At six years old, Zach was placed in foster care after he was found wandering alone in an alley. He spent the next five years moving back and forth between his family of origin and different foster homes.
“I felt alone in the world. I didn’t feel loved,” Zach shares. “I had no hope of being adopted, and every day felt like a lost cause.”
Fortunately, Zach’s journey changed when he met his Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® recruiter, Carol. She was dedicated to finding the right family for Zach.
Through our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption funds adoption recruiters, like Carol, who implement a model that is proven to be up to 3x more effective at finding forever families for children in foster care who are most often overlooked: teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
“All of the kids that are in foster care, the kids I work with, they just really need a family,” Carol says. “They need one person ― just one person ― to really give them the stability, the consistency…the love.”
Thankfully, Zach was adopted at age 11 with help from the Foundation’s caring community of supporters.
Surrounded by his loving family, Zach remembers special moments like celebrating his birthday, waking up early to open presents on Christmas morning and going to the beach on his first family vacation.
“I think we’ve given Zach a home, stability, someone that’s going to be there for him no matter what. He’s just such a caring human being, and I wonder all the time, where would Zach be if he didn’t have a family?” says Zach’s mom, Kim, with a tear in her eye.
Every day, more than 50 youth, like Zach, age out of foster care in the United States with no permanent family and no safety net. Sadly, Zach’s older brother was one of them.
“My brother aged out of the system and never finished high school,” Zach shared. “He doesn’t have anybody to look out for him and isn’t taking care of himself. He just doesn’t have the guidance that I have now.”
Now 19, Zach is thriving in college on a full scholarship. He is studying to become a teacher, just like his mom.
Will you share Zach’s story on social media? Together, we can give more children in foster care the foundation for a brighter future.