Editor's Note: Every week the Deseret News profiles a special-needs child available for adoption through the Rocky Mountain Adoption Exchange. An estimated 35,000 children are considered `special-needs' because they are an ethnic minority, disabled, older or hard to place because there are several siblings who need to be placed together. Anyone interested in a child can call the exchange at 359-7700.

Clayton is in many ways a typical athletic teenager. At 15, he is a very likable young man who is interestedin wrestling, football and other contact sports, as well as hiking and Scouting activities. He has always dreamed of joining the Air Force after high school.

Experiences of abuse and abandonment by his family have resulted in the need for intensive therapy and supervision in a residential treatment center. He has really turned things around. His hygiene and self-esteem have improved dramatically and he is learning to be a leader, rather than a follower.

All of his relationships are improving, though he still has little trust in adults. Clayton says he wants an adoptive family, but he keeps a "safe" emotional distance from others. However, he is very loyal to those who matter to him and never forgets someone who was nice to him or showed him special attention.

Clayton is in the ninth grade. He has learning disabilities and particular difficulty with language skills. A two-parent family or a a single father where Clayton would be the youngest or only child is being sought. Adoption subsidy may be available.