Finding families for older kids and young adults

- People looking to adopt a baby can spend years on the waiting list. But older children and young adults who need homes often get left behind.

"I'm with my family more time than I am with anybody else," Ryan O'Day. Family is something O'Day no longer takes for granted. He recently read "Etched in Sand," a story about abuse, homelessness and foster care on Long Island.

"Once I finished reading the book, I felt compelled to act upon it," he says.

The junior at North Shore High School is organizing a track and basketball fundraiser to help young adults find adoptive families. In New York, once you turn 21, you "age out": you no longer receive support from the state.

"My father passed away in 1999 of a massive heart attack and my mother just couldn't take on the stress of dealing with six kids," says Richard Lefebvre, who was placed in foster care when he was just 11. He decided to move out on his own at 19.

"I was scared. I didn't know what adoption meant or why I needed it," he says.

Now at 27, he is finalizing the papers to officially be adopted. He works for You Gotta Believe, a nonprofit organization that pairs teens with families before they age out. He is thankful he finally found his.

"Christmas, holidays, birthdays, just someone to speak to and enjoy life with," he says. "If I have kids, grandma and grandpa, just stuff like that."

Statistics show that by age 26, 30 percent of kids experience homelessness at some point in their lives. Ryan hopes awareness will change that.

"When you think about fundraising you think about other issues that people might see as bigger," Ryan says. "However that doesn't take away the fact that every kid deserves a family."

The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Anyone can show up to support the cause. You have to pay to play. All of the money goes directly to You Gotta Believe.

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