Aaron Richardson didn’t answer at first when he received a Facebook message from a girl asking if he’d consider adopting her. But then he remembered meeting and getting to know the girl, Amari, about five years earlier while working at Catholic Charities.
While working as a guidance counselor, Aaron connected with Amari, who was about 10, and started mentoring the girl, who frequently talked to him and told him stories.
“She seemed to be this pretty bright young lady,” Aaron said.
Amari told Aaron he was like a father to her because he was the only one who listened. She asked that if he ever didn’t work for Catholic Charities if he’d consider adopting her. He said he’d consider it.
As time passed, Aaron forgot about the promise, but Amari didn’t.
“Somehow in some kind of a way, that young lady found me on Facebook,” Aaron said.
Aaron decided to adopt Amari. He worked with EVOLVE Adoption & Family Services, and despite some family challenges, he finalized the adoption on July 14, 2017.
“It was such a great thing, that I was able to find her again and that I wasn’t working in that capacity anymore, and she became my daughter,” Aaron said. “That’s all she ever wanted was to have a father figure. I was willing to give her that.”
Aaron urged people to consider adopting older children.
“Adopt older kids, because they need somebody too,” he said. “They absolutely need love. They absolutely need a parent. … You don’t know what they’ve been through or what they’re going through.”
But it’s not always easy. Aaron said he’s faced challenges, and Amari can sometimes struggle to stay focused in school. But he said adopting an older child is rewarding. He recommended families stay focused and keep their minds on what’s best for the child.
The adoption process also has its own challenges and can be a slow process, he said, but the payoff is when you walk into a courtroom to become a family.
“The reward is actually bringing the child home, and it’s all over,” he said.
But he was thrilled to have EVOLVE help him through the process, and he praised EVOLVE for advocating and teaching life skills.
“EVOLVE is special,” Aaron said. “They walked me through everything.”
Aaron is now considering adopting another young child through EVOLVE.
Aaron said it only takes one person to change everything for a child or children.
“I would tell anybody: Consider adoption, because all these kids want is to be loved, all they want is to have a home,” Aaron said.