Justin playing at Walker Park

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — In March of 2020 at age 10, Justin was removed from his biological home and placed into Arkansas’ foster care system.

Over the course of a little more than a year, he lived with a couple of different foster families, before he ultimately ended up at Vantage Point Behavioral Health Hospital in Fayetteville.

“There was just a lot of anger, and a lot of frustration and he didn’t know how to cope with it because his whole life growing up, he was around that kind of environment,” said Evelyn Dilworth.

Dilworth is Justin’s adoption specialist with the Division of Children and Family Services.

The anger she referenced came from a childhood of physical abuse, according to Dilworth. At Vantage Point, Justin worked on his coping skills.

“He’s constantly working on himself, he constantly wants to do better, he listens to directions, he wants to help out, is very helpful. He’s just a really sweet, awesome kid who just needs a little extra help, a little understanding,” Dilworth said.

Now that Justin’s biological parents’ rights have been terminated and he’s officially eligible for adoption, Dilworth said he needs a family who’ll help him continue his progress.

“He’s going to still need some counseling, he’s going to probably need some speech therapy. He’s been in Vantage for the past 6 months so he’s pretty much missed out on his whole fifth grade year,” Dilworth continued, “a family who’s willing to put in that extra effort to help him get to those milestones that he’s just not been meeting that past little while.”

In talking with Justin, he said he’s looking forward to finding a family that’ll provide him with stability.

“The only thing I hate about [foster care], is I have to go to school after school, home after home and I’m tired of that,” Justin said.

The high-energy 11-year-old loves amusement parks and really would love a family with cats and dogs, but said it’s not a deal breaker if they don’t have any.

“If they didn’t have pets, I would be okay. I would find a way to entertain myself anyways,” Justin said.

For anyone interested in adopting Justin, he said, “I would be proud to call them mom and dad. I really would be proud to call them that.”