When I was 15, I went on a life-changing trip to Peru to bring home my brother and sister that we were adopting. Even as a teenager, in that moment I knew that I would one day adopt. Now, as I raise my own 5 kids (who joined our family through birth and adoption), I am passionate about raising awareness about adoption.
After my husband and I had our first baby girl, we applied to adopt. Our agency was called Children’s Hope International, based in St Louis (you don’t need to live where your agency is based- you can find a local social worker to complete your homestudy). We began the arduous process of gathering paperwork and references, getting check-ups and doctor’s notes, attending hours of trainings, and further child-proofing our house.
During the long wait we actually got pregnant and had another baby girl, and began to look at the “Waiting Children.” Children who are not healthy infants usually have to wait longer to get adopted either because of their age, or because they have some degree of special needs. In October of 2007, we found our son on a “Waiting Children” list and fell in love with his sweet dimples and the description of his contagious smile and playful disposition. By March 2008 we were on a plane with our 3 year old daughter to China!
Toñito was a silly and playful boy, just as he was described, and fit perfectly into our family. He and Vivi became instant playmates and could communicate within days of meeting each other (isn’t it amazing how kids figure out a way?).
Several years went by, and we still felt like our family wasn’t complete. We applied through WACAP to adopt from Ethiopia and began the entire homestudy process again (each adoption requires the entire process to be complete). Only a month after turning in our paperwork, in March of 2010 our agency called and asked if we would look at the file of a little boy. I still remember that my husband was stuck in Europe because of the volcano in Iceland, and the phone lines were really busy! Of course we said yes and began to prepare for our trip.
In June 2010 we met him for the first time, a ball of energy who wanted nothing to do with us (we were compete strangers!). At that time we needed to have two visits to Ethiopia, so I travelled alone to bring him home in August. We were a family of 6, with 2 sets of “virtual twins:” our older two kids at 3 months apart, and our younger two, only 1 month apart!
We still didn’t feel like our family was complete, when one day we were talking to another family who was fostering a little boy. Did you know that there are more than 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption? Having only done international adoption, we were unfamiliar with adoption through foster care. My husband and I learned that the process was similar- with the homestudy and mountains of paperwork- and we applied to be foster parents.
Although we were open to children 0-5 years old (so we really expected a child who was around 5 since older children are harder to place), we got a call to place an 8 month old. He is so stinking cute and chubby, I WISH I could share his picture here… we have been fostering him for three and a half months and love him to pieces; if his parental rights are terminated we would love to adopt this little guy.
In 1990, Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s®, accepted President George H.W. Bush’s invitation to be the spokesperson for a national adoption awareness campaign. Just two years later, Dave established The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® as a non-profit public charity with one primary goal: to help every child in foster care find a loving, permanent family.
For 22 years, Wendy’s® has supported foster care adoption. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption® believes that we have a responsibility to be the voice of foster care adoption, so that every child finds a family. As founder Dave Thomas said, “These children are not someone else’s responsibility. They are our responsibility.” The DTFA exist to find homes for children who are waiting to be adopted from foster care in North America.
Obviously not everyone is able to become foster parents, but there are ways that anyone can help spread awareness and support kids in foster care.
- Offer to bring a meal to foster families, or collect needed supplies (diapers, formula, clothes). Kids often come in a moment’s notice and the first few days are chaotic as the family adjusts.
- Contact your local CPS (Child Protective Service) and ask if you can collect gifts/new stuffed animals/clothes for the foster kids, who might be spending the holidays away from their birth families.
- Spread the word about foster and adoption
- Visit your local Wendy’s® to purchase a Jr. Frosty™ Halloween Coupon Book* for $1 (ninety cents of every $1 coupon book sold between September 13 – October 31, 2014 will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®).
Thanks to Wendy’s® consumers and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®, 4,000+ children have found adoptive families. This year, Wendy’s® aims to give $10 million to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®!!
Has adoption touched your family? I would love to hear your story in the comments on on our facebook page. Spread the word!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.