The banquet crowd could only lean forward and concentrate when softspoken Michael Oher talked in Houston Monday, but no one complained. He spoke of needing to "keep your head up" even if you're on the streets a long time. And that "there's tons of kids out there who just needed people to reach out to them."
Oher, the Baltimore Ravens professional football player whose story of adoption and redemption was told by book and most recently in the movie The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock, was at the Intercontinental Hotel (by the Galleria, not the airport!) with his mother Leigh Ann Tuohy and sister Collins Tuohy for a benefit luncheon.
The luncheon was a fund-raiser for the Arrow Child & Family Ministries which handles foster care and adoptions. The speaker list included Neil Bush, Michael Regan and Mark Tennant, Arrow's president and CEO, but the real draw clearly was the family whose members sat down onstage with Debra Duncan as moderator.
Leigh Ann Tuohy said a lot of people say something to her about the risks she took in bringing Oher into her home, and then adopting him. "We all take risks every day in life. Our passion, mine and Sean's (her husband) is inner-city African-American males. Everyone thinks they are unadoptable. These kids want a home."
"There is a huge need in this country for this group of children to find homes," she said, adding that she thinks "We spend way too much time in this country worrying about animals" when there are children with so many needs.
Collins Tuohy said she kept talking to friends at college about her brother Michael who was the same age and graduated high school the same year as she did. He came to visit her at her sorority once and when she introduced him to a friend, the friend drew her aside, saying, "I thought you two were twins."