Child's dream for a home coming true

SOUTHWEST PHILADLEPHIA - September 29, 2009 RELATED LINK: The "Raise Me Up" website

Mikal Woods is an 8th grader who loves to cook, play soccer and socialize.

"Joke around. I love to talk and joke around."

Mikal doesn't joke about family. The 13-year-old was taken from his parents when he was 4-years-old. He is a foster child who's lived in 8 foster homes so far.

"It's good to get to know people. But it's tough, really tough. You have to pack and get ready to meet a new family, hope that they like you."

More than 31-thousand children in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware live in foster care. The average placement lasts 10 months to just over 2 years.

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Mikal has lived with the Allen's in Southwest Philadelphia for 4 years now.

"It's a blessing. It really is. It makes feel that someone really cares for you."

Being a foster child can be tough. Mikal's wrist was fractured in a fight he says started as they often do, with taunting about being a foster child.

"People bullying me, people hitting me around, slapping me around."

Support from his foster family, friends and volunteers help him combat feeling like an outsider. Little things make a big difference.

"I remember I felt so stressed out and was so mad and my Uncle Sam just came in and talked to me."

Recently, Mikal was lifted by news of a family that wants to adopt him.

"Cuz you know there's a person out there for you that really wants you and you know they mean it."

The Allen's are happy for Mikal, one of 2 dozen children they've fostered over 2 decades with a simple recipe for success.

"I think love. They usually come back and tell us how much they love us and how much we meant to them," said Anderson Allen.

If you can't take on being a foster parent, a little time mentoring can change a foster child's life.

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