Editors Note: The last name of the child in this story has been withheld due to confidentiality laws.

This holiday season, people are bustling around to get the perfect present for loved ones, but what if the perfect gift was a family. For one Orange County child, that’s all he’s ever wanted.

Brandon, a sophomore at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School, has spent many years in and out foster care with only one wish: to find a loving, supportive family.

For a lot of children in foster care, just the fact that they are in foster care means they came from somewhere chaotic, dangerous or possibly neglected. Some children enter in to foster care with a lot of emotional issues and those require counseling.

According to Brandon’s case manager Chad Teeler, even though Brandon has been through some tough times, he’s been able to rise above it and remain positive.

“I start thinking about everything people did to me and how I was treated and it gets me down,” said Brandon. “But then every now and then, I’ll shoot back up and be myself.”

“He’s a good kid, he’s not angry at the world,” Teeler said. “He just wants a forever home.”

“Brandon really wants to be adopted,” Teeler said. “This is something he’s wanted for a long time. Whenever we look at families that are willing to adopt him, we look at compatibility. We look at the types of families Brandon would be interested in. If a familiy is interested in adopting a kid his age, he’s going to have more “say so’s” as to who he is more comfortable with.”

“When I am looking for a family, I’m not going to discriminate,” Brandon said. “I really want somebody that’s going to accept me for who I am.”

“He’s this laid back, chill kind of guy,” Teeler said.”He’s hilarious. He’s very intelligent, very witty, and very outgoing. He makes friends very easily. He’s just a real guy. What you see is what you get with him.”

“I see myself as a funny, outgoing guy who likes to try new things,” Brandon said.

One of those new things he’d love to try would require a bit of traveling. “I’ve always loved animals,” Brandon said. “I would love to venture to Africa, Australia, places where there are lots of animals. I would do it anytime I get the chance.”

Brandon plans on getting a degree in animal biology because he wants to help all the animals, especially the endangered species.

“Brandon’s got a real soft heart. He wants to help them,” Teeler said.

It’s still a little early for him to have chosen which university he wants to attend, but he does know he wants his degree to stand out.

“I’m just ready to learn and get after it,”Brandon said. ” I want to get something on my degree that stands out. Like being at the top of my class.”

While Brandon’s life may have been a little chaotic by most people’s standards, he’s taken everything in stride.

“Brandon often describes himself as being a diverse person,” Teeler said. “I think if I were to describe him, it would be he’s very diverse, very well-rounded.”

Brandon is a very self-confident person as well. Even though he’s not active in school athletics, that doesn’t stop him from trying to do different sports on his own. He likes to swim, play basketball and also like archery. He is also a kid that cares about his appearance. “I like to dress up and look nice,” he said.

Kids like Brandon are a dime a dozen. He hasn’t let his past dictate his future. Even though he’s been in the media twice already to help find him a home, he still keeps searching for the right family.

“He’s wanted to be adopted for awhile,” Teeler said. “He’s not going to be a kid who we let fall between the cracks. We are trying to find a forever family for him. We know there’s one out there, they just haven’t seen him yet.”

For more information on adoption and foster care, please visit that Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website, www.dfps.state.tx.us.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers