|Florida Orphan's Appeal Prompts 10,000 Inquiries|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27) and STEVE OSUNSAMI (@SteveOsunsami)||Oct 18, 2013, 10:25 AM|
The adoption agency handling the case of a Florida orphan whose church plea for a family to "love me until I die" has garnered national attention has received about 10,000 requests from people asking to adopt him.
Eckerd chief quality officer Ron Zychowski told ABC News the agency has been "overwhelmed in a good way."
So far, it's received about 5,000 requests by phone and 5,000 by email, most of them asking to adopt 15-year-old Davion Navar Henry Only.
Zychowski said several hundred of the inquiries have expressed openness to adopting other children.
The requests have poured in from across the country and around the world, including calls from Canada, India, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain and Iran.
Eckerd's website nearly crashed from all of the traffic it has had in the past few days and it has had to move to a bigger server. Eckerd has had people working around the clock to organize voicemails and phone calls into spreadsheets, which it plans to use to respond to and process every request.
An adoption for Davion would likely take from three to six months because the process involves meetings, background checks and court appearances.
The agency is telling people in the U.S. outside of Florida to contact their local foster care services because "there are Davions in every city in America."
Only, 15, has been in foster care his whole life, but has never had a family. On a recent Sunday, he stood in front of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla., and made a public plea for a family.
"I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."
The plea has garnered national attention that Davion hopes will help him finally find a family.
There has been an outpouring of support online for Davion, including on Facebook, Twitter and ABCNews.com.
"We live in NY, but my husband just called the agency. We are waiting for a call back from them," reader Denise Aponte Smith Kline wrote in the comments section of the ABCNews.com story. "We are foster parents and we have had 13 children come through our doors over the last 5-6 years. All of them so very special."
"We would be willing to adopt Davion if there isn't another family, locally in his county, who doesn't come forward," Kline wrote. "Trusting the Lord to work this all out in Davion's favor. No child should have to ever make a plea like that."
"Wow. I hope this kid finds a loving home," another reader wrote. "It breaks my heart that so many children grow up in foster care. And when people adopt, they want babies or toddlers, not older kids or teens. Those kids deserve just as much love! Davion, I wish you the absolute best in life!!!"
"If you can, reach out and get me and love me until I die," Davion told ABC News. "I'm praying and still hoping. I know God hasn't given up and I'm not either."
Davion wants a bed to call his own and to be able to participate in school sports and clubs without having to move all the time when he changes foster homes.
He hopes his story will raise awareness for all foster children.
"I just want people to know that it's hard to be a foster kid," he said. "People sometimes don't know how hard it is and how much we try to do good."
When asked what it would mean to finally have a family, Davion said, "It will make me have more courage and it will make me look brighter and feel better in general."
"It's not really cool not to have anybody," he said. "I'm pretty happy and excited that people are calling and asking to talk to me and possibly be my family."
For information concerning Davion Only, go online to www.eckerd.org or call 1-866-233-0790.