I’ve been a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter since 2007, but the surprising part is that I never aspired to work with children. I initially wanted to work with adults only (women mostly). So how did I end up on this path? Working with children in foster care and committed to finding them loving, permanent homes?
Prior to being a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter I was working at a children’s home, but my focus was on adult women who were on welfare. But when a job opened in the long-term residential girls unit, I realized I had a new calling. After seeing the unit and the girls there, I immediately thought WE CAN DO BETTER! This is unacceptable for children to feel so misunderstood, angry and alone.
At the end of my eighth year working at the unit, I was approached about becoming a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter. I had no clue what that was or what that even meant at the time, so I started doing my research. I thought to myself…if my heart and stomach knot can’t go along with me in this position, then I’ll pass! These are internal reminders to me that I must work each day to make the lives of children better.
I remember the first question I was asked during my interview.
“Do you believe EVERY child is adoptable?”
My response was, “Absolutely.”
Then I was asked, “Why do you believe so?”
My response, “I have yet to meet a child who didn’t deserve parents and a family to love them unconditionally. “
Getting others to believe has been one of my greatest challenges to date.
I do what I do because it’s in my heart. I can’t rid myself of the knot that I carry in my stomach for the children who endured a childhood or upbringing that did not resemble my own. My heart bled for the children I worked with and I felt so strongly that this is unacceptable, unfair and unjust that a child has no family and no place to call home. I could not wrap my brain around why this is just a way of life for some.
To find a group of people across the U.S. and Canada who believe in the same mission and values the way I do, who have the same heart and energy for this work, is powerful and energetic.
As a recruiter I am able to see what happens to the children who leave residential care. One of my first adoption finalizations was a youth who I had worked with in that first job. As her recruiter, I helped her rewrite her story’s ending.
Elizabeth Johnson is a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter who works every day to find forever homes for children in foster care.