Changing the journey: Ellie’s story

Posted on May 21, 2020

In May of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellie graduated from high school virtually surrounded by her loving family. But it wasn’t too long ago that Ellie’s journey looked quite different. Watch:

Born into a family in which she suffered years of abuse, Ellie missed three years of school before being placed in foster care as a teenager.

At age 19, Ellie was adopted through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program. Having the support and encouragement of a permanent family made a life-changing difference for Ellie. She became more focused on her classwork…more confident…more hopeful about her future. This spring, she was even honored as “Student of the Semester” at her school.

“When we met her, she didn’t think she would live past 18,” says Ellie’s mom, Shawn. “Now, we have a kid who is planning on college and wanting to go out and conquer the world.”

Even though she hasn’t decided yet what she wants to study in college, Ellie is passionate about making a difference in the lives of others. She could see herself as a lawyer, advocating for children in foster care…or maybe a teacher or a therapist. “She’s excited to figure it out,” says Shawn.


Ellie’s story has a happy ending. But more than 125,000 children are still waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States. You can help. Give now to find a loving, permanent family for every child.


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