TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A 29-year-old man with cerebral palsy is looking for a family to adopt him after years in the foster care system and now group homes, saying he’s tired of people getting paid to care for him and wants a family to call his own.
Jorge Murphy was in the foster care system as a teenager until he aged out in his home state of New Jersey. He now lives in a group home and yearns for more.
“So for me, it’s time for me to get adopted and it’s time for me to get a chance to have what a real family feels like, because I’ve never experienced that before,” he said.
He hopes to find his family with the help of his “goddie” – his godmother, Connie Going.
Going has been an adoption advocate for over 30 years, seeing almost 2,000 adoptions through successfully. She is the CEO and co-founder of The Adoption Advocacy Center, a non-profit agency that supports and educates adoptive families, waiting children and birth families. She’s also the owner of Going Adoption and Surrogacy.
Her own family is special. Going has a biological daughter and son, in addition to two adopted sons she helped when they were in the system, who ended up in her own family. Going helped work through both potential and failed adoptions for both of her sons, but she knew they belonged with her.
Through her national advocacy work, Going works with an organization called Parent Finder, a website with profiles of waiting adoptive families. That’s how she met Murphy.
Murphy went online to figure out how to be adopted as an adult, and Parent Finder connected him to Going here in the Tampa Bay area.
Going said she talked to him on the phone and realized he was a child who had “fallen through the cracks.” She formed a relationship with Murphy and he asked her to adopt him. With a full house and too much work on her hands to give him the proper time she knows he needs with his cerebral, Going agreed to become his godmother, or “goddie,” as he now calls her.
“He’s as independent as he can be. He goes to college, he has jobs. But he lives in a group home. A family to advocate for him that just loves him and has his best interests is all he wanted. And I thought, ‘oh, we can make this happen,'” Going said.
She made it her mission to find Murphy a family, coming up with a marketing plan with other adoption experts from across the country to find a family that is used to the challenges Murphy has.
The One Simple Wish organization, which grants wishes to children that are in foster care, agreed to fund a video about Jorge.
“I said, ‘better than that, let’s do a birthday,’ because he was turning 29 and he wanted a birthday party. He wanted two things,” Going said. “He wanted a birthday party and he wanted the chance to stay overnight in a hotel with me, as his godmother, because he’s not had that, just the normalcy of doing that.”
Going flew to New Jersey for the party, which was filmed for the One Simple Wish video. The video was published on Nov. 1 and Murphy is still waiting on a family.
“People need to see, because when you say someone wants to be adopted and they’re an adult and you show a picture, it’s nice, but when you see Jorge, in action… he’s so excitable. He’s so much fun,” Going said.
Murphy said with his dream family, it’s not about getting things – it’s about caring and loving.
“Yes, families have their ups and downs, but I want to get together with a family and have family reunions, stuff like that,” Murphy said. “I want to get to know what a real family looks like. It’s upsetting to me that I’ve been in a group home my whole entire life and these people [are] just getting paid to take care of me. And it’s not cool. I deserve better [than] that.”
Both Going and Murphy are confident the right family will be found.
“He just has the potential. He has so much love to give and really, I don’t want to see him sitting in group care without this family to fight for him and advocate for him and make sure all the things that are in place for him are there,” Going said.
According to iFoster, there are approximately 424,000 children in foster care nationwide, with 20,000 children aging out of the system annually.
Families interested in adopting Murphy should reach out to Going by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 727-501-2646.