Entering the foster care system at just one year of age, 21 year old Noel Anaya shares his story in an NPR news segment. From his judge mispronouncing his name and stating "Everyone pronounces it differently" to Noel sharing the story of he and his five siblings being shuffled between foster homes, group homes, shelters, and incarceration; the segment highlights the cracks in a system that is supposed to protect children who are vulnerable.  His time in foster care was spent wishing for a family to call his own. "I used to dream of it. Having a mom and dad, siblings to play with ... a dog. But when I hit 12, I realized that I was getting old. That adoption probably would never happen for me." Noel, now a junior in college, has officially aged out of the system and is on his own. While he is determined to succeed, the odds are against him. "I'm committed to getting my bachelor's, despite the odds being terrible. According to the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, only somewhere between 2 and 9 percent of former foster kids complete their college degree."

What we learn from his story is that too often, children in the foster system are overlooked and left without the option of a forever family. There is no reason for any child to stay in the foster system for 20 years just to age out on their own. Project Wait No Longer is dedicated to finding families who are passionate and willing to parent young people like Noel, who just want the chance to be a part of a stable, loving, forever family.

You can read the article in full and listen to the audio recording, here: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/11/508608745/after-20-years-young-man-leaves-foster-care-on-his-own-terms?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20170115&utm_campaign=bestofnpr&utm_term=nprnews. Photo credit to Brett Myers/Youth Radio 

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about older child adoption, contact PWNL Outreach Coordinator, Alex Williams at awilliams@barkerfoundation.org