Growing up, children in foster care were simply children with whom I shared a home. For 13 years my family was involved in the Vermont State Foster Care system. My mom and dad were foster parents to many children who would come into our home when they had nowhere else to go. We helped them with their self-esteem, identity development, grief and loss of their birth family and gave them a sense of belonging. After many years of being foster parents, my parents adopted two children who are now my siblings. Seeing the difference we made in their lives and the strong bonds that were formed led me to my career path. I believe it is important for children to grow up in a loving environment and that every child has the right to grow up in healthy surroundings.
Every child deserves a forever family and I am happy to help them with the process.
The cases I work on are complicated, they are tough and I face challenges like “unpacking the no.” Essentially, when some youth turn 16, they start to worry that a forever family might not happen. Instead of trusting the process and remaining active in their own case, they make the decision that they don’t want to be adopted. They say no. As a WWK recruiter, I need to work through those issues with each youth and help them understand and give them hope that I will not give up and that I will continue to help identify their forever family.
The challenges can be heavy, but when we have success, it makes it that much more gratifying. I think an adoption that sticks out to me is when “Sue” decided that she wanted to provide a home for “Mary.” Sue and Mary had met through school experiences and while Mary lived with Sue for a year before the adoption was finalized, Sue knew from early on that she wanted to provide Mary a forever home. Mary loves to play and listen to music. She also enjoys drawing and painting in her spare time. Mary has adjusted well to the family and lifestyle and she was excited to be adopted by Sue. She is now thriving in the family and is doing very well. Mary once told me that she just needed a family who will love her and accept her when she makes mistakes. I believe she has found her perfect match.
Ashley Sargent is a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter. She works each day to find forever families for the children in foster care.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes for the more than 130,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. Created by Wendy’s® founder Dave Thomas who was adopted, the Foundation implements evidence-based, results-driven national service programs, foster care adoption awareness campaigns and innovative grantmaking. To learn more, visit davethomasfoundation.org or call 1-800-ASK-DTFA.