Bring me home: A NewsWest9 special report

Bring me home: A NewsWest9 special report
Source: Jamie Pruitt
Source: Jamie Pruitt
Source: Jamie Pruitt

MIDLAND COUNTY, TX (KWES) - Jamie Pruitt made a decision that would change her families life, she decided to adopt.

"Hearing her story, we just couldn't say no, it felt like everything was right. Once we saw her picture, we just knew that she was our daughter," Jamie Pruitt said.

It was a perfect match for the Pruitt family who adopted Bre Hope Pruitt at 17, but other foster teens aren't so lucky.

Bre had been in the foster system since age five after being taken from her abusive biological family. Even after being put in foster care, the anguish didn't end there.

"I had went from foster home, to foster home, to foster home, to foster home," Bre Pruitt said.

Years had gone by and still no adoption. Like several teens in the foster system, she started to lose hope.

"No one really calls and says they want to adopt a 17-year-old," Bre said.

Jonathan Bell, a fostered youth at High Sky Children's Ranch said, "Being 17, we're only going to be there for a year, so it's like we're going to be there and then just leave."

We spoke with two teens, who chose not to have their faces shown, but wanted to tell their story.

Jonathan Bell recently went into foster care after tragedy struck his family. Both of his parents died and he had no family to take him in.

"My mom died early so I never really learned anything from her, and my dad, I never really learned anything about being a man from him," Bell said.

Tyesha Hemphill has been in foster care for four years. She said all she wants is a loving family.

"All I ask for is a good family, just as long as you're loving and treat us equal as you would treat your own kids," Hemphill said.

Today, thousands of teens still live in the foster system and yearn for a forever family.

Jaylynn Hogan with High Sky Children Ranch, said that getting teens adopted is one of their biggest challenges.

"Most families who want to adopt or foster come in and they want younger children typically under the age of eight, so it's very difficult to find homes for older kids, especially teenagers," Hogan said.

In fact, most teens age out of foster care. Data shows over 22,000 teens had not been reunited with their families or adopted as of 2014. The fear for many teens is if they are not adopted, what comes next? How do they survive in the adult world on their own?

"When we go home for vacations while we're in college like who are we going to go to?" said Hemphill.

"We don't have people to celebrate holidays with, like Christmas and Thanksgiving," said Bell.

According to, by age 26, 80 percent of foster teens earn a high school diploma or GED. Only four percent go on to earn a four year college degree. These statistics are surprising, as emancipated foster youth care have access to free education through financial aid that pays for living expenses, rent and tuition.

Both Tyesha and Jonathan plan on going to college, but the transition into adulthood would be so much easier with adoptive parents to help guide the way.

"It would be like 50 pounds dropping off of my chest," said Bell.

"Now that I'm getting adopted by my parents, I feel like there's nothing else that I would have wanted," Bre said.

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