OHIO: Leon* entered foster care on two separate occasions. The first time he was an infant when his young single mother, who had little support, struggled to care for him. She was a high school dropout with two other young children and was overwhelmed. She relinquished her parental rights and entrusted Leon’s care to a family friend, hoping to give him a better life.
After several years in their care, Leon was then adopted by another couple. Leon grew up without a deep sense of personal identity with a new name, family, and hometown.
Leon started exhibiting adolescent behaviors in his preteen years, and his adoptive mother placed him in a temporary residential program to stabilize him. While getting help, his adoptive mother abandoned him and moved out of state. Leon was devastated and would spend the next two years in various foster care settings.
Then a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® (WWK) recruiter from Northeast Ohio Adoption Services came into his life. She quickly located his mother and aunt using the Connect Our Kids technology platform. Reunited with Leon on a phone call, his mother and aunt were shocked to learn Leon was not well-cared for and loved.
Already a licensed foster caregiver, Leon’s aunt immediately offered to give him a home, but he panicked that he would be placed in foster care again and began acting out. His aunt reassured him that they were family—forever. She has since adopted Leon, and he has returned to using his birth family nickname. Happy to be with family again, Leon enjoys athletics and is socially outgoing. His aunt offers stability, engagement, and, most importantly, unconditional love.
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. Want to help more children like Leon? You can today by donating HERE.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.