Samantha and her husband, John, of Arizona adopted their daughter, Addy, through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.
Addy came to us having experienced so few things. The first time she had cotton candy, she was so excited to try something new. She smiled and said, “It’s so sweet!” Then, it started to dissolve. Her eyes got big, and she said, “Mommy, it ran away!”
We never could have imagined the joy that Addy would bring to our family, but each day brings more memories and stories.
My husband, John, and I first met Addy at the home of the foster family she was living with at the time. We came over as “friends” of the family. It was a nice opportunity for us to learn more about Addy and for our daughter, Valerie, who is also adopted, to play with Addy. The two got along well, and we had a chance to talk to Addy’s foster family.
By the time we came into Addy’s life, she had already been in foster care for four years. Because of the neglect that Addy faced in her family of origin, and the abuse she faced in some of her foster homes, Addy had many challenges. We are still working on some of those challenges, but we are also seeing great progress in her behavior. We worked hard to build her trust in us. We had to show her that we wanted to keep her, and she had to believe us, in her own time. It wasn’t until she truly understood our love for her that we could tackle the other behavioral issues.
One of the more eye-opening moments of just how little Addy had been able to experience in her childhood came at Christmas time. We were decorating the tree, and I handed Addy an ornament. She said, “I get to touch it?” I said, “Yes, you are a member of this family, and we all decorate the tree together.” She got very excited and said, “I like being in this family, and I like Christmas! I’ve never got to touch the tree before!”
Addy told me the best part about being in our family is that “I have a mommy and daddy forever.”
Valerie says that her new sister has “made me a sweeter person.” I know that my husband and I have grown as parents through this process. John told me that he feels this adoption has helped him to “be more understanding and able to see the whole picture of a child.”
Our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Brianna, was always right there for us. She made sure we had the information we needed, and that Addy always knew what to expect in court so she wouldn’t be scared. I don’t know what we would have done without her!
We are so thankful that Brianna helped us find our daughter and believed that we were the right match for her.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program provides grants to adoption agencies to hire and train recruiters in our Child-Focused Recruitment Model to find loving, permanent homes for the more than 150,000 children waiting in foster care across the United States and Canada. The model is up to three times more effective at serving youth who have been in foster care the longest. Learn more