Advocates for kids are trying to persuade more families to adopt teenagers. If teenagers in foster care don't find permanent families, they face a grim future. They "age out" of foster care, usually when they turn 18 years old, and many wind up on the streets. Every year, more than 24,000 American young people age out of foster care.

Download to the radio documentary or read the transcript.

Join the online discussion about teen adoption with Michelle Chalmers, head of The Homecoming Project.

Why Bother?
Adoption recruiter Jen Braun always cared about finding homes for teenagers, but now it's personal.

Statistics about Adoption and Foster Care
The numbers show that more foster children are getting adopted, but most of them are younger kids. Teenagers are still unlikely to find permanent homes.

How Much to Tell?
Producer Catherine Winter found that making Wanted: Parents raised some difficult questions about how much of a teenager's life belongs in a documentary.

Other documentaries from American RadioWorks:

Finding Home: Fifty Years of International Adoption

A Burden to be Well: Sisters and Brothers of the Mentally Ill

Links and Resources


When Tyondra Newton was 18, she walked out of her foster home and into a homeless shelter. "I felt like my life was over. I was nobody."

Kate and Gillian wanted to bring a child into their home who might not otherwise get to be part of a family. "Adoption is bringing someone into your life that you call your kid. And that claiming never goes away."

Chris and Amanda aren't sure they want to be adopted. "After your heart's been broken once or twice, it's pretty hard to want to go in a family a third time."

Michelle Chalmers looks for families willing to adopt teenagers. She knows how it feels to age out of foster care and have no family. "I know where the empty places are."

Most teenagers are ambivalent about being adopted. But Roger wanted parents, "someone to call mom or dad and go to them when I need help."