Placed in foster care when he was 7 years old, Conner spent nearly half of his young life longing for a permanent place to call home.
“I moved a bunch. I really didn’t want to move that much. I didn’t think I could have a family,” he shared.
Right now, more than 120,000 children, like Conner, are waiting to be adopted from foster care in the United States. Without our help, many of these young people are at risk of aging out of the system with no family and no safety net.
Fortunately, Conner’s journey changed when he met his Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiter, Jennifer. When Conner had lost hope, she never gave up in her search for the right family for him. She was an advocate for Conner when he had few people that he could count on.
Through our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption supports the hiring of recruiters, like Jennifer, who serve the hardest-to-place youth in foster care, including teenagers, children with special needs and siblings. A rigorous, five-year national evaluation revealed that a child referred to the program is up to 3x more likely to be adopted.
With Jennifer’s help, Conner was introduced to James and Jayme, of North Carolina. The couple and their two children, Corbin and Savannah, welcomed Conner with open hearts.
James was adopted from foster care at a young age, so he understands more than most how important having a permanent family is to a child lingering in foster care.
“Because of my personal experience, adoption was an early conversation for us,” said James. “It just so happens that Conner was the first child we met through the process. It felt like the perfect fit for our family … and the perfect fit for Conner. It’s honestly like he was supposed to be with us.”
Conner was adopted at age 12 through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids and now has the comfort and security he deserves.
“Before he was adopted, the furthest out he could plan was, ‘Am I going to have a family?’ That was where his future stopped. Once that question was finally answered, he was able to think about his future … all the way,” Jayme reflected.
With the stability and support of a forever family, Conner now has the freedom to dream big. He aspires to attend college one day and earn a master’s degree so that he can design and build cars.
“He is always on the move. He is full of energy and is very inquisitive,” quipped James. “He can do whatever he wants to do.”
Conner’s story has a happy ending. But every year, tens of thousands of young people age out of foster care in the United States without a permanent family. Download our free, step-by-step guide to get started on your adoption journey.
This story was featured in the Foundation’s 2021 annual report (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021)