SOUTH POINT, Ohio (WOWK) – According to recent federal numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, children past the age of 14 are the least likely to be adopted, but one mother in Portsmouth took a chance on a teenager and she is still smiling about the joy it is bringing to her life.
NECCO in South Point serves more than 25 counties in Southern Ohio and placed more than 100 children in foster care last year, but when families look to adopt a foster child. . . they generally want a child between five to ten-years-old.
“Teens are generally stereotyped, and people are afraid to take a chance with teens. They think it is easier with little ones,” said Shawnta Hines, program director of NECCO in South Point.
Hines was thrilled when Portsmouth resident Monique Harmon decided not to only be a foster parent for a 17-year-old but to also adopt him.
“I can’t even express. . . you can probably see some tears in my eyes. This is an exciting moment because it is so hard for teens.”
Harmon said she wasn’t looking to foster or adopt a young child, but someone a little older who could build a relationship with her 15-year-old son.
“Torin (adoptive son) brought a lot of excitement and laughter, and he is very goofy and he has challenged my other son to get out of his comfort zone,” said Harmon.
Harmon, who is a single mother, also saw it as an opportunity to change a life.
“. . . if you can intervene at that time before they hit an adult clip, you can change and impact their lives,” said Harmon. “Take some of that stuff they have been through and that bitterness, and help them see a bright future.”
Torin, who now goes by the name Torin Hill-Harmon, said he had been in and out of about four foster homes before he met Harmon.
”She basically gave me a mother figure that I have not really had since I have been in foster care,” said Torin Hill-Harmon. “I figured I was going to come out of the facility and not have anyone and just be on my own at 18.”
Harmon said she wasn’t looking to adopt at the time she became a foster parent for Torin, but when he asked her to adopt him, she couldn’t help but say yes.
“On Mother’s Day we were in Huntington eating at a Hibachi place, and when we came home he texted me and asked me if I would adopt him. . . I said ‘you didn’t have to text me. Of course, I’ll adopt you’,” said Harmon.
Torin is now 18 years old and is going to Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, and Harmon said the happiest moment for her as his mother so far was watching him graduate high school.
“He just made me fall in love with him because he loved me,” said Harmon.
The Portsmouth mother said she became Torin’s foster parent a year ago, and officially became his adoptive mother this week. She is currently fostering two other 16-year-old teens, both boys.
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