DENVER (CBS4) – As children get older in foster care, their chances of getting adopted decrease. Only 2-percent of adoptions in Colorado involved teens ages 16 – 20. But when that connection can be made, it’s transformative.

Jeff and Alex adopted Anthony when he was 14-years-old.

“In my mind it’s an achievement because I’ve been through some really messed up stuff and I eventually found an oasis in the desert,” Anthony told CBS4.

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Anthony lived in foster care since he was 5-years-old.

“I boarded myself up because I felt like it was the safest thing to do,” he explained.

“He had a wall around himself, which is understandable, but once we chipped that wall down there was a blossom, in it’s little bud still. And now that we have the wall down, we’re seeing the blossom,” said Alex, Anthony’s adoptive father.

(credit CBS)

Anthony has blossomed into trying new experiences. He’s learning archery. While he’s learning how to be a son, Alex and Jeff are learning how to be parents.

“I think, every day we learn something new. We learn something different. We learn to manage new things, manage different things. I just feel like I’m a regular parent now,” Alex said.

Becoming parents of a teenager who’s experienced trauma can be like jumping in to the parenting deep end.

“I think it was actually kind of easier to have teenagers because they’re able to communicate. They have their opinions. They’re already developing human beings,” Jeff said.

Together this family is gaining confidence, but for Anthony it all stated with the official adoption, the promise that Alex and Jeff will be there for him for the rest of his life.

“It’s changed a lot because now instead of saying that I’m a foster kid, I can say, ‘I’m a kid…I’m just a kid,'” Anthony said.

You can help kids like Anthony find their oasis, contact The Adoption Exchange by calling (303) 755-4756.

Libby Smith

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