At just 8 years old, Brianna was placed in foster care, through no fault of her own, after experiencing years of abuse and neglect. The youngest of six children, Brianna was separated from her siblings, including her oldest sister, Amanda.
“When you go into foster care, you’re like, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. What’s going to happen to my siblings? Are we going to be together? Are we not going to be together?’ It was just a constant fear,” reflected Brianna.
For nine long years, Brianna waited for a permanent home, moving between multiple foster homes.
Fortunately, Brianna’s journey changed when she was referred to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program and met her recruiter, Colleen from Hope For Youth. Brianna was skeptical of Colleen at first, expecting her to be another person who was going to come into her life just to leave.
But Colleen didn’t leave. She was committed to finding the right family for Brianna.
During a summer camp, Brianna met a new friend and realized they had something in common: they both have a sister named Amanda. Brianna’s friend showed her a picture of her sister, jogging her memory. After they all met in person, Brianna discovered that Amanda was her sister, too.
“When I finally realized, I was extremely happy because I finally found my connection to find [Amanda] again,” shared Brianna.
Soon after, Colleen reached out to Barbara, who had adopted Amanda, to see if she might also be the right family for Brianna. Barbara works for social services and knows just what is at risk for youth who age out of foster care. Research shows that without the support of a permanent family, these young people are more likely to experience homelessness, unemployment and other negative outcomes.
After many visits and conversations to get to know each other, Barbara adopted Brianna in 2021 when she was 17 years old. Throughout the process, Colleen offered Brianna and the entire family the support and encouragement needed to make Brianna’s dream of adoption a reality.
“I think everybody needs some sort of stability. I mean, people need a place to belong. They need connections,” said Barbara.
Today, Brianna feels confident and excited about her future. She sees herself becoming a chef, traveling and learning different cultures. She can finally focus on school, work, family and friends.
“Now that I’m with my forever family, I’ve changed so much. I became more outgoing. I’ve started to become the person that I am and seeing how much growth I’ve done over the years is amazing,” shared Brianna. “I feel like I can be me.”
Brianna now has the foundation for a bright future, but the clock is ticking for youth in foster care who are still waiting for a safe, permanent home. They need our help before the clock runs out on their childhood. If you are interested in learning more about foster care adoption, download our free, step-by-step guide.