- (Photo: Screen Grab via HLNTV)
Davion Only, a 15-year-old orphan boy who recently pleaded in front of a Florida church for a family to adopt him, has now had about 10,000 families from the United States and abroad seeking to adopt him, says the adoption agency handling his case.
The agency, Eckerd, has received about 5,000 requests by phone and 5,000 by email and most of them have asked to adopt Davion, the agency's chief quality officer, Ron Zychowski, told ABC News.
These inquiries, which have come from across the United States and other countries including Canada, India, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain and even Iran, have "overwhelmed" the agency, Zychowski said.
Davion's plea invited so much traffic that the agency's website nearly crashed, prompting it to move to a bigger server.
Thanks to his case, numerous inquiries are now willing to adopt other children as well, Zychowski added.
"We currently have more than 200 children just like Davion that are in need of a forever family," the agency said in a recent press release. "We would love to share additional information regarding these deserving children to include how to view a picture of them and read about their unique stories."
Davion has lived in foster care for his entire life as his mother was in jail when he was born. She died earlier this year. He currently resides at the Eckerd's Carlton Manor residential group home in St. Petersburg, Fla., with 12 other teenage boys.
Davion recently made a heartfelt plea at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church St. Petersburg. He reportedly stood up before the entire 300-plus member congregation and begged for a family to adopt him and give him a real home.
"I'll take anyone," Davion told the congregation. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be… I know God hasn't given up on me. So I'm not giving up either."
His plea to the church received national attention and support started pouring in on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
Davion says he wants people to know that it's hard to be a foster kid. "People sometimes don't know how hard it is and how much we try to do good," Davion told ABC News on Thursday. "It's not really cool not to have anybody. I'm pretty happy and excited that people are calling and asking to talk to me and possibly be my family."
The adoption process is expected to take up to six months as it involves background checks and court appearances.
Davion's case worker Connie Going said the teen has always longed for a family but didn't seek one earlier perhaps hoping that his biological mother would come back for him.
Davion was short-tempered and wouldn't care for people who tried to get close to him. Nor did he take interest in his grades in school. But after his mother passed away, his new circumstances forced him to change. "He decided he wanted to control his behavior and show everyone who he could be," said Going.
Davion has even lost 40 pounds.
He has said having a family "will make me have more courage and it will make me look brighter and feel better in general."