Once Angry, Teen is Now Open to Adoption

November 27, 2021
OHIO: Daniel is a teenager who’s been in foster care for over a year due to his family’s mental health issues. Almost everyone who Daniel knows about in his family is either in prison or engaged in some kind of depressing behavior. When a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® (WWK) recruiter asked Daniel if he’d like to work on his family tree, it was understandable as to why he dismissed the idea.

"Pfft. Whatever," Daniel said.

Undeterred, Daniel’s WWK recruiter used both Connect Our Kids and Ancestry.com to find out more about his relatives. Daniel doesn’t need a placement. He's in regular contact with a few relatives who get along with his warm, caring foster parents. He’s in a good foster home, which he likes well enough. His foster parents are interested in adopting Daniel, but so far, he has been resistant to the idea.

Information found through Connect Our Kids’ tools allowed Daniel’s WWK recruiter to search more precisely on Ancestry.com, where she then discovered that Daniel’s great-great relatives were very prominent members of their respective communities. One of them was a popular pastor. Another relative was a medical professional who had been honored with a prestigious award.

There would be no family tree if it weren’t for Connect Our Kids.

When Daniel was told of these new findings, he couldn't believe it. He blurted out, "Wait, what? There are actually good people in my family?" Since these and other positive stories have been shared with Daniel, his WWK recruiter says that his whole demeanor and self-identity has changed. In her experience, youth tend to have a renewed sense of self upon discovering that there's a lot more to their family's story than the current tragedies that led the child into care. She often sees a shift within them right away. They tend to sit up. Smile a little more. Engage. Ask questions. They always walk away from her differently than how they approached her.

In Daniel's case, seeing examples of greatness through stories and old-timey photos of his lineage, has helped boost his confidence. He seems less angry than before. She has also learned that since their family tree meeting, Daniel is now more open to adoption.

“I don’t know if it was because [Daniel] saw himself so negatively before that he felt like he couldn’t be part of another family. But now, with this new information, maybe he feels like now he can.”

These connections matter. Want to help more children like Daniel? You can help today by donating HERE.

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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