The Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) recruiters work with children who have previously been thought of as “hard to place”: Children who are older, part of sibling groups, or have emotional or developmental challenges. But these labels do not stop our recruiters from finding families. Not even a defiant foster parent will deter them.
When a WWK recruiter first started searching for a family for a sibling group of four, the children were between the ages of 4 and 11. She started by examining the children’s files and searching for past connections that could lead to a permanent family. But meeting and developing relationships with the children – an integral part of the WWK child-focused recruitment model – was difficult. The foster parent would not return calls and tried to deny meetings. But it didn’t stop the recruiter from getting creative. She got to know the children the only way she could – by visiting them at school.
The recruiter’s hard work led her to a young couple open to adopting a large sibling group. Bess was a therapist who worked with children, and Guster had a big heart and an adventurous spirit. Throughout the process, she not only worked with the children, but also with the parents by coming to all of their adoption meetings, and making sure they received answers to all of their questions.
On the day the couple went to meet James, Janelle, Ella and Maria, they arrived at the foster home to be greeted by the recruiter and a 10-foot tall fence. They brought along games to play with the children and food and flowers for the foster parent. Even though the meeting had some tense moments, the children quickly warmed to Bess and Guster.
The foster parent attempted to road block additional visits, but it didn’t stop the WWK recruiter. She made sure the children and the couple were able to visit, and was even willing to “climb that 10-foot fence to make sure it happened.”
The four children soon moved into their new home with Bess and Guster. There were some struggles with transitioning at first, but in time the family made a strong connection. Now each child is more playful with the parents who nourish each of their individual interests.
With the family standing in the courtroom on their adoption day, Maria approached the recruiter to ask if they ever had to come back to the courtroom. The recruiter responded, “Nope. It’s over. You are a family and never have to come back.” The biggest smile engulfed Maria’s face as she said, “Oh, good!” And ran off with her brother and sisters.