Davion Only, a desperate 16-year-old orphan boy who made international headlines when he begged a congregation in Florida to adopt him last September has still not found a home, despite earlier media reports to the contrary.
"My name is Davion and I've been in foster care since I was born. ... I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either," said the defiantly optimistic teen in a Tampa Bay Times report at the St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Fla.
His story attracted thousands of offers from around the world from people wanting to help him, and a plethora of media interviews. He also became the face of adoption in the United States.
Six months later, however, Davion has still not yet found the adoptive parents he had so desperately begged for.
"Something doesn't seem right. I pray about it," said Davion's mentor, Richard Prince, 22, in a follow-up report in the Tampa Bay Times. "He's changed schools and foster homes, and he's not allowed to tell me certain things. People want to hear a happy ending, but it's not too clear what's going on."
Two weeks before Christmas, the MailOnline reported that the teen was finally getting closer to being matched up with adoptive parents.
Terri Durdaller, spokesperson of Eckerd, the foster agency that has been handling Davion's case for years, told the publication, "He has moved from his group home placement at Carlton Manor to a foster home where he is enjoying getting to know the family. Davion is excited to be spending the holidays with a perspective adoptive family."
But that wasn't true, according to Connie Going, the adoptions specialist who took Davion to church last year. "He just went to live in a foster home instead of the group home," Going said. "They put him in a home where they knew he wasn't going to be adopted."
After questions from the Times in January, Durdaller explained that the media had misunderstood the meaning of foster and adoptive parents.
"The foster and adoptive parents are two separate systems," she explained in an email on Jan. 9. "He is in a foster home, things are more stable there. Sometimes a foster parent will adopt. But he is meeting with different perspective adoptive families. We have 15 years of his life to catch a family up on. That takes time."
But adoption experts and some people who had offered to adopt the teen are shocked that Davion is still without a home after thousands had expressed an interest in adopting him.
Bob Rooks, who directs Explore Adoption, Florida's adoption referral center in Jacksonville, told the Times that it is usually not easy to place someone who is Davion's age into an adoptive family.
"Of all those 10,000 calls, probably only a small percentage already were qualified to adopt. And at his age, he has his own opinions. Maybe his needs were different from what those families wanted," said Rooks, who predicted last year that Davion's adoption process would've only taken a few months. "I don't know if I would have said six months, though. That seems a little long."
Dr. Gregory Keck, a psychologist who has spent 25 years working with foster and adopted children at the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, called Davion's wait "ridiculous."
"All those people who called already knew he was older, so that wouldn't have been an issue. The poor kid has got to be wondering, 'Why, out of all those people, does no one want me," he said.
Florida's Department of Children and Families says adopting a child from foster care normally takes between nine months and a year, according to the Times. Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo asserted that she knows "Eckerd is committed to finding Davion the forever family that is perfect for him."