Missouri teen with autism hopes for a family outside of the foster system

Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All aboard! This month we took a special train ride with 17-year-old Julius. Trains are his absolute favorite thing. When he sees one, he gets a big smile on his face. Finding a family would keep that smile around for a lifetime.

We spent the day at the Kansas City Northern Miniature Railroad. The leaders of the non-profit are train enthusiasts. They purchase zoo trains, refurbish them, and run them seasonally around a track in the northern part of the city.

The volunteers welcomed Julius with open arms. He even got his own hat to be an engineer for the day.

“All aboard!” he exclaimed.

Julius has autism and has been living in foster care for six years. Macaylin Vanderpool has been looking out for him the whole time. 

  • Picture of Julius with Sherae on a train
  • Picture of Julius looking at a miniature railroad
  • Picture of Julius looking at a part of the train tracks
  • Picture of Julius waving from a train.

“My favorite part of watching him grow is actually watching him talk. When I first started he was completely mute and would not say a word to nobody, and when he started talking, I was just amazed,” Vanderpool said.

Julius will need specialized care his whole life, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a fun person to be around. He likes to joke and laugh. He has a naturally happy nature and enjoys meeting new people.

Having a family would change his life. He’s lived in a group home setting since he entered foster care and if he is not adopted it will most likely stay that way.

“He would truly love it. He talks about moving away all the time because he wants to have a family. Having the rotation of staff and having different people in his life is definitely hard. Having the same set of people would be amazing to watch him have,” Vanderpool said

A perfect day for Julius isn’t complete without a stop to QuickTrip for a snack. He got to say hello to the employees and pick out a couple of his favorite candy bars. Now, all he needs is someone to love him forever. 

“I’d say that he’d give back love, laughter, and you would never stop seeing trains and busses for the rest of your life. I would definitely say that, and he wouldn’t stop loving you,” Vanderpool said.

Julius is not the only child in foster care dealing with the same reality. Around one in three children in foster care have one. Having experience with disabilities would be ideal. but any family for them would be a blessing. 

  • Picture of Julius holding hands with Sherae
  • Picture of Julius with some of his favorite snacks
  • Picture of Julius smiling

A note from Sherae:

Thank you for sharing all of our kids’ stories. The more we see a story shared, the more calls come into Jackson County to help them. Sometimes we get no responses for a child, but sometimes we get hundreds. Even five families for one child is a big deal. So, please share Julius’ story — it could change his life.

Thank you for supporting Thursday’s Child because all kids deserve a family.

Want to adopt him?

If you’re interested in learning more about how to adopt Julius, please get in touch with Alicia Porter, the Adoption Coordinator for Jackson County at 816-889-2365.

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri?

  • Cornerstones of Care specializes in Standard and Career Foster Licenses at  1-855-SRV-KIDS (855-778-5437) or visit its website.
  • Crittenton Children’s Center (Saint Lukes) focuses on medical homes, homes that can accommodate sibling groups, and homes for older youth (age 12 and up).
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Virginia Fatseas at (816) 986-5209
  • Missouri Alliance offers elevated needs training (Level A & B) to our Resource Families.  They also train our foster parents in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) as well as SOS (Signs of Safety).
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Karie Scott-Roark email: KRoark@MA-CF.org.
  • Great Circle Behavioral Health for Children & Families does foster care licensing for prospective foster parents.
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Jaqueline Brown at (816) 255-1503 or Jacqueline.Brown@greatcircle.org

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Kansas?

Want to see more children who are looking for a family?

Want to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the metro?

According to CASA’s website, a court appointed special advocate make a life-changing different for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court.

Its volunteers help judges develop a fuller picture of each child’s life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.

Missouri

Kansas

Want to reach out to Sherae?

For business inquiries or questions that are unable to be answered through this article, you can reach out to Sherae Honeycutt, the host of Thursday’s Child, by email at sherae.honeycutt@fox4kc.com.

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