“It’s like losing hope and then regaining,” Parents, child talk about the adoption process with OKDHS

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OKLAHOMA CITY - You may remember Andrew from November of 2016. He liked football, the outdoors and always kept a letter his mom sent him from prison. Now, more than a year later, we're meeting him again - this time, with his adoptive family.

Life is good for Andrew.

He just turned 16 and loves going on adventures with his new family, fathers Keith Rinearson and Kevin Creel. The couple is ready to welcome the child into their home.

"We scanned the whole nation for kids,” Rinearson said. "As soon as we became eligible to adopt, almost immediately, they threw Andrew at us."

The very first time they saw Andrew was during  a segment of 'A Place To Call Home' that aired in November 2016. That's when Andrew described a heartbreaking past.

"One people I was living said they wanted to adopt me but, the next thing you know, they said they couldn't," Andrew said in 2016.

The teen had been under DHS custody four years and was ready to find an adoptive home.

"I'm just at a shelter waiting, waiting for something good to happen,” Andrew said in 2016.

Rinearson saw something special in Andrew that day.

"How polite he was. The way he asked for the cookie was especially charming,” Rinearson said.

Then, last Fourth of July, Andrew met Rinearson and Creel for the first time. A new chapter opened for the three of them.

"It was amazing how, Fourth of July, we had him. That was his first visit but, from then on, I knew he was ours,” Creel said.

And, for Andrew, it’s a whole new world of opportunities and a dream come true.

"Very generous. Very open, too,” Andrew said. "It's like losing hope and then regaining. It's like a Star Wars movie."

In their time together, Rinearson and Creel have taken Andrew to Disney World. They've celebrated his birthday. All along the way, they're giving unconditional love.

"Anytime we'd come to a bump in the road, things would get way better,” Rinearson said.

"He realized we kept him,” Creel said.

"We're not giving up," Rinearson said.

"We had a deal at Disney World and he told me, the next day, he was surprised that we kept him,” Creel said.

Rinearson and Creel knew right away the kind and generous teen belonged in their family.

"We'd just be walking down the street, and somebody would be playing a horn and have their can out and he could not walk by without giving them something,” Creel said.

"Just to see someone wander around starving gives me the same feeling of that's where I was. I wandered around at night starving," Andrew said. "Other people's choices affected my life and, you know, I feel bad for that person whether they messed up or somebody messed up their life."

Now, at 16, Andrew is glad he doesn't have to worry about having that kind of life anymore.

On December 19, Rinearson and Creel officially adopted Andrew, giving him renewed hope and a love he wasn't sure he'd ever find with a family.

"The day we adopted him, he was so happy and so giddy. I wasn't expecting that,” Creel said.

"It's over. The wait's over," Andrew said.

For more information about adopting or fostering, visit okdhs.org or call 1-800-376-9729.

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