‘Blind Side’ mom, nation, inspired by Florida teen’s plea for a family

Leigh Anne Tuohy-Davion Navar Henry Only
Leigh Anne Tuohy and Davion Navar Henry Only making his appeal.
Photo credit FoxNews.com

Leigh Anne Tuohy, the real-life mom portrayed by Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side,” said the Florida teen who went to a church in search of an adoptive family should be an inspiration to other orphans.

“No one is going to do it for you,” Tuohy told FoxNews.com. “You have to make it happen. Go out there and be determined to get a family.”

And Florida teen Davion Navar Henry Only did exactly that. He knew precisely what he needed and set out to find it when he showed up at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg in search of a family.

“I’ll take anyone,” he said, the Tampa Bay Times reported. “Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”

That first step — to simply ask — had to have been both scary and humbling. But Only soon discovered what others have known all along — that Americans are the most generous people in the world. You just have to give them a chance.

When word of Only’s plight got out, thousands responded, as Americans always do.

A 15-year-old kid sought a mom and a dad to give him love and direction, and soon found he could take his pick.

The circumstances were similar with “The Blind Side” mom Tuohy.

Author Michael Lewis wrote the story of the Tuohy family’s adoption of Michael Oher, who came from a broken family and went on to become a star left tackle at the University of Mississippi. In 2009, Lewis’ book, “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” was made into an inspirational motion picture starring Bullock and Tim McGraw, who played Tuohy’s supportive husband, Sean.

The Baltimore Ravens chose Oher as a first-round draft pick, and he later helped the team win the Super Bowl.

“We didn’t make Oher become the wonderful person that he did,” Tuohy said. “All we did was help him reach that point.”

That’s what families are for — to help loved ones reach their potential. And that’s why we all instinctively crave that relationship — that feeling of belonging.

The parallels between Oher and Only are unmistakable, according to Fox News:

Like Oher at the time, Only is a teenager, which is statistically beyond the prime adoption age. Only also has aspirations to play football.

Tuohy bounces around the country advocating for adoption agencies. Her cellphone has been bombarded with hundreds of messages about Only’s story seeking ways to adopt him.

The Oher and Only stories are also illustrative of the fallacy of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book, “It takes a Village,” in which she says it takes an entire community to properly raise a child.

Oher and Only had a community — they each needed something more and something real, as we all do. It takes a family.

“The key is not to give up,” Tuohy said. “You have to keep grinding and grinding in life. No one is going to hand you anything.”

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