Adopted as an infant, Charlie realized in college that his dream career would be to help find permanent, loving families for other children in need. Today, he is living that dream as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® adoption recruiter in Washington. Through our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption supports the hiring of recruiters, like Charlie, who serve youth in foster care who are most often overlooked, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
Charlie shared his story to encourage people to step forward as foster and adoptive parents for the more than 120,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care across the United States.
What does adoption mean to you?
What do you want people to know about children in foster care?
I want everyone to know just how lovable children in foster care are. As people learn about a child’s history, it becomes easier to understand their current situation and future. Once that child is adopted, they finally have the chance to feel safe and loved by somebody who will not give up on them. It allows them to finally be a kid.
What makes the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program special?
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is special because the model is focused on the child. I get to build a relationship with a child where I am deeply invested in their well-being. We talk about their hopes and dreams. It’s not just about matching children to families; it’s about creating and strengthening connections that last a lifetime.
How has being a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter impacted you?
I’m more understanding and empathetic. And every day, I come home happy — knowing that I made a kid’s day or helped find or maintain a placement. I even struggle to take breaks to eat lunch, because I want to keep working for the benefit of these children.
What is the hardest thing about your role as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter?
The hardest thing about being a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter is learning about how difficult these kids’ lives have been up to this point. It also makes me sad to know that they have had to face such tragedy while they are still so young. But this is what makes me want to work harder to help find the right family for every child in my care.
What would you say to a family considering foster care adoption?
If you can offer love that is unconditional, compassionate and courageous enough to fight for what matters most, then opening your heart and your home to a child in foster care might be for you.
Seek out training, therapists and other resources for everyone in your current family structure and for your future child during the family’s transition. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption offers valuable resources to support your journey.
Finally, consider adopting an older youth in foster care. Nearly 90% of children served by the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program are over the age of eight.
You’re never too old to need the guidance and support of a permanent, loving family.
Donate now to help the Foundation ensure there are enough Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, like Charlie, to serve our nation’s most vulnerable youth in foster care.