Posted on May 24, 2016

Being in foster care and being adopted makes you different than other kids. But I never saw this as a bad thing.” – Cadence Cottom, Butler University Graduate.

Profound words from a bright young woman who has lived the life that so many at her age have not. Cadence Cottom accomplished her dream to graduate from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. A dream, that if you had asked her years ago, she would have told you was impossible. Cadence spent time in foster care and after being adopted her mom found a way to help her make dream come true.

UMPS CARE Charities is a national nonprofit established by Major League Baseball umpires to provide financial and emotional support to children in the U.S. foster care system who are waiting to be adopted. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has one mission: to dramatically increase the number of adoptions from foster care. Now, it’s no surprise that our two organizations have been able to partner in order to provide the UMPS CARE All-Star Scholarship program. The UMPS CARE Scholarships are given to children who are adopted from foster care after the age of 10 and provides $7,500 a year to towards education expenses.

Cadence remembers the moment she was told the scholarship would help her head off to school. “I received a phone call while I was at work at CVS to tell me I got the scholarship. I couldn’t believe it and started crying! I was so excited because I really needed the help with college. My mom took me to lunch on my break and we ate at Wendy’s!”

A fitting celebratory meal as the signature program for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. The Foundation furnishes grants to private and public adoption agencies, which then hire specially trained adoption recruiters whose sole mission is to find permanent, loving homes to the children who have been waiting in foster care the longest.

Cadence majored in sociology with a specialization in social work and social policy. She knows that other children in foster care are facing all the same challenges that she did.

“Throughout middle school and high school I carried a lot of hostility and animosity. I couldn’t understand why I had to endure all of the pain that I did,” Cadence told the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. “[Being in foster care] isn’t easy, and it isn’t even our fault, but we’re the ones that have to deal with it. So give yourself a break. Focus on getting through the struggle one day at a time. Because once you reach the other side, you’re a better person because of what you’ve been through. This journey taught me empathy and compassion and that the best things in life aren’t things, but the people you love most.”

Cadence is already giving back. While finishing her senior year she accepted a position as the Recruitment Coordinator for Indiana Adoption Program. She works to recruit foster parents and prospective adoptive parents for children in foster care.

“I feel that it is both my duty and my privilege to give back to others so that they may succeed as well,” Cadence said.

We already see her as a rising star and advocate for children in foster care. We can’t wait to see what she does next and we hope the scholarship will only continue to aid more impressive young people like Cadence. Higher education shouldn’t be out of reach for children who have already overcome so many obstacles.

To learn more about the UMPS CARE All-Star Scholarship, click here.

The application deadline is May 31.