I pose this question not to disrespect Davion Only’s family, but because it’s a legitimate concern: Why are Davion’s relatives coming forward now –after 15 years — to seek custody of Davion when he’s been living in foster care his entire life?
Davion, a 15-year-old orphan, became an instant national symbol for the foster care system after his emotional plea for adoption went viral.
“I’ll take anyone,” Davion said as he stood in the pulpit of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida on a recent Sunday morning. “Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
Eckerd Community Alternatives, the adoption agency handling Davion’s case, has received about 10,000 requests from people asking to adopt him. The requests have come from across the country and far corners of the world, including Mexico, Iran, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and India – and the traffic nearly crashed Eckerd’s website.
The timing of these 10,000 requests comes as Davion’s relatives have suddenly come forward to express their desire to adopt Davion.
I haven’t met Davion’s family and I don’t know all the details, but here are some undeniable facts:
Davion only discovered the identity of his mother earlier this year, weeks after she died from a heart attack. Davion’s mother, La Dwina ‘Big Dusty’ McCloud, was a crack addict who gave birth to Davion while she was in a drug rehabilitation facility, according to Mailonline.
McCloud got her nickname “Big Dusty” because she was 6 feet tall and weighed more than 260 pounds, Mailonline reported. She lost her legs and eyesight to diabetes and Davion also has the disease. Davion was also overweight but worked hard to lose 40 pounds.
Davion’s sister, Demetrius, said Davion’s mother was once “in a dark place” because of her addiction to crack. McCloud became a criminal and a repeat offender because of her serious crack addiction, according to Mailonline. She was arrested and convicted for crimes including robbery, theft, assault, battery and cocaine procession. She was sent to jail at least 15 times.
“Mama battled with drugs most of her life,” Demetrius told Mailonline. “Everything that went wrong for her was down to the drugs, it was an illness that she had to try to live with. Towards the end, she had turned things around and was trying to make amends, but by that point she was very sick with the diabetes.”
“The fact she couldn’t raise him doesn’t mean she didn’t love him,” Demetrius said. “She talked about him every single day. Her dying wish was that we would be able to get him back into our family, somehow.”
So now, Davion’s caseworker, Connie Going, will have to determine whether Davion’s family is a suitable fit for Davion.
Will Davion’s family provide the financial, emotional and spiritual support that Davion needs? Can they enforce a philosophy of healthy eating and nurture Davion into manhood? Will they support his academics and keep him intellectually grounded? Are there other families that can better care for Davion?
And does Davion even want to live with his newly-discovered relatives?
I don’t have all the answers, but I am simply asking reasonable questions.
What do you think?