CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - We first met Anthony a year and a half ago. He was hoping for a new family, a forever family. It didn't occur to him that he would join a family he already knew, a really big family.
His aunt, Christina Lockhart, lives in Nashville with her three children. She had already adopted his older siblings and was caring for another teen.
Lockhart thought Anthony was in a permanent situation, but when she learned Anthony needed her she opened her heart and home.
"I always told him I'm committed. Being committed to a child makes the difference," she said.
Her commitment led to adoption day, and Lockhart told the judge Anthony is doing really well with ups and downs like any child.
"But just like any child, he had his curve of learning understanding what I expect at school. He didn't know I was an involved parent," she said.
An involved and amazing parent. Case workers wish they had many more like Christina.
"She's a single parent. She's dedicated to all those children," said Tajuana Mitchell, case supervisor. "It's just been a joy. This is what social work is all about.
Because he's older than 14, Anthony had a say in it too.
"Whenever we have a joyous occasion like this, we love to be a part of it and celebrate along with everyone. It's a good day," said Judge Jeff Hollingsworth.
"It's nice. Like I'm being reborn to a new family or to a new life," said Anthony.
Many of you are probably wondering how on earth Christina Lockhart is able to be a parent to seven children as a single mom and hold down a job at Vanderbilt and do it so well.
"Next year I want to do every sport shot put or track," said Anthony.
13-year-old Anthony is a great kid. His enthusiasm is contagious.
"I'm doing pushups, sit ups, treadmill, bicycle and lifting weights. I bench 75 pounds," he said.
This rising 8th grader wants to help the younger students in his school by being a web leader.
"When I first came to the 6th grade, I was scared. And these 8th graders are going run me over. The web leaders came to me and said 'we're going to help you and support you through your middle school years.'"
So Anthony plans to be a web leader.
"I like helping people"
Anthony has some great adults in his life, coaches and teachers and his foster mom. But loving, permanent parents will help this youngster grow into the incredible adult he's capable of being.
"Kids my age don't ride the carousel. But I still like the carousel."
When he grows up, Anthony wants to be either an architectural engineer or in the NFL.
For more information about any adoptable child, call 634-7115 in Chattanooga. Or contact the Department of Children's Services in any Tennessee county.
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