The job of helping children find their forever homes is too big to be handled by government alone. State and local child welfare agencies do heroic work, but they are typically overwhelmed: Three in 10 of the nation’s caseworkers cycle out every year. These government agencies must rely on their local community to serve the children and families who come into contact with the child welfare agency.
One of the best sources of local support are “bridge organizations”—groups that organize local faith-based organizations, such as churches and non-profits, to create long-term relationships between caseworkers and local communities.
One of the easiest ways to support adoption and foster care efforts is to patronize businesses that support foster and adoption organizations. One company that has a long history of supporting these organizations is Wendy’s! For more than 25 years, Wendy’s and The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) have worked together to positively impact the lives of nearly 10,000 children who have been adopted into permanent and loving families as a result of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK). Wendy’s has two key initiatives throughout the months of November and December that support DTFA: the DTFA Beverage Program (available now-11/29), where customers can get a free any-size beverage with a purchase, and Coke & Dr Pepper will donate $5 to DTFA for every mobile offer redeemed; and Frosty Key Tags (available 11/28-12/31), where customers can buy $2 Tags that give them free Frosty treats for a year and support DTFA.
According to the governor’s office, there were 814 foster care adoptions in fiscal 2020, which is an all-time record for the state. That is up from the previous year’s record of 731 adoptions.
“I am so proud that Alabama has set yet another record and placed so many children in permanent homes,” Ivey said in a statement. “I am so appreciative for the innovative work of our adoption professionals and the Department of Human Resources, during this unique time, to complete this record number of adoptions. Also, I sincerely thank our foster families, and most importantly, the forever families, for giving these children loving homes and for your sacrifice and love for our children.”
It took some convincing — initially the agency was worried Carter was too young to adopt all five — but a little more than a year later, on October 30, Carter officially became their father on the family’s adoption day.
“When I was adopting my kids, I was thinking about them and me,” Carter said. “I’m never going to have to worry about whether they are homeless, or are they hungry.”
A local family, the Barbours, adopted 16-year old Korie Barbour. She was in more than 30 foster care placements before she found her forever home with them.
“I never would have thought that I would be a senior or that I would be getting my associate’s degree. Before I had a family I was just going to be living on the streets and end up dropping out of school. Like to me, that was just how it would end up being. Like now, I don’t have that problem so I’m really really thankful,” said Barbour.
The thing I love about her most is how resilient she is,” Katie Holstein told “Good Morning America.” “Even though she’s been in foster care for so long only to be disappointed, she took a chance on me and my family and let herself be loved again.”
“We want to provide support to those foster families who have opened their homes to adults and children within the system,” Ms. Nichols said. “So many foster families feel abandoned once they become licensed, and they either quit or choose not to renew. They deserve much better treatment.”
Each adoption story is different, and many start with fostering. In Oklahoma, 90% of children adopted through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services are children the family was fostering.
Separating a child from their birth family is traumatic, whether they come from a neglectful or abusive background or not. The older the child is, the more aware they are of what is happening. My son had to move across the country to live with a family he barely knew and adjust to an entirely different way of life. He was suddenly in a home with other kids, being parented by new people, and had to adjust to a new school all at once. Not to mention, he was fully aware of the fact that his mother was very ill and he may never get to be with her outside of a hospital again.
Statistics show that Elliott’s decision was an unusual one. Covid-19 saw roughly half of the UK’s private children’s homes refuse to take on new referrals; meanwhile, the number of children needing foster care rose 44%, yet the number of potential foster carers fell by half.
“Schools were closed and schools are often the best thing for a child in care because it lets them escape [home] abuse. So I said we have to take kids in,” explains Elliott.
“We couldn’t not take referrals just because of Covid. I’d rather catch Covid with children in my care than catch Covid at home alone.”