NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s been about five years since 12-year-old Eric was removed from his birth home because of physical abuse.

“Some bruises are still on my body from years ago,” Eric said. “Makes me mad and sad just thinking about it.”

The abuse didn’t stop after he was removed from his birth parents. According to Eric, he’s experienced verbal abuse since he was placed in Arkansas’ foster care system.

“Some foster parents I lived with were racist and I did not like them so I had to move,” Eric said. “I didn’t like it at all. They made me cry.”

The foster parents, he said, would call him derogatory names.

“He’s had trauma being in the system, not just entering it, but foster homes he’s been in have caused more trauma on top of his already learned trauma,” said Makayla McCarthy, Eric’s adoption specialist with the Division of Children and Family Services.

This has led to him being relocated to new foster homes more than McCarthy said she would like.

His past has caused him to build up a tough exterior. Despite Eric’s quiet, soft-spoken nature, he has grown into quite the protector.

Eric said, “when someone messes with someone I love, I get very mad.”

A lot of anger has resulted from all that he’s experienced during the first seven years of his life and the last few years that he’s lived in the state’s care. Eric described his life as stressful. Especially since he hasn’t seen some of his siblings since he entered foster care.

“He said that the first thing he would say to a family is mention his anger issues. And that’s all he thinks about when it comes to himself. And he doesn’t see or understand that he’s much more than his anger issues,” McCarthy said.

These are issues he is working on. According to McCarthy, he goes to therapy weekly.

She said, “the fact that he’s working on them at such a young age, I think that he will grow out of a lot of that. And if he is in a less stressful environment that he’s not triggered as often, then I think that will completely go away.”

For Eric, finding a family that is as outgoing as he is would be ideal. He said he likes doing front and backflips, as well as playing football, basketball and soccer. He’d like to find parents with similar interests.

Eric said he wants to be adopted by, “people who’re kind and that are not racist and I want there to be some funny people like Kevin Hart.”

He doesn’t care about the race of a family that adopts him, he said, as long as they accept him for who he is. He would like a family, though, with a dog. He giggled as he said he wants a pug because “they’re silly.”

McCarthy said, “he’s so sweet and he’s loving, and he’s very deserving of a home. And I think that anybody who had him would love him.”

When asked what he’d say to a family considering adopting him, Eric said, “I would just be so happy and then I would just burst into tears, cause I’ve never had someone say that to me and I don’t know what it’s like being adopted.”

Eric’s eligible for adoption through DCFS. If you’re interested in learning more about him, visit Project Zero’s website.