ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — For most of his life, 16-year-old James has lived in foster care.
“Since I was a baby, I’ve been in and out of DHS,” James said.
He last went back into the state’s care about five years ago and it’s where he’s lived ever since. It’s been a lot of moving around for him from foster homes, to group homes, to different facilities.
The lack of stability due to all the back-and-forth between his biological home and foster care has caused James to struggle with his anger.
“I’m not perfect and nobody is. I feel like foster care is giving me the tools I need to get over those mistakes,” he said.
The mistakes James is referring to are his angry outbursts. While he still gets mad, he said he tries his best not to act out. Exercising has become an outlet for him when he’s feeling upset.
“He’s just really matured in his words and in his actions, just in being able to accept decisions that other people make for him,” said Brenna McClure, his adoption specialist with the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
While he has grown emotionally, the teen still has a childlike side to him. That was especially evident when he and McClure took on KNWA Anchor Chelsea Helms and Photojournalist Ethan Sam in a Nerf gun war.
James was very good at strategizing as he came up with a plan of attack. The look of excitement in his eyes as he exchanged Nerf fire was endearing.
“I’m definitely glad he has that side to him still because sometimes foster care can really harden up our kids,” McClure said.
In addition to Nerf gun battles, he also loves board games, specifically Magic: The Gathering, and playing football.
James is really interested in finding parents who will do the things he enjoys with him. “I want a kind family. I want someone to try new things with me,” he said.
Every year he remains in foster care, he’s a year closer to aging out without a family.
James said he wants to learn to cook and to drive both an automatic and standard car.
“He wants somebody to help him like learn the life skills like budgeting and like having like helping with the bank account and cooking and learning how to pay bills and taking him traveling,” McClure said.
“I want to be able to do all this stuff with a family instead of having to do it myself,” James said.
James is in the tenth grade and is on track to graduate high school an entire year early. His favorite subject is math, and he hopes to become an engineer one day.