Thursday’s Child: 13-year-old with autism dreams of a family to celebrate life with him

Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you've been watching FOX4 for decades, you may remember a segment from the 1980s and '90s called Thursday's Child.

We met with foster kids in the metro who wanted to find a family, and now we're bringing it back.

Each month, FOX4's Sherae Honeycutt will introduce to you to kids and teens in our community who are hoping to meet people they may one day call their parents.

In Jackson County there are dozens of kids and teens waiting to find a family.

This month we want to introduce you to a 13-year-old boy who may steal your heart. James has always wanted a family. It's something he's wanted for so long he can't tell you when he first started dreaming of his future family.

Photo courtesy Rebecca Lassiter Photography

James first came into foster care at two years old. He's never had a family that he knows or remembers.

The teen has autism and mentally functions at a second grade level. Never living in a traditional home hasn't stopped James of dreaming of the day he can have his own family -- and chihuahua if possible.

He said if a family wanted him, he would jump at the chance, and it would be incredibly special for him.

"I'd be happy to stay in a safe family," James said. "I want a brother and sister, and I want three brothers and one sister."

James is like most kids and doesn't let what he's missed out on get him down. He still gets excited about most things, especially holidays. This Halloween he's excited to dress up as Batman.

"Guess what I'm going to be for Halloween? Batman!" James said. "That's my favorite superhero. From DC!"

We got to do a lot of things during our time together. We went to Loose Park and walked around the pond. James loves to run and see nature. When asked if he likes ducks, he said they might bite.

Then we headed over to the River Market to get one of his favorite things -- ice cream!

Betty Rae's had more than one type of chocolate ice cream, and that's exactly what James wanted to hear. Between the chocolate and the chocolate brownie flavors, he said he liked both equally.

His childlike spirit makes the whole world around him exciting and fun. He hopes he can find parents that will love him unconditionally, but give him the structure he needs.

Photo courtesy Rebecca Lassiter Photography

James' care providers said he needs parents that can tell him no when they need to and ideally a family that has an understanding of caring for his high functioning level of autism.

"I want somebody to adopt me. I want to have a home," James said. "I do want to have a home, you know. I miss my own house."

James has lived in a group home since he was a toddler because of his special needs. If he were to be adopted by parents that could give him the care he needs, he would finally be part of a family unit.

He goes to a special school during the week and has therapy to work on his development. He can do many things on his own, but needs supervision. His favorite things to do are swim, play video games, watch sports and go to Walmart to look at new toys.

During our time in the River Market, James wanted to ride on the streetcar, which he found to be an exciting experience. He enjoyed pressing the buttons to cross the street, and always waited until it was safe to cross.

He wants a family that will have fun with him and enjoy the best parts of life no matter how small those moments are. Maybe you're the family that James has been dreaming of.

Thank you for supporting Thursday's Child because all children deserve a family.

Want to adopt James?

If you're interested in learning more about how to adopt these kids, or would like to contribute to their "One Small Wish," please get in touch with Megan Fisher, the Adoption Coordinator for Jackson County at 816-889-2144.

"One Small Wish"

Each month we grant "One Small Wish" to say thank you to the kids for opening up their hearts to us. For August, Worlds of Fun sent them tickets to enjoy a day at their park this fall.

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 their website.
  • Crittenton Children's Center (Saint Luke's) 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?

  • KVC Kansas can connect you with resources to become an adoptive or foster parent in Kansas.
    • To become an adoptive parent you can find more information by calling (888) 655-5500.
    • To become a foster parent you can sign up for a class or learn more through their website.

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.

Their 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.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.