Building Bright Futures for Youth in Foster Care

Posted on August 22, 2023

As young people head back to school this fall, many are excited about the new friends they will make or subjects they will learn. But for the more than 108,000 children waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States, it may be hard to focus on school when they are worried they may have to move … again. 

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption believes that every child deserves the best possible opportunity for a bright future. To date, more than 14,000 children in the United States and Canada now have a loving family with help from the Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® program and our caring community of supporters.  

Young people like Maci, Dalton, Dawson and Brianna, who have grown so much with the support of a permanent family. Read more of their stories below: 

From left: Chris (dad), Maci and Gigi (mom)

Maci, adopted at 17

At 17 years old, Maci had all but given up hope of having a family. Thankfully, she was adopted by her teacher Gigi through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids just 51 days before her 18th birthday. 

“I didn’t think that I would have a family again. I didn’t think I would go to college. I didn’t think I would have love, and with that, my world is just so much brighter,” explains Maci. 

Fast forward to today, and Maci has earned an undergraduate degree in Art Therapy and recently received a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  

“I am beyond excited that I have earned my master’s and get to take on the world.”

From left: Steven (dad), Robbin (mom), Dalton and Dawson

Dalton, adopted at 10, and Dawson, adopted at 7

After spending more than three years in foster care, Dawson was adopted with his brother, Dalton, through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. With the support of his caring, forever family, Dalton has received needed medical care to thrive, loves music and lights up when his mom walks in the room.

And Dawson is excelling in school and enjoys playing football and soccer. He dreams of becoming a doctor someday to help children like his brother.

“Now, with my family, I can think about my future,” shares Dawson.

From left: Barbara (mom) and Brianna

Brianna, adopted at 17

For nine long years, Brianna lingered in foster care, waiting for a permanent home of her own. Fortunately, her journey changed when she was adopted by Barbara through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids. 

Today, Brianna feels confident and excited about her future. She sees herself becoming a chef, traveling and learning about different cultures. 

“All the struggle is over, and now I can focus on school, work, my family, my friends and just live life as a normal teenage girl,” explains Brianna. 

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