Today's Devotions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Showcase:Dealing with Pride

  • Everlasting Love: U2 video +

    Everlasting Love by U2 The amazingly wonderful way that love from God opens up ones life and the power of Read More
  • The Weakness of My Motivations +

    What motivates me? Often it is pleasure—reading a good book, skiing, playing with the kids, sex, even work. I enjoy Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

davion 11684308 8colST. PETERSBURG — As soon as they pulled into the church lot, Davion changed his mind.

"Miss! Hey, Miss!" he called to his caseworker, who was driving. "I don't want to do this anymore."

In the back seat, he hugged the Bible someone had given him at the foster home. "You're going to be great," Connie Going said.

Outside St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, she straightened his tie. Like his too-big black suit, the white tie had been donated. It zipped up around the neck, which helped. No one had ever taught Davion, 15, how to tie one.

"Are you ready?" Going asked. Hanging his head, he followed her into the sanctuary.

This had been his idea. He'd heard something about God helping people who help themselves. So here he was, on a Sunday in September, surrounded by strangers, taking his future into his sweaty hands.

• • •

Davion Navar Henry Only loves all of his names. He has memorized the meaning of each one: beloved, brown, ruler of the home, the one and only.

But he has never had a home or felt beloved. His name is the last thing his parents gave him.

He was born while his mom was in jail. He can't count all of the places he has lived.

In June, Davion sat at a library computer, unfolded his birth certificate and, for the first time, searched for his mother's name. Up came her mug shot: 6-foot-1, 270 pounds — tall, big and dark, like him. Petty theft, cocaine.

Next he saw the obituary: La-Dwina Ilene "Big Dust" McCloud, 55, of Clearwater, died June 5, 2013. Just a few weeks before.

• • •

In church, Davion scanned the crowd. More than 300 people packed the pews. Men in bright suits, grandmoms in sequined hats, moms hugging toddlers on their laps. Everyone seemed to have a family except him.

Davion sat beside Going, his caseworker from Eckerd, and struggled to follow the sermon: something about a letter Paul wrote. "He was in prison," said the Rev. Brian Brown. "Awaiting an uncertain future . . ."

Sometimes Davion felt like that, holed up at Carlton Manor with 12 teenage boys, all with problems. All those rules, cameras recording everything.

Davion wants to play football, but there's no one to drive him to practice. He wants to use the bathroom without having to ask someone to unlock the door.

More than anything, he wants someone to tell him he matters. To understand when he begs to leave the light on.

"You may be in a dark place," said the preacher. "But look for the joyful moments when you can praise God."

Picking at his fingers, Davion wondered what to say. And whether anyone would hear him.

• • •

Davion always longed for a family. His caseworker took him to picnics, put his portrait in the Heart Gallery. But he had thrown chairs, blown his grades, pushed people away.

When he learned his birth mother was dead, everything changed. He had to let go of the hope that she would come get him. Abandon his anger. Now he didn't have anyone else to blame.

"He decided he wanted to control his behavior and show everyone who he could be," Going said.

So someone would want him.

"I'll take anyone," Davion said. "Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don't care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be."

All summer, he worked on swallowing his rage, dropping his defenses. He lost 40 pounds. So far in 10th grade, he has earned A's — except in geometry.

"He's come a long way," said Floyd Watkins, program manager at Davion's group home. "He's starting to put himself out there, which is hard when you've been rejected so many times."

Davion decided he couldn't wait for someone to find him. In three years, he'll be on his own.

"I know they're out there," he told his caseworker. Though he is shy, he said he wanted to talk at a church. "Maybe if someone hears my story . . ."

• • •

The preacher spoke about orphans, how Jesus lifted them up. He described an epidemic, "alarming numbers of African-American children who need us."

Then he introduced Davion, who shuffled to the pulpit. Without looking up, Davion wiped his palms on his pants, cleared his throat, and said:

"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."

Lane DeGregory can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (727) 893-8825.

How to help

At publication time, two couples had asked about Davion, but no one had come forward to adopt him.

If you want more information about Davion — or any of the 120 foster children in Pinellas and Pasco who are waiting for families — call Eckerd at (866) 233-0790. If you can't adopt but want to donate time or money, call Eckerd at (727) 456-0600. For information about children who are available for adoption in Hillsborough County, go to heartgallery

tampabay.org.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/amid-churchgoers-orphan-pleads-for-a-family/2145907

Reflections to Consider

  • 1

Publications

  • 1

Music

  • 1

Audio & Video

  • 1

Favorites

  • Canticle of the Turning by Gary Daigle, Rory Cooney & Theresa Donohoo +

    1. My soul cries out with a joyful shoutthat the God of my heart is great,And my spirit sings of Read More
  • Come Alive (Dry Bones) by Lauren Daigle +

    Through the eyes of men it seems Read More
  • First by Lauren Daigle +

    Before I bring my need Read More
  • 1

Hidden Blessings

  • Holy as God is Holy +

    As Eugene Peterson says, the book of Leviticus shows how God brings everything into his holy presence and transforms it Read More
  • Jeremiah: The Importance of Repentance +

    As Eugene Peterson has noted, Jeremiah is used by God to call the people of Israel to repentance. Read More
  • Balaam: What Happens When You Try To Strong-Arm God +

    In Numbers, the surrounding nations watch as God pours out blessing and good fortune over and over on the Israelites. Read More
  • Born of Water: A sign of our new creation in Christ +

    Baptism is like a wedding vow. Read More
  • 1