Older children born into traumatic environments sometimes struggle to find adoptive families, and subsequently spend years in the foster care system. Coinciding with its mission to provide a safe home for all children, Children's Home Society of Washington and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids successfully placed one young boy who’d lived in foster homes for more than a decade.
The youngest of five, Travis entered the foster care system in 2005 alongside his two older siblings, Mark and Narissa. The siblings endured a tumultuous upbringing, with both parents battling substance abuse and mental illness. At birth, Travis tested positive for drugs and displayed signs of developmental delays. He was later diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum and other disorders.
Because of this, Travis struggled with behavioral issues including hyperactivity, aggression and anger, and his schooling consisted of an individualized education program in a self-contained classroom.
“Travis has faced many struggles in life and finding a caring and understanding home where he could grow and mature was a challenge,” said Courtney Angeles, specialized adoption recruiter for Children's Home Society of Washington and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a program funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption that provides recruiters at Children's Home Society of Washington to match parents with children awaiting adoption.
After a temporary placement with their grandparents, Travis and Mark joined Narissa with her foster parents, Chris and Dan Ostring. Despite the kids’ intense behavioral issues, the Ostrings expressed a committed interest in providing a permanent home for the children, but encountered issues in the adoption process when a job offer moved them to California.
“Washington state provided little adoption support, and we were almost at the point of choosing long-term foster care rather than formally adopting the kids,” Chris said.
The children remained in Washington, with Travis entering a residential treatment center to assess his behavioral challenges. After many fruitless attempts to find Travis a permanent home, Angeles approached the Ostrings again.
“Although we were initially frustrated with the adoption process, we were determined to give these kids the stable home they deserved,” Chris said. “We appreciate Children's Home Society of Washington and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids being with me every step of the way.”
In meetings that Wendy’s Wonderful Kids facilitated, the Ostrings met with representatives from Washington state to determine how to make placement possible and address what went wrong in the past. Angeles located an agency in California that assisted with the interstate compact on the placement of children process.