National Adoption Month

Teacher Gives Her 16-Year-Old Student A Forever Home

"I did not think the day would ever come ... "

November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, we will be bringing attention to the thousands of people in foster care awaiting forever homes, as well as those who provide and advocate for them. These stories emphasize the idea that families are bound together by the love they share, rather than their biological roots.  

There are nearly 428,000 kids in foster care in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many of the children in the foster care system bounce from one home to the next, waiting to be adopted by a loving family. But some may not realize they actually want a forever home until they find the right one.  

This was the case for Anthony Berry, 16, of Beaumont, TX. Few teenagers in the U.S. foster care system ever find adoptive families, so many of them try not to get their hopes up. Anthony had decided somewhere along the way that he didn't want to be adopted. But on November 17, he was officially adopted at a courthouse in Jefferson County. 

"I did not think the day would ever come because I didn't want to be adopted," Anthony said in an interview 12NewsNow. That all changed the day he met his new adoptive mom, Bennie Berry. "Then, I met my mom and I started talking to her and we just kind of clicked." 

Bennie first met Anthony when he joined her class last November. She's an English teacher at Pathways Learning Center in Beaumont, TX. 

"During a conversation I had with students about family, some of the kids made comments that I should take them home since a lot of them refer to me as a caregiver," Bennie told PEOPLE. "But Anthony turned to me and said I could take him home, for real. That's when he told me he was a foster kid and was up for adoption."

Bennie thought he was kidding at first, until he explained his situation. He'd been in the foster care system since he was 9 years old. Anthony did research on adoption in Texas and brought the information to Bennie, who contacted an agency to learn more about the process. 

A few months later, Anthony's foster mother had put in her 30 days notice to end his stay with her and, as a result, Anthony would've been placed in a group home, according to PEOPLE. The teen would live in the group home until he aged out at 18. Bennie didn't want that to happen, so she started the adoption process. Anthony moved in with her back in March and the adoption became official earlier this month. Bennie became a first-time mom and Anthony finally had a forever home. 

"Every kid deserves a chance," Bennie told PEOPLE "I'm learning how to be a real mom. It's been a wonderful experience, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's worth it."

Anthony hopes other kids who think they don't want to be adopted will reconsider and that perspective parents who have never thought about adoption will look into it. "Take into consideration that, [for every] someone that don't love you, there's always someone that will love you, so just give it a chance," he told 12NewsNow. 

(H/T: POPSUGAR

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