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Two teenagers in foster care were adopted just before aging out of the system

Teenagers are less likely to be adopted, according to the Youth Villages adoption agency.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Braelynne and Raegan Coker entered the foster care system in 2017 at 16-years-old.

According to statistics, the chances of them finding a family were slim. 

For Braelynne, those statistics brought emotions. “I was nervous and anxious,” she said. 

But there was a couple ready to open their home. Jonathan and Shanna Coker always thought about adopting. 

As biological parents of an eight-year-old daughter, they wanted more grown-up kids. 

“You have to fix every meal for small children and so teenagers are far more independent,” Johnathan said.

For about three years, the couple did their research. 

Last year, the adoption agency Youth Villages connected them with Braelynne and Raegan. For three months, they got to know one another. 

“I would have to say that the visits were pretty interesting,” Regan said. 

Reagan says she's a little shy, but the Coker's bubbly personality broke her out of her shell. “I started to open up a little bit more after each visit and then realized that I want to be part of the family."

According to Youth Villages, teenagers are less likely to be adopted. 

Every year in Tennessee, around 1,000 teens age out of the foster care system. There are 8,000 kids in foster care in Tennessee. 

Jenna Bailey, at Youth Villages, says parents are less likely to want teens for several reasons. 

“I think people have this idea that teens are scary or harder, but they're communicative. And they're funny,” Bailey said. 

The two girls were adopted this year and they say they felt welcomed from the beginning. 

“Yeah, they don't judge. And they're very respectful of, like, backgrounds,” Braelynne said.

As a family, they like to have fun.  

“Like we're always cutting up and pulling pranks on each other and harassing each other,” Shanna said.