Placed in foster care at age 8, Austin spent the next three years of his young life longing for the security and stability of a permanent home. He often felt undeserving, unworthy and not capable of accomplishing anything.
Fortunately, Austin’s journey changed with help from his Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® adoption recruiter, Chelsey of Utah. Because of the relationship that Chelsey built with Austin, she could see that Luis and Glenn would be the right family for him.
“Chelsey recognized our family’s strengths and affinity to Austin’s needs. She was really advocating for his best interests,” Luis reflects.
Through our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption supports the hiring of recruiters, like Chelsey, who are dedicated to finding forever families for children in foster care who are most often overlooked. These recruiters work with smaller caseloads of children — nearly 90% of whom are over the age of eight — to ensure every child receives the time, resources and support they deserve.
Luis and Glenn adopted Austin in 2019. They credit Chelsey with bringing their family together.
“Adopting Austin added a new layer of love to our life,” Glenn shares.
Luis and Glenn say that before Austin was adopted, he struggled in school. But with support and encouragement, Austin began to excel in the classroom, quickly advancing to read on grade level and earning two academic awards during his first year with his new family. He also has enjoyed trying new things, like playing soccer, joining the orchestra, taking dance classes and learning to speak Spanish.
Austin says adoption means he finally has a family who will help him along the way through life’s ups and downs.
“I’m happier,” he shares. “I have a family, I have friends, and I can be myself.”
Luis and Glenn shared their story to encourage others to consider adopting from foster care.
“If there is true love and understanding in your heart, go for it,” says Luis. “Adoption has shown us that we are capable of coming up with solutions and finding resources to unconditionally support our child.”
Austin’s story has a happy ending. But more than 20,000 young people age out of foster care in the United States every year without a forever family. Download our free, step-by-step guide to get started on your adoption journey.