Wendy's Wonderful Kids at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services
Cameron was 11 years old and lived in a residential facility for about a year. He had little contact with his biological mother and had no contact with other relatives for years when his Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiter began working with him. He developed many behavioral problems, stemming from the loss and abandonment he'd been through. He was lonely and depressed. He was doing things to cause harm to himself and others. He told his Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiter he felt hopeless and alone in the world. His recruiter was able to contact many relatives who had no idea where he was or how they could help. Cameron's grandmother had a deep desire to provide him with a forever home. However, the child's team of professionals did not believe his grandmother would be able to handle Cameron's extreme behaviors. His recruiter and family members came up with a plan: Extended family would support his grandmother so she would be able to care for him. The recruiter also hoped some of the behaviors would decrease once Cameron's deep need for love and support were met. After several months of family therapy and a lot of visits, Cameron was placed with his grandmother. Within six months, Cameron was on the honor roll, involved in his church's youth group and for the first time developed friendships with other boys his age. Cameron also was able to strengthen the relationship with his mother and other family members under the protective supervision of his grandmother. Cameron no longer felt alone in the world. He found his forever home with someone he knew all along.
Brittany, a 4-year-old girl with autism and fetal alcohol syndrome, came into foster care at age 2. Finding an adoptive home for a child with extreme special needs was proving difficult and as the years passed. The concern that this sweet girl would grow up in foster care was becoming a reality. Brittany's profile and picture were listed on the state adoption website and stood out to a family that knew right away they were the family for her. They had extensive knowledge and experience with Brittany's special needs and adopted children with similar needs in the past. The Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiter who worked with Brittany discussed the child's personality, challenges and needs with the family. They told the recruiter all about their skills and experiences. This family was a perfect match for Brittany. However, there were some systematic barriers to overcome. The recruiter was able to help the family navigate through a sometimes confusing and complicated system. After several months of living in the new home, Brittany was benefiting from the love and expertise this family provided. She was making strides and improvements that some said would never happen for Brittany. Brittany began showing love and affection for her new family. It turns out her new dad had a very unique skill - he knew how to make Brittany giggle with his silly humor. Brittany's adoption was finalized in early 2013.
Benjamin, Jamieson and Isaiah
It seemed unlikely that a home would be found for three brothers ages 5, 4 and 3. While extremely cute and each with his own sweet and charming personality, the boys all had severe aggression and hyperactivity. Each also had diagnoses that seemed challenging "on paper." It seemed almost impossible to find one home that coule meet the needs of all three boys. Some suggested the Wendy's Wonderful Kids recruiter consider splitting the boys among two families. Nonetheless, their recruiter strongly advocated to keep these brothers together. Somewhere out there was a family that would have the time, experience and resources to help these boys thrive. When a family with a lot of understanding and a can-do attitude sent a video about themselves, we knew they were the right family for these boys. The recruiter and other adoption workers spent the time necessary to make sure the boys and the family were prepared. A little more than a year later, the children were thriving, they became a part of the family and their adoption was finalized.