SOUTH CAROLINA: Jonathan* entered foster care as a baby due to abuse and neglect. His parents’ rights were terminated, and Jonathan was separated from his five siblings before he could speak his first words. Relatives and family friends adopted Jonathan’s siblings, and he was adopted by a family friend along with his sister.
Eight years after Jonathan’s adoption was finalized, he re-entered foster care, at age 11, because of trauma-related behavioral problems. He acted out toward the other children in the home, making the adoptive mother uncomfortable. Once Jonathan re-entered foster care, he became separated from the biological sister he grew up with, devastating Jonathan.
Jonathan went on to run through a series of failed placements for the next four years. He lived in three therapeutic non-relative foster homes and one residential facility – all before he turned 15 years old.
When Bailey, a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® (WWK) recruiter from Growing Home Southeast, a foster care agency with hundreds of foster homes across South Carolina and southern Alabama, started working on Jonathan’s case, she first ran Jonathan’s biological parents’ names on a Seneca search. That search gave her a list of relatives and kin. She then created a family tree in Family Connections by adding a list of relatives’ names, including the parents’ names. She ran a People Search and used other search engines listed in Family Connections. When she did an arrest record search on the father, a blue circle icon popped up in Family Connections. Bailey clicked on that blue circle which provided her with the latest contact information on a maternal aunt.
Bailey reached out to Jonathan’s maternal aunt on Facebook. The maternal aunt had no idea that Jonathan was in foster care. Shortly after contact, this maternal aunt sent Bailey 50 photos from Jonathan’s childhood and called all her relatives. While the maternal aunt couldn’t care for Jonathan, she gave Bailey the name and contact information of Jonathan’s maternal grandmother, who could care for him.
When Bailey reached out, Jonathan’s grandmother broke down crying. She was horrified that Jonathan had been in foster care for the last four years. She assumed he was happily adopted. His grandmother said she would do anything to bring Jonathan to her home – just 15 minutes from his latest foster care home.
Discovering Jonathan’s grandmother and her successful adoption history of a couple of his cousins changed the direction of Jonathan’s life. He was placed in his grandmother’s home and is receiving lots of therapy and continuing to get services. Since the move, he has not exhibited the behaviors that led to his failed adoption.
Jonathan’s grandmother is now in the process of formally adopting him, and he could not be happier. They are both doing very well, and his grandmother has the surrounding family support to assist with raising Jonathan until adulthood. All thanks to a family connection found with Connect Our Kids’ powerful technology tools.
Connect Our Kids is a non-profit dedicated to leveraging technology to find families, build connections, and create a community for children in the foster care system.
To help support connection-finding for children like Jonathan, donate HERE and help write a brighter ending for others.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.