With his wide, electric smile and expressive brown eyes, DeaQuan will win your heart in an instant. He has a contagious zest for life and is an adorable, loving child with a cheery disposition. He is warm and affectionate and loves to be around people. He is bonded with his current foster family and loves to hold their hands and snuggle with them, but he is also comfortable with strangers and doesn’t seem to have much anxiety with unfamiliar people or places. DeaQuan is an on-the-move boy. He hops from activity to activity all day and can always find something interesting to captivate his attention. He loves to be outside and is especially fond of kickball, soccer, and anything that keeps him running, jumping, and climbing.
DeaQuan’s family came to the attention of DHS in July 2004 due to birth family issues of neglect, substance abuse, criminal activity, safety, domestic violence and medical neglect. (DeaQuan has abnormally formed feet as a result of an infection that did not receive prompt and adequate medical care). DeaQuan and his six siblings all eventually entered into care. Given DeaQuan’s unique behavioral and developmental needs (see below for details), he has always lived separately from his siblings who do not exhibit any of the same challenges. In 2008, subsequent to the termination of the parental rights, it was decided that his four oldest siblings could be placed together in an adoptive home without him. They now live in Ohio with their adoptive family, and all of their adoptions were finalized in 2009. The same decision to separate the siblings was just made with respect to DeaQuan’s two youngest siblings. His two younger siblings are now placed in an adoptive home in Oregon. DeaQuan has lived in a number of different foster placements since coming into care. He is currently doing well in a DD certified foster home where he is loved and well-cared for.
In March of 2012, DeaQuan was placed in an adoptive placement that disrupted after three months due to no fault of DeaQuan. DeaQuan did well in that home, was excited to be adopted, and was very disappointed and very sad when the placement disrupted. He has a lot of questions about why this happened, and he misses the other children in the home that he had to leave behind. DeaQuan is currently getting therapy to help him deal with the trauma of that placement disrupting.
DeaQuan has had numerous evaluations in his short life and has been consistently diagnosed with global developmental delays, which are the result of early childhood neglect, exposure to drugs in utero, and a hereditary genetic condition. He experiences challenges with learning and absorbing information, receptive and expressive communication, gross and fine motor skills, and social skills. In most ways, DeaQuan presents more like a 5 year old rather than his actual chronological age. DeaQuan needs some assistance and reminders with bathroom and hygiene tasks. DeaQuan can communicate and uses many words and sentences however his speech is hard to understand. DeaQuan will persist until he is understood. DeaQuan is very fearful of bugs and animals, and will frequently ask his caregiver to remove an insect from the room. His fear of animals extends to dogs and cats as well. His caregivers are working on helping him get over this fear. Historically, he has been prone to tantrums, and his tantrums were often loud, long, and destructive. DeaQuan will still sometimes be defiant to caregiver requests (particularly chores and homework), and has occasionally used curse words or thrown a small toy at his caregivers. However, DeaQuan can be redirected and motivated by his foster parents taking away privileges.
In the last several years, DeaQuan has participated in a number of individualized services and therapies. He is on a waitlist to attend physical, speech, and occupational therapy, all of which he needs. He attends individual counseling to help with his emotions, and to help process the trauma of disrupting from his previous adoptive home. He enjoys going to counseling. He takes three daily medications as part of his therapeutic intervention, and taking these medications has added to DeaQuan’s overall stabilization.
Additionally, DeaQuan attends a contained life-skills classroom. He attends full-time Monday through Friday. His teachers report that he is calm and easily redirect able nearly all the time and that he seems to be genuinely excited about learning. He is learning at his pace according to his individual abilities and needs, and it provides a normalizing environment for him because he rides the bus and attends school just like all of the other neighborhood kids but he spends his time with children who function at a similar or lower developmental level as himself.
The parenting style of his current foster parents works well for DeaQuan. He appears comfortable in the home and attached to the foster parents. They are physically affectionate and nurturing to DeaQuan. They frame everything they say to him in a calm, positive, encouraging light, but the rules and expectations in their home are very clear and firmly upheld. The routine in their home is predictable and rarely changing, and the rewards and consequences for behaviors are consistent but flexible.
In looking for an adoptive family for DeaQuan, DHS hopes to find parents with a similar parenting style to his current foster parents. DeaQuan did very well with similar aged siblings in his previous adoptive home. He would also do well with older siblings or younger siblings, but siblings who are close to his age or a few years younger would be ideal. DeaQuan is quite fearful of insects and animals, so he would do best in a home without pets. He will certainly demand a significant amount of patience, commitment, and energy, but he is also a charming, spirited boy whose individual personality needs to be cherished and celebrated. Very likely, he will require extensive therapeutic and special education services for the rest of his childhood and possibly into his adulthood as well. His adoptive family will need to work cooperatively with a team of varied professionals and will need to be proactive, creative, and perhaps occasionally tenacious in advocating for his needs. An adoptive family for DeaQuan needs to be prepared that it will take a very long time and a lot of work for DeaQuan to understand that he is not going to be moved to another home. Like any other child, DeaQuan deserves to belong to a family. His adoptive family will need to commit to caring for him even through the rough times, knowing that parenting is a long-term investment and another disrupted adoption would be catastrophic with respect to DeaQuan’s ability to trust adults and bond with them in the future.
As previously stated, DeaQuan has six biological brothers and sisters. Four of them live together in their adoptive home in Ohio, and the other two live in an adopted home in Oregon. DeaQuan does not have a close relationship with any of his siblings. Visits with his siblings have historically been sporadic, and it is unclear to what degree he even understands that his siblings are any different than any other child with whom he has played. Regardless, DHS wants to provide these children with an opportunity to know each other and have an on-going relationship. The agency will therefore be looking for adoptive families who understand the importance of maintaining some birth connections and are open to letters, phone calls, visits, etc. with his siblings, or possibly his mother and father at some point in the future.
DeaQuan may be eligible for an adoption subsidy.