is important,” he said. “So I can have somebody care for me and love me.”
He stressed how much he loves music and hopes to become better at playing guitar.
What does he want in an adoptive family?
“(A family) who treats me right, who’s a good family to me,” he said.
The tough facts: Why it’s so hard getting kids adopted
Moira Weir, Director of Job’s and Family Services in Cincinnati, puts it bluntly, “Our children (ready to be adopted) are older, and people tend to love infants.”
She said this is only one of the many reason’s it’s difficult to place foster children with adoptive families. It can be just as difficult on the side of the adoptee.
“A lot of the (foster) kids have experienced a lot of placements and disappointments and are apprehensive about being adopted,” Weir said. “They are afraid to be adopted.”
She said a lot of times the older foster children will have their clothes in their hands and say they don’t want to unpack because they don’t know how long they will be in this foster home or that foster home.
"(I think) the unknowns are the fear," Weir said. "When you get to know (the child) and see that child who is on the paper, that changes things in a personal manner."
What would Moira Weir say to potential adoptive parents?
“I know sometimes its scary for people bringing a child into your home that you may not know everything about,” Weir said. "You’re not only changing the life of a child but you’re changing the lives of many kids in the community. They will have safe homes and feel loved and secure and have positive outcomes.”
She said you often hear adoptive parents say that instead changing the child’s life, the child changes the parents' life for the better.
All types of people become foster and adoptive parents, Weir pointed out. People who have already raised kids who feel they have more to give and so many other types of people.
“Anyone who is willing to open their home and heart,” Weir said. “If you’re willing to open up, it’s a great experience.”
Andwele, Dylan, Devon and Dominic haven't asked for much, only the type of love shared between a parent and a child that so many of us are lucky to have experienced in our own lives.
"Every child just wants to be loved and feel safe," Weir said. "Every child wants to know that no matter what, someone will be there."